NCAA Basketball Picks: Monday's Value Plays

Steven Suarez

Monday, January 7, 2013 3:39 PM GMT

Where do we believe that the best betting value lies for your NCAA Basketball picks today? Find out where we have decided to place our money.

With only five games on the schedule today, how are we best served to take advantage with our NCAA Basketball picks? We've really got to be on point, so let's get to it. 

Illinois-Chicago vs. Cleveland State

We believe the Flames will finally be able to break their struggling ways against the Vikings tonight. Right now they're favored by three points at most NCAA basketball odds shops

Cleveland State may be the home team here, but they've been terrible as of late. The Vikings have lost their last two games by an average margin of 20.5 points and are just 2-5 SU over their last seven.

These teams are about equal offensively, but defensively Illinois-Chicago holds a major advantage. Whereas the Vikings are allowing 71.8 points per game and 46.7 percent shooting, the Flames are surrendering just 58.4 points per contest and 39.0 shooting overall.

It's a shame Cleveland State sophomore stud Anton Grady has had knee surgery and will be out for the season, as that leaves a huge void that still hasn't really been filled. Grady was leading the team in scoring, steals and blocks and was second in rebounding and assists. 

All in all, experience is something that is not on the Vikings' side. Of their top five remaining scorers, four are sophomores or younger . 

On the other side, we've got Illinois-Chicago, and their top four scorers are juniors or seniors. Gary Talton is the main man, averaging 12.6 points, 4.8 assists and 4.2 rebounds, but Daniel Barnes and Hayden Humes have been ultra-reliable too.

You can never under-estimate experience enough in these hard-fought conference games, so we will be taking the Flames to get the win and ATS success. 

Pick: Illinois-Chicago Flames -2.5 at 5Dimes

[gameodds]14/157602/19-999996-43-1096-198-238-93/us[/gameodds]

Notre Dame vs. Cincinnati

Boy what a game this should be. The 13-2 Bearcats host the 13-1 Fighting Irish tonight, with current NCAA basketball betting lines showing the hosts favored by four points. 

Last season's encounter ended in a 71-55 Cincinnati win, with the UNDER 132 easily hitting for backers. The Bearcats shot 43.9 percent overall and held the Fighting Irish to 33.3 percent from the floor and 17.9 percent from three.

At first, we were inclined to back Notre Dame here as underdogs, considering they're been on an absolute tear since losing to St. Joseph's early in the season. The Fighting Irish have won 11 straight since then, including an impressive 64-50 win over Kentucky.

However, they've yet to play a road game this season, so we are skeptical about backing them with our college basketball picks today.

Read another cappers free NCAAB Picks for this game.

We are liking the UNDER though, as Big East encounters tend to showcase much more defensive fight than normal. To us, this has all the makings of being another one of those tough-nosed matchups at Fifth Third Arena.

It helps that both teams have been great on the defensive end. Notre Dame is giving up 60.9 PPG and has held teams to 38.3 percent shooting, while Cincinnati has been even better at 57.4 PPG and 35.7 percent shooting.

The UNDER has hit in four of the Bearcats' last five contests in which lines have been posted and we believe that's the right way to go again here.

Pick: UNDER 134.5 at Bovada

[gameodds]14/157607/999996-43-19-1096-198-238-93/us[/gameodds]

Check out our college basketball handicapping forums to see what other cappers think of the games tonight.