Which two college basketball picks appear to offer handicappers the best value? We've broken down two games and have our top plays available for reading.
Toledo Rockets vs. Duke Blue Devils
As per usual, the Blue Devils are heavy favorites inside Cameron Indoor, where they'll host the Rockets. Current NCAA Basketball odds show Duke laying as many as 20.5 points, while the total is trading at 149.5.
The Blue Devils remain undefeated (10-0) and will have been off for 11 days ahead of tonight's home game. They've already picked up their fair share of impressive wins, having beaten Wisconsin, Michigan State, Connecticut and Stanford, so it's not like you can say Duke has been coasting through an easy non-conference schedule. Freshman Jahlil Okafor has been as good as advertised, even better actually, and fellow freshmen Tyus Jones and Justise Winslow have been excellent too. More experienced guys like Quinn Cook and Amile Jefferson have helped create a seemingly perfect balance for Coach K's team.
Tonight Duke will be at home to a Toledo squad that's gone 7-4 so far this season. They picked up all four of their losses in their first six games, but have since reeled off five consecutive victories ahead of this trip to Durham. Julius Brown, Justin Drummond, J.D. Weatherspoon and Jonathan Williams have all averaged in double figures for the Rockets, who are averaging 77.5 points per game thus far.
From the looks of things, Toledo doesn't mind getting involved with shootouts, but that's not going to bode well against the Blue Devils, who have put up 85.4 points per game (sixth-best mark in the nation) throuhg their first 10 wins. Duke has plenty of firepower to run away in a back-and-forth encounter, so we're not afraid to lay the chalk and back the hosts here.
With your NCAA Basketball pick, roll with the Blue Devils to come out and take care of business with little resistance.
Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Duke Blue Devils -20.5 at 5Dimes
UC Irvine Anteaters vs. Oregon Ducks
The Ducks went through some tough times back in late November, but they've looked pretty darn good lately, having notched four wins in a row coming into tonight's game against the Anteaters. At 9-3 overall and 8-1 at home, we can see why oddsmakers have pegged Oregon as 9.5-point favorites this evening.
Offensively, the Ducks have looked great, ranking #20 in points per game, #6 in rebounds per game and #10 in assists per game. That's some excellent efficiency there, and that type of offensive production should hold Oregon in good stead once conference play begins. Joseph Young has been tremendous so far, averaging 20.3 PPG, 5.7 RPG and 4.4 APG on the year - he's been getting the job done night in and night out for Oregon.
Then there's the Anteaters. They're 6-5 on the season, but will enter tonight having won consecutive contests for only the second time all season. In their one matchup with a ranked team (Arizona), they lost by 17. With Mamadou Ndiaye out injured (he was leading the team in scoring), UC Irvine has had to call on the likes of Luke Nelson, Alex Young and Will Davis II to carry the load. The Anteaters haven't been afraid to go deep with their rotations, so they don't have one or two guys that have been standing out above the rest.
When it comes to tonight, it's hard to justify backing the Anteaters, in spite of the fact we're getting almost 10 points to work with. Oregon has been very effective with the ball in their hands, and they've protected their own court quite well throughout the season.
With that in mind, we'll be recommending another significant home favorite, this time in the form of the Ducks. Good luck!
Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Oregon Ducks -9.5