NCAA Basketball Picks: A Pair Of Under The Radar Plays For Monday

Ross Benjamin

Monday, February 15, 2016 4:15 PM GMT

Our college basketball expert Ross Benjamin has gone 21-16-1 ATS (57%) the last sixteen betting days with his underdog NCAA basketball picks, and that includes 17 outright winners.

Oakland vs. Wright State
Something has to give in this contest. Oakland has won six straight on the road, and Wright State was victorious in each of their last 11 home games. There’s an intriguing factor to consider regarding this matchup. When these teams met earlier this season, Oakland hammered Wright State by a huge 26 point margin. Yet, according to current (10:30 AM ET) NCAA basketball odds, Oakland is a mere 1.5 point favorite on Monday. The last I checked, major sportsbooks are neither generous nor congenial when setting a number.

The pace of this game will go a long way in determining this outcome. Oakland prefers to play at one speed, and that’s super fast. Entering tonight, they’re averaged a robust 64 field goal attempts per game, and that’s a very high number by college basketball standards. Contrarily, Wright State is the polar opposite, averaging a mediocre 54 attempts per contest, and allows their opponents just 50 per game. During their loss at Oakland, Wright State was able to limit them to 55 shots, and that’s well below its season average. However, Oakland overcompensated by shooting 54.5% from the floor. They’ll be hard pressed to do that today. Wright State is allowing opponents an average of 59.0 points per game, and a paltry 39.7% shooting when playing at home. Wright State has also been very good offensively during their previous five games, shooting a superb 48.1%, and converting on 38.1% of its three point attempts.

This appears to me as a trap in terms of public wagering. When it comes to sports betting, if it looks too good to be true then it normally is. I’m siding with the home team in this contest from one of my Monday NCAA basketball picks.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Wright State +2.5
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

 

New Mexico State vs. Wichita State
In case you’re not seeing this game on your schedule rotation, it’s a makeup contest due to a cancellation from its original December date as a result of inclement weather. Despite playing at home tonight, I’m not so sure the rescheduling of this game is in the best interest of Wichita State. They’re in the final stretch of their Missouri Valley regular season schedule, and its conference tournament is just a couple of weeks away. In addition, they’ve dropped two of their last three games, and the last of which came on Saturday in a loss to Northern Iowa as a 14.5 point home favorite. Those previous three games were preceded by a 12 game winning streak. Wichita State is in a bit of an offensive funk over their last five games, shooting just 39.7% from the floor during that time, and converting on only 30.8% of its three point attempts.

This can be a statement game for New Mexico State tonight. After all, they clearly have faced a much softer schedule than Wichita State, and I’m sure they’ll be reminded of just that on more than one occasion by print and electronic media. However, they enter today’s game riding a nine game winning streak. The Aggies have been on fire offensively over its previous five games, shooting a sizzling hot 56.9% from the floor, and were successful on an outstanding 43.5% of their three point attempts. They’ve been equally impressive defensively of late, holding opponents to 55 points per game and 36.9% shooting over its previous four contests. The Aggies are also an excellent rebounding team as well. They have a +12 rebound per game differential this season, and that includes +14 over its previous five games.

I won’t be so bold as to call for an outright upset. However, I do feel really good about New Mexico State making this game much closer than many would expect, and has an excellent chance of staying inside the number.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: New Mexico State +15.5 
Best Line Offered: at BetOnline