NCAA Basketball Picks: Pittsburgh vs. Louisville

Jeff Grant

Monday, January 28, 2013 1:55 PM GMT

Monday, Jan. 28, 2013 1:55 PM GMT

The Louisville Cardinals will try to avoid losing four consecutive Big East games for the first time since joining the conference, as they host the Pittsburgh Panthers tonight. Let’s take a closer look at this matchup before making our NCAAB picks.

Streaking in conference play

Pittsburgh has used its current four-game win streak to move into third place in the Big East Conference standings, as it comes off an impressive 93-55 victory over DePaul as 16-point home favorites Saturday, while going OVER the total for the seventh time in eight opportunities. The program is 23-24 against the spread versus conference foes over the last two-plus seasons, with the UNDER going 24-22 in that situation.

Fallen on hard times

Louisville has dropped three games in a row, including a 53-51 setback to the Georgetown Hoyas as 5.5-point road favorites Saturday, while going OVER the total in two games during that stretch. The Cardinals haven’t lost four straight games since Feb. 12-25, 2004, which should give them some added value in the betting odds department.

Series history

The Panthers are 5-7 all-time against the Cardinals, as head coach Jamie Dixon owns a winning record or .500 record against all Big East programs with the exception of tonight’s foe. Dixon has won five of 11 meetings in this series, but has suffered three consecutive losses, including a 57-54 defeat as eight-point road underdogs last year on this floor.

Shooting woes

Sports bettors will find it hard to back Louisville with their sports picks once they consider that the Cardinals roster is shooting 41.1 percent from the field over the last six games, which has led to averaging 65.5 points during that stretch. The Cardinals will need to get back to scoring points off of turnovers in this affair, as 484 of their 1,490 points this season have come in this manner.

Rebounding

During the Dixon era at Pittsburgh, the program has certainly done a great job of rebounding the basketball, which is so important of its success in Big East play. The Panthers are 15-0 when grabbing more boards than its opponents this year, while going 1-4 when failing to do so. It will need to be a team effort, as no player on the roster averages more than 6.3 rebounds per game.

[gameodds]14/218908/43/us[/gameodds]

Prediction

I’m going to recommend that readers back the Panthers as one of their NCAA basketball picks against the spread, as they rank among the nation’s leaders with only 10.4 turnovers per game, which will prove vital against a desperate opponent. Pittburgh will move to 9-5 ATS in its last 14 tries as an underdog Monday night.

College Basketball Pick: Pittsburgh Panthers +6
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