NCAA Basketball Picks: Play Wake Forest +14 & 'Under' vs. #18 Louisville

Darin Zank

Sunday, January 3, 2016 3:43 PM UTC

Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016 3:43 PM UTC

Louisville is 5-2 vs. the NCAA basketball odds as a favorite this season, but that's come against some very iffy competition. Can the Cardinals cover double-digits against Wake Forest Sunday night?

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NCAA Basketball Picks: Wake Forest +14 & UNDER 149
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes


Wake Forest vs. Louisville
Most of Sunday's NCAA basketball odds market opened this game with Louisville favored by 13 or 14 points, although a couple of wildcatters started the Cardinals out at -17. As of this writing most books were spreading this game at -13.5 and a total around 149.


The Situation
Louisville (11-2 SU, 6-3 ATS) just had a six-game winning streak snapped by a 75-73 loss at Kentucky last Saturday. The Cardinals led 34-30 late in the first half, but allowed the Wildcats to go on a 22-2 run to fall down by 16. They then pulled within one point with five minutes to go but couldn't quite sustain the rally, and missed ATS as one point dogs.

For the day Louisville only shot 43 percent from the floor, although it outrebounded Kentucky 39-29.

On the season the Cardinals have played a very weak schedule so far, beating nobody of any note. Their two toughest games, against the Wildcats and Michigan State, they lost.

Meanwhile, Wake Forest (9-3 SU, 4-6 ATS) has won seven of its last eight, after beating LSU in Baton Rouge Tuesday 77-71. The Deacons led the Tigers by five points at the half, trailed most of the second half, but hit a couple big 3-pointers down the stretch and made a couple of key stops on defense to steal the outright victory as seven-point road dogs.

On the night Wake only shot 40 percent from the floor, but hit 21-of-29 from the FT line and won the battle on the boards by a 40-33 margin.

On the season the Deacons own other victories over Indiana and UCLA, with their losses coming against Richmond, Vandy and Xavier.


Recent History
These two program, new conference rivals, met last year for the first time in recent memory, when Louisville, in its first-ever ACC game, went into Winston-Salem and came away with an 85-76 victory. But Wake held on for the cover as a 13-point home dog.

Also, that game rolled OVER a total of 131.


Totals Trends
Wake is leaning 6-4 toward the UNDERS this season, even though Deacs games are averaging a healthy 157 points. Apparently the oddsmakers have been posting some high totals on Wake Forest.

Louisville is 4-4 on the totals, as Cardinals games are averaging 142 points.

The midway mark between 142 and 157 is 149.5; the total on this game opened at 149. See, that wasn't too difficult, was it?


Injury Update
Louisville G Trey Lewis (15 PPG) turned an ankle in practice this week and will miss this game, and C Mangok Mathiang is already down with a broken foot. So the Cardinals will be a little shorthanded for this one.


Final Analysis
Wake Forest is 4-2 ATS as an underdog this season, and while Louisville has had success as a favorite, it's come against some weak-ass competition. And we like the direction Coach Manning has this Deacons program headed. We'll take Wake plus the points for our NCAA basketball picks for Sunday. Also, if the Deacs an keep this one close, that might make points a little harder to come by.

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