NCAA Basketball Picks: Strong Defensive Dogs With Wagering Value

Ross Benjamin

Monday, January 18, 2016 5:14 PM GMT

Our NCAA basketball odds analyst has two underdog plays on Monday’s abbreviated card. Find out what those picks are and maximize your profits today.

Siena vs. Monmouth 4:00 PM ET
Siena opened the season with road losses at Wisconsin and Duke. Since that time, the Saints have gone 11-4, and those four defeats have come by a combined 19 points. One of their wins was over a very good St. Bonaventure (12-4) team out of the Atlantic-10 Conference. The Saints are a very good defensive team which is holding opponents to 37.1% shooting from the field this season. That’s significant since they’ll be facing an extremely good shooting team from Monmouth this afternoon.

Monmouth owns impressive wins this season over power conference teams like UCLA, USC, Notre Dame, Georgetown, and Rutgers. However, I can’t ignore the fact they were also beaten by Army and Canisius as well. This will be just their fourth home game of the season, and today will be their toughest opponent they’ve faced in that regard.

According to NCAA basketball odds boards, this line opened at 8.5, and has moved to 7.5 despite more action coming in on Monmouth. That kind of betting pattern lends itself to sharp money having been placed on the underdog. I concur by siding with the road team in this spot for my Monday's college basketball picks.

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Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Siena +7.5
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

 

Arkansas-Little Rock vs. Arkansas State 8:30 PM ET
I’m going with a contrarian approach when making this NCAA basketball pick. Arkansas-Little Rock enters Monday’s game with an outstanding 15-1 record, and is clearly the better team in this matchup. In addition, they’re coming off a 81-55 home win over Appalachian State in their previous game. That’s the same Appalachian State team that just knocked off Arkansas State 86-72 on Saturday as an 8.0 point road underdog. However, I’ve never subscribed to the theory that if “Team A” beat “Team B”, and “Team B defeated “Team C”, then Team A should easily dispose of “Team C”. Especially when we’re talking about beating a point spread as opposed to picking a straight up winner.

That upset loss at home to Appalachian State snapped a five game win streak for Arkansas State. They clearly were looking ahead to facing unequivocally the best Sun Belt Conference team two days later. Arkansas State is a strong defensive team that has limited opponents to 38.3% shooting from the field, and that includes an exceptional 35.3% on its home floor. I’m siding with the home underdog value for one of my college basketball picks on Monday.

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Free NCAA Basketball  Pick: Arkansas State +7
Best Line Offered: at Heritage