NCAA Basketball Picks: Sunday Free Picks

Joe Freda

Sunday, January 20, 2013 12:41 PM GMT

Drake arrives at Cedar Falls as a double-digit dog, while oddsmakers sense a tighter clash in Carbondale. Which side of the betting odds should you be on for your basketball picks?

Sunday Picks:  Missouri Valley Matchups

Sunday’s college basketball card features a pair of matchups in the Missouri Valley Conference. The Northern Iowa Panthers host the Drake Bulldogs in an afternoon tip, while the Southern Illinois Salukis and Illinois State Redbirds square off on the card’s nightcap. 

Drake Bulldogs at Northern Iowa Panthers

Northern Iowa moved to 3-1 ATS in its last four games with Tuesday’s 79-68 defeat to the Creighton Bluejays, holding on to cover as an 11 ½-point road dog on the NCAAB betting boards. The Panthers allowed Creighton to connect from the floor at 55.4 percent, while Northern Iowa’s Anthony James notched a season-high 25 points.

Drake came away with a second straight cashed ticket in Wednesday’s 83-69 triumph over the Evansville Purple Aces, collecting as a one-point home dog. Bulldogs mates Chris Hines and Jordan Clarke logged team-highs of 21 points and nine boards, respectively, while Drake held Evansville to 32.8 percent field shooting.

Northern Iowa has a 6-1 spread record in its last seven meetings with the Bulldogs, including a 2-0 mark as ‘chalk’ in last season’s two matchups. The Panthers drained 6-of-15 buckets beyond the arc in last January’s home affair, holding off Drake for a 66-52 win as a 9 ½-point favorite.

Bookmaker.eu opened Northern Iowa as 10-point ‘chalk’ for Sunday’s contest, while first posting the ‘total’ at 137 ½. I am backing Drake here, taking the double digits and looking for Clarke and Co. to keep some momentum going with a hard-fought cover.

Clarke ranks as one of the Missouri Valley Conference’s top two rebounders (8.1 RPG), while mate Seth VanDeest has hit field buckets at a sizable 58.1 percent. Northern Iowa should have its challenges to cover against this duo, while overvalued with a 1-6-2 ATS mark over its last nine matchups against squads with losing records.

College Basketball Picks:  Drake Bulldogs +10 (Bookmaker.eu)  

[gameodds]14/218276/43/us[/gameodds]

Illinois State Redbirds at Southern Illinois Salukis 

Illinois State logged its sixth straight loss in Wednesday’s 74-62 defeat as an eight-point road dog against the Wichita State Shockers. Redbirds mates Jackie Carmichael and Tyler Brown grabbed nine boards each, while Carmichael led in scoring with 22 points.

Southern Illinois collected at basketball betting shops for a third straight game in Tuesday’s 69-66 loss as a 5 ½-point road dog against the Bradley Bears. The Salukis shot 54.9 percent from the floor, including guard Jeff Early knocking down 8-of-9 shots en route to 17 points and 11 boards.

The conference rivals split last January’s pair of battles, with each cashing once at home. Southern Illinois’ triumph came with an 86-71 victory as a 3 ½-point dog, with Salukis guard T.J. Lindsay drilling 6-of-7 buckets beyond the arc.

Bookmaker.eu opened with a 1 ½-point lean to Illinois State, while listing the ‘total’ at 142 ½. I am adding a ticket on the Redbirds as short road faves, looking for Dan Muller’s squad to end its losing streak in this spot.

Carmichael (17.9 PPG) and Brown (15.2 PPG) rank as two of the MVC’s top six scorers for Illinois State, while Brown hit 6-of-11 from the floor in last season’s visit to Carbondale. Carmichael also leads the conference in rebounds (8.9 RPG), while second in blocks (2 BPG).

Southern Illinois has been held to 67.8 PPG this year, placing a distant ninth in the Missouri Valley’s 10 teams. The Salukis have not had value on their floor, logging a 1-4-1 ATS mark in their last six home dates.

Look for Southern Illinois to come up short again here, adding another losing basketball betting ticket to its 3-7-1 spread record in its last 11 spots against conference rivals.

College Basketball Picks:  Illinois State Redbirds – 1 ½ (Bookmaker.eu) 

[gameodds]14/218278/43/us[/gameodds]