NCAA Basketball Picks of the Day: Friday Leans on Top Home Faves

Matthew Jordan

Friday, December 4, 2015 12:20 PM GMT

Once conference play begins around the nation, Friday is the weakest night of the week in terms of Power 5 conference teams playing, but we our NCAA basketball picks for today.

Pittsburgh vs. Duquesne 
Bragging rights in the Steel City are on the line in this "neutral-site" game -- known as the City Game -- at the CONSOL Energy Center. The Panthers (4-1) come off their first loss, falling 72-59 at home to No. 11 Purdue in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge on Tuesday. Pitt was able to rally from a 17-point deficit to briefly lead by one with a little over 12 minutes to play but it wouldn't lead again. James Robinson led the Panthers with 17 points and Michael Young added 16 points and 12 rebounds, but Pitt shot a season-low 35 percent and made just 4 of 19 3-pointers. The Panthers dropped to 121-5 against non-conference opponents at the Petersen Events Center. At 6-1, Duquesne is off to its best start since 2007-08. The Dukes have double-digit wins over Seton Hall and Penn State. They are averaging 86.7 points on .514 shooting thus far. DU plays at the CONSOL Energy Center, but the "home" team in this series is rotated there every year so it's technically a neutral site. Pitt is 5-0 in this series all-time there and has won 14 in a row in the series overall. Last year, Robinson scored a game-high 23 points in a 76-62 victory. Duquesne hasn't been able to reach the 70-point mark in the 14 straight losses (averaging 59.6 ppg). DU's last win over an ACC opponent was on Dec. 28, 2006, at Boston College.

Pittsburgh. The Panthers are 7-1 ATS against the NCAA basketball odds in the past eight meetings.

NCAA Basketball Pick: Pittsburgh -7 at 5Dimes

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Arkansas vs. Wake Forest 
Arkansas is a disappointing 3-3, losing to Akron, Georgia Tech and Stanford. The Hogs come off a season-high 117 points in a rout of Northwestern State on Tuesday. It was the most points the Razorbacks have ever scored under Coach Mike Anderson. They shot 55.7 percent for the game, with leading scorers Moses Kingsley and Dusty Hannahs putting up 21 points apiece. Seven Arkansas players scored in double figures for the first time since Jan. 2, 2001. Hannahs and Kingsley are the No. 3 scoring duo in the SEC, combining to score 34.7 points per game. Wake Forest (5-2) has quality wins over Indiana and UCLA and very acceptable losses to Richmond and Vanderbilt. All five wins have been by eight or fewer points, while the two losses have been by nine and 22 points. Wake rallied from a  12-point second-half deficit for a 69-68 win at Rutgers in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge on Monday. The Demon Deacons are coached  by one of the best college basketball players of all-time in former Kansas star Danny Manning. They have one of the ACC's best players in senior forward Devin Thomas, who averages 18.4 points and 11.3 rebounds (No. 2 in the ACC). Arkansas beat Wake Forest last year 83-53 in Fayetteville. But that Hogs team was much better than this one. Wake shot only 32.2 percent (19 of 59) from the field and committed 22 turnovers.

Wake Forest. The Razorbacks are 0-6 ATS in their past six overall. They are 1-8 ATS in their past nine vs. the ACC.

NCAA Basketball Pick: Wake Forest -7 at Bet365

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#15 Oregon vs. UNLV 
This is technically a neutral-site game at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas and will be shown on ESPN2 (11 p.m. ET). UNLV played Utah on the Las Vegas Strip last season and it was well received so look for one game a season there for the Rebels. That game overlapped with Utah's football team appearing in the Las Vegas Bowl, so it truly was a neutral-site game in terms of fan attendance. That likely won't be the case here. UNLV does treat it like a road game in that the team stays in a hotel the night before. I looked at Oregon's game on my top  NCAA basketball picks for Monday and the Ducks beat Fresno State 78-73 to improve to 6-0. The Ducks led by 19 points in the second half but had to hold off a big FSU rally. Dillon Brooks led Oregon with his second double-double of the season, 21 points and 10 rebounds. Oregon’s 17 turnovers were a season high. This is the Ducks' first game away from home. UNLV (6-1) has played two NCAA blue-bloods this season in UCLA, losing by two in Hawaii, and Indiana, winning by three also in Hawaii. The Rebels are averaging 83.6 points per game. They have scored at least 80 points four times. In 33 games last season the Rebels did that only twice. But there's caveat to that rise in scoring: all four of UNLV's games above 80 points have been against non-Division I teams or D-I teams rated 300 or below. One of UNLV's better players is forward Ben Carter, who averages 8.7 points and 6.1 rebounds. He's a transfer from Oregon.

Go UNLV as Ducks have been a different team away from home the past few years. UNLV is 5-0 ATS in its past five vs. teams with a winning record. 

NCAA Basketball Pick: UNLV +2 at Heritage

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