NCAA Basketball Picks of the Day: Get Ready to Bet Our Top Hoop Selections

Matthew Jordan

Monday, December 21, 2015 5:17 PM GMT

Three ranked teams in action on Monday night; the only one of them with a realistic chance of actually losing. Here are my top selections against the NCAA basketball odds.

#14 Providence vs. UMass
Some books are holding off on this spread because of the status of Providence's best player and maybe the best in the Big East guard Kris Dunn. The Friars (11-1), whose only loss of the season came to current No. 1 Michigan State on a neutral court, beat Rider 73-65 on Saturday playing without Dunn. It was his second straight missed with a stomach virus. Kyron Cartwright stepped in for Dunn at point guard and had up a career-best 13 points with nine assists. Dunn  was on the bench so it would seem he's pretty close to returning but that spread could certainly still swing. Dunn, a future NBA lottery pick, is averaging 16.8 points, 6.9 assists, 6.1 rebounds, 3.4 steals 1.1 blocks. He'll be on every All-American team. This is Providence's final non-conference game. UMass has been off since ending at three-game losing streak last Wednesday vs. New Orleans, 103-95 in overtime. The school honored former Coach John Calipari before that game. Odd, considering the Final Four that Calipari led UMass to was stripped by the NCAA due to violations. Trey Davis leads the Minutemen in scoring at 19.5 ppg. These teams met last season at Providence and the Friars won 85-65. UMass trailed by 13 at the half and as many as 32 midway through the second period. Dunn scored 16 with 11 assists. UMass committed 18 turnovers while Providence had just nine. The Friars are 5-0 against the NCAA basketball odds in the past five meetings.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Providence if Dunn plays, UMass if not
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

 

Oregon vs. Alabama 
This is a "neutral-site" game at Legacy Arena in Birmingham. Be a heck of a football matchup. The Tide (7-2) have won five in a row and are off a 72-60 win over Winthrop last Wednesday. It was Alabama's second game played without star freshman point guard Dazon Ingram, who is out for the season with a fractured left foot. He averaged 7.7 points, 5.9 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.1 steals. And now forward Shannon Hale will miss his second straight game due to "medical reasons," although it's not thought to be a long-term thing. Hale is second on the Tide with an average of 12.9 points per game. Michael Kessens will likely start in place of Hale again. He had four points and four rebounds in 25 minutes vs. Winthrop.  Like the Tide's football team, Bama's hoops squad is good on defense, limiting five of its past six foes to 64 points or fewer and a field goal percentage of 38.9 percent or less. Oregon (9-2) beat Long Beach State 94-73 on Sunday for its second straight win. This is only the Ducks' second true road game -- OK, I guess it's not technically a true road game but it obviously is. And Oregon lost its other road matchup, 74-72 at Boise State. This is the third all-time meeting between the schools and only the second time the Ducks have played in the state. The Ducks have covered only three of their past 12 after scoring more than 90 points in their previous game. Alabama is 4-1 ATS in its past five games. Make them your NCAA basketball pick.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Alabama +6.5
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

 

Pepperdine vs. Gonzaga 
This is the West Coast Conference opener for both and Gonzaga (8-3) is a heavy favorite to win the WCC again although the Zags  have somewhat underachieved thus far. The Zags beat Tennessee 86-79 on Saturday in Seattle behind a career-high 36 points along with 16 rebounds from Domantas Sabonis. He's averaging 17.3 points and 10.8 rebounds on the season. That was the sixth straight game the team played without senior center Przemek Karnowski due to a back injury and he's not expected here. In Karnowski’s absence, star Kyle Wiltjer and Sabonis have logged 36.2 and 32.0 minutes per game, seven and nine more each per game. So if one of those guys gets in foul trouble, the Bulldogs are in trouble. Gonzaga has won 19 straight WCC openers and a whopping 29 in a row over Pepperdine. The Waves, who enter on a five-game winning streak, have won six of their last seven WCC opening games. Their best player in Stacy Davis, who is averaging 14.5 points and 8.5 rebounds. The Zags have covered 13 of the past 16 meetings at home. The Waves are 2-5 ATS in their past seven road games. 

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Gonzaga -11.5
Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker