NCAA Basketball Picks of the Day: Not Worth Watching but Worth a Wager

Doug Upstone

Friday, February 13, 2015 4:20 PM GMT

Our NCAA Basketball picks of the day are going to have a distinct MAAC flavor, with two choices against the betting odds. Friday’s are never easy because of the games available, but we've found two value plays.

St. Peters vs. Niagara – Defense Matters
St. Peter’s is 6-8 SU and ATS in the MAAC, which places them in 8th position in the conference. The Peacocks are off a pair of home victories and covers against Fairfield (69-58) and Siena (65-57) and will look to maintain momentum. St. Peter’s (12-13, 9-11 ATS) does not have an easy road ahead, literally, playing four of the next five away from home.

This season, the Peacocks are 6-7 and 6-4 ATS on the road, with a negative point differential of just -0.4 and they have beaten the college basketball odds with 38 covers in their past 57 away assignments. St. Peter’s is led by seniors Desi Washington (14.5 ppg), Marvin Dominique (13.7 ppg), and Tyler Gaskins (9.6 ppg) and Dominique currently sits in fourth place in the MAAC with 7.8 rebounds per game.

Niagara has gone through a rugged season with a 4-19 (7-14 ATS) record and is last in the MAAC at 3-11, beating the NCAA basketball odds six times. The last time the Purple Eagles were home, back on Feb. 1st, they came away with a dramatic 105-100 double overtime win over the Quinnipiac. Unfortunately for Niagara, that has turned out to be just their second win of 2015 to go along with 11 defeats.

Emile Blackman is Niagara’s leading scorer at 13.3 PPG and has been heating up lately, averaging 19.4 points a contest in his last five outings. The Purple Eagles average 64.8 PPG but their shooting percentage is a lowly 39.1.

St. Pete’s is not a great offensive team either at 61.4 PPG, however, where they excel is on defense, where they permit 60.3 PPG and opponents connect on just 39.4 percent. Niagara on the other hand permits opposing teams to make 47.7 percent of shot attempts, leading to 73.7 PPG. Look for the Peacocks to use this to their advantage with easier chances to score and with one of my college basketball picks today.

NCAA Basketball Pick:  St. Peter’s to move to 11-2 ATS off two home wins as a favorite and beat the odds makers number of -4 at 5Dimes

Here are our top picks for NCAA Tournament Future

Quinnipac vs. Fairfield – Revenge Spot Cover
Not every college basketball handicapper is big on revenge games and I agree with that in principle, nonetheless, other factors come into play leading one to having that be part of the solution.

Fairfield (6-18, 8-12 ATS) won at Quinnipiac (13-10, 8-9 ATS) 56-52, as eight-point underdogs back on Dec. 7th. A great deal has changed since that matchup for both teams leading into tonight’s fray. Since that upset, the Stags are just 2-13 (4-9 ATS) and are presently on a seven-game losing streak, losing by 7.7 points a contest.

Quinnipiac is 7-3 (5-5 ATS) since Jan. 9th and has been playing very good defense, holding seven different foes to 40.3 percent or less shooting. With how the Bobcats play sound defense, they should have distinct edge since Fairfield, who as a team is only making 39.1 percent of attempts, while scoring 60.5 PPG. Quinnipiac understands they cannot be involved in another low-scoring slugfest like the past meeting and has to ramp up the action to how they prefer to play, which is tallying 70.3 PPG.

NCAA Basketball Pick: Since last year, the Bobcats are 6-0 ATS revenging a same season setback, winning by 11.8 PPG and I’ll call for them to beat the linemaker in the five-point favorite role on the road.