NCAA Basketball Picks of the Day: Pair of ATS Bets for Friday's Ivy League Action

Willie Bee

Friday, February 27, 2015 12:00 PM GMT

A showdown looms in the Ivy League between rivals Harvard and Yale, but both teams need to first get through back-to-back college basketball odds matchups this weekend.

All signs point to the biggest game in the Ivy League this season coming a week from now when Harvard hosts Yale in the next-to-last game on both team's regular season slate. In fact, if we don't see the Crimson and Bulldogs finish 1-2 in the conference ranks, it'll mean a big meltdown by one or the other...or both.

Harvard has a 1-game lead over its biggest rival, the Crimson current sitting 9-1 in the league table with Yale just behind at 8-2. The Crimson and Elis will collide next Friday in Cambridge, Harvard in full control of its own destiny in search of a fourth consecutive outright Ivy League title.

Yale could force a potential playoff with Harvard if the Bulldogs can win out. With no Ancient Eight postseason tourney, it would take a tie atop the regular season standings to add another game to the league slate. That happened just four years ago when Princeton and Harvard shared regular season honors before the Tigers topped the Crimson in the winner-takes-all matchup to determine who got the automatic invite to the NCAA Men's Basketball tournament.

Obviously, both Harvard and Yale are already thinking about their clash seven days from now, setting the stage for either or both to lose focus of their opponents this weekend.

 

Harvard vs. Cornell
It's the final road trip of the season for Tommy Amaker and Harvard, the first stop in Ithaca for a battle with the Cornell Big Red. Anyone planning to catch the contest via the CBS Sports Network needs to double-check the start time as both schools are listing 6:30 PM (ET) on their websites while some of the major media outlets have 7 PM.

Harvard has held at -7 since the NCAA basketball odds went out, the total still unavailable.

Being away from home for a conference contest hasn't been any problem for Harvard (19-5 straight up, 8-10 against the spread). The Crimson have won 12 straight Ancient Eight affairs, a streak that dates back to January 2014, and they've got a 4-game streak going at Cornell's Newman Arena as part of a 9-game overall win streak against the Big Red. That streak was extended to nine about two weeks ago in Cambridge where Harvard posted a 61-40 victory to almost double-up an 11 point spread. Cornell (12-14 SU, 9-8-2 ATS) had a 6-point lead late in the first half, but the Crimson defense shut the Big Red down in the final 20 minutes, limiting them to just two points in the first nine minutes.

NCAA Basketball Pick: Cornell +7 at 5Dimes

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Princeton vs. Yale
Yale has the luxury of being at home for its back-to-back battles, first with the Princeton Tigers on Friday before Pennsylvania hits New Haven on Saturday. The Bulldogs and Tigers are set to get underway at 7 PM (ET), Yale having been bet down to -7 on the NCAA odds.

Princeton (12-13 SU, 9-8 ATS) did its best to topple Harvard last Saturday, building a 14-point lead over the Crimson on their home floor during the first half. Once again, however, Harvard poured it on in the second half for a 63-55 victory that almost covered a 9 point spread.

Yale (19-8 SU, 12-5-1 ATS) is coming off an upset loss at home vs. Columbia the same day, dropping a 56-50 decision to a Lions team that was getting 7½. The Bulldogs will be looking to bounce back while winning their 6th-straight vs. Princeton, Yale notching an 81-73 dubya on Valentine's Day to beat the -2½ NCAA basketball odds.

No matter how you slice it, 7 will be either our lucky or unlucky number in these two matchups, and I'm inclined to back the underdogs in each game for my free college basketball picks.

NCAA Basketball Pick: Princeton +7 at The Greek