NCAA Basketball Picks of the Day: Wednesday's Top Bets Against the Spread

Matthew Jordan

Wednesday, December 16, 2015 12:09 PM GMT

It has been a disappointing non-conference season for North Carolina as it opened the year at No. 1 in the polls but is down to No. 11. Here are my top selections against the NCAA basketball odds.

Tulane vs.  #11 North Carolina 
The Tar Heels have played two true road games thus far and have lost them both. I previewed their game Saturday at Texas on my daily picks here at SBR and took the Longhorns and the points. UT did one better with an 84-82 upset on a Javan Felix buzzer-beater. Star point guard Marcus Paige led UNC with 20 points. The Heels committed a season-low six turnovers and were an excellent 52.0 percent shooting from the field. It was only the third time in 162 games under Roy Williams in which UNC shot 50 percent or better from the field and lost. Why did it lose? Texas became the first team to out-rebound Carolina this year (36-27); the Heels had just four offensive rebounds, their fewest ever under Williams. And now one of their top rebound guys is out at least two weeks. That would be forward Kennedy Meeks, who has a bone bruise on his left knee. The 6-foot-10 Meeks had started every game this season, shooting a career-best 59.5 percent from the field and averaging 12.3 points and 7.4 rebounds. Tulane (6-4) isn't a terrible team. The Green Wave have played one major conference opponent thus far in 2015 and lost 76-68 at home to Georgia Tech. One of the Tulane assistant coaches in Shammond Williams, who played on Final Four teams at Carolina in 1995, 1997 and 1998. Williams had held the school record for made 3-pointers with 233 before Paige passed him against Texas. Carolina has won 11 straight vs. Tulane but the teams haven't played since 1995. Tulane is 0-7 against the NCAA basketball odds in its past seven after a win. The Heels are 6-2-1 ATS in their past nine after an ATS loss.  

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NCAA Basketball Pick: North Carolina -23
Best Line Offered: at Heritage

 

Gardner-Webb vs. LSU
The best player in the country and the 2016 No. 1 draft pick might not even be in the NCAA Tournament. And I'm speaking of mega-talented LSU freshman point-forward Ben Simmons. He's averaging 19.0 points, 14.8 rebounds and 5.9 assists but his Tigers are just 4-4. On Sunday, they lost 105-98 in overtime at Houston and Simmons only shot the ball seven times and finished with 13 points, 14 rebounds and five assists. Simmons fouled out late in regulation. His six straight double-doubles are the most for an LSU player since Glen Davis in 2006. LSU also saw the season debut of senior guard Keith Hornsby off injury against Houston and he had a career-high 32 points. But the Tigers allowed at least 100 points for the second straight game (beat North Florida 119-108 on Dec. 2). LSU hadn't done that since December 1990. So clearly defense is a problem.  Gardner-Webb (4-6), a Big South team, obviously takes a big step up in competition here. It's the third SEC Team that the Runnin' Bulldogs have faced in 2015. They lost 98-62 at Vanderbilt and 89-64 at Tennessee. This could be a very high-scoring game as Gardner-Webb ranks 318th nationally in allowing 80.2 points per game. Gardner-Webb is 1-4 ATS in its past five non-conference games. LSU has covered 11 of its past 15 after a loss. Gardner-Webb is 1-4 ATS in its past five non-conference games. LSU has covered 11 of its past 15 after a loss.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: LSU -11.5
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

 

New Mexico State vs. New Mexico 
It's a rare rematch in the young college basketball season as New Mexico goes for the sweep of the Rio Grande Rivalry -- this will be the 216th meeting between the schools in a rivalry that dates back to December 1904. The Lobos (6-2) won at New Mexico State 83-74 on  Nov. 15 behind 31 points from leading scorer Elijah Brown, a transfer from Butler. It was New Mexico's ninth straight win at New Mexico State and 14th in the past 16 in this series overall. Pascal Siakam scored led NMSU 23 points. He was named by the media as the WAC Preseason Player of the Year.  Siakam leads the nation in field goals made (83), is ninth nationally in scoring (23.7 ppg), third in rebounding (13.3 rpg) and second in double-doubles (8). For New Mexico, Brown averages 18.8 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. Guard Cullen Neal, the son of head coach Craig Neal, adds 15.0 points and 4.5 assists per contest. If the Lobos win Wednesday, it will be their eighth season sweep of New Mexico State (5-4) since 2002. The Aggies are 1-4 ATS in their past five road games. The Lobos are 5-1 ATS in their past six vs. teams with a winning record. New Mexico has covered 10 of the past 14 meetings. Add New Mexico as the NCAA basketball pick tonight.

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NCAA Basketball Free Pick: New Mexico -8.5
Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker