You can never do enough research in your handicapping endeavors, so let's dive into a busy college basketball slate and try and come up with two top-notch picks.
Kansas Jayhawks vs. Georgetown Hoyas
A great game awaits us tonight, as Georgetown will take on Kansas for a precious non-conference victory.
The early NCAA basketball odds suggest we'll be in for a doozy, and it's hard to disagree. The Hoyas are currently favored by 2.5 points, with the total at 137 points. So far on the year, Georgetown is 5-2 SU, while Kansas is 6-1 SU.
The Hoyas have already gone through the gauntlet early on in this season, as they've already faced off against two ranked teams (and Butler to boot). They were beaten by both the Badgers and Bulldogs, but did get a win over Florida prior, and also managed to bounce back with a huge 78-46 win over Towson.
D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera and Joshua Smith have been the team's leaders so far -- they're the only two Hoyas averaging in double figures, with Smith chipping in 6.9 RPG to the cause. Other than that, Georgetown has been adopting a balanced approach, with nine players who log at least 13 minutes a contest.
As for the Jayhawks, they've also been dealing with a challenging early-season schedule, but they've coped very well. Their one loss came to none other than Kentucky. Kansas has picked up three nice wins in a row, beating Tennessee, Michigan State and Florida in consecutive contests. Looking at the Jayhawks, Perry Ellis is leading the team in scoring and rebounding, but Frank Mason III, Cliff Alexander and Wayne Selden Jr. have been doing well too.
It's not too often you get a chance to back Kansas at a plus price, so we're finding that hard to pass up this evening. The Jayhawks have a lot of talent and are riding a good wave of momentum at the moment. They've played some very tough competition and should be up for this challenge inside the Verizon Center, so we're siding with them as our first NCAA basketball pick.
Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Kansas Jayhawks +2 at 5Dimes
Maryland Terrapins vs. NC Central Eagles
Still seemingly flying under the radar a little bit, the Terrapins have been one of the most successful teams early on in the 2014/15 campaign.
With a 8-1 record, Maryland has been looking as good as ever. The team's one loss came to Virginia (ranked #7 at the time) last week, but that's understandable. It's hard to fault the Terrapins, considering they've already beaten the likes of Iowa State and Arizona State this season. With a deadly trio of Melo Trimble, Dez Wells and Jake Layman, all of whom are averaging at least 15 points a game, it's proven difficult to slow down Maryland so far.
As for NC Central, they may not be well known, but this team has proven to be feisty early on. The Eagles lost three of their first four games, but they've since pulled off a five-game winning streak. What's more, their three losses came to solid programs in UNC, Cincinnati and Creighton, so this team is battle-tested as well.
Anthony McDonald has paced NC Central with 13.6 PPG, with Jordan Parks putting up 12.4 PPG and 6.6 RPG and Dante Holmes, Karamo Jawara and Nimrod Hilliard have been playing heavy minutes too. The Eagles are far from a bad team, and they're on a great run, but the disparity in talent should prove too much to overcome, especially out on the road.
Maryland looks strong and we think they'll be able to pull away at some point in this game and cover the large number. We're laying the chalk and taking Maryland to provide backers with a cashed ticket.
Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Maryland Terrapins -11 at BookMaker