NCAA Basketball Picks: Thursday Night Valuable Games Worth Noting

Matthew Jordan

Wednesday, December 16, 2015 7:18 PM GMT

Thursday NCAA basketball around the nation has only a few games offering spreads. The marquee matchup is Marshall vs. West Virginia. Here are my top Thursday NCAA basketball picks.

We get together to analyze the NCAA Basketball odds for tonight's best matchups. Make sure to add them to your betting ticket and rack in profits. 

 

Marshall vs. No. 20 West Virginia (-20 On NCAA Basketball Odds)
Locally, this rivalry is called the Chesapeake Energy Capital Classic and it's a neutral-site game in the West Virginia capital city of Charleston. Forward Ryan Taylor led Marshall (3-6) to a third straight win with a career-high 27 points as the Thundering Herd defeated MEAC favorite North Carolina Central 92-73 on Monday. Marshall shot a season-best 54.4 percent from the floor (37-for-68) and turned the ball over just nine times. Taylor is now seven points from becoming the school's 50th 1,000-point career scorer. West Virginia (8-1) bounced back from a loss to No. 10 Virginia last Tuesday at Madison Square Garden with a 100-58 blowout of Louisiana Monroe on Sunday. The Mountaineers attempted a season-high 84 shots – 41 more than ULM. West Virginia leads the country in steals, 3-point field goal percentage defense, forced turnovers and offensive rebounds per  game. Against ULM, WVU held an offensive rebounding advantage of 26-4. The Warhawks were 1-for-8 from long range and had 21 turnovers. West Virginia is 19-5 against Marshall since the Capital Classic has been played annually in Charleston. The Mountaineers have won eight of the past nine. A total of 14 of the last 17 have been decided by 10 points or fewer, with two going to OT. Last season, the No. 22 Mountaineers won 69-66. The Herd has faced an AP-ranked WVU seven times and are 2-5 in those.

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Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Go Marshall. Too many points for a rivalry game with the vast majority of these ending by less than double-digits.
Best Line Offered: at BetOnline

 

Belmont vs. Middle Tennessee (Pick'em in NCAA Betting)
From a record standpoint, this is probably the top game of the night. Belmont (7-4) has always been a quality mid-major program. The Bruins have won at Marquette this season and played well in losses at Arizona State and BYU. They come off an 80-54 win over something called Ouachita Baptist on Tuesday. Sophomore Mack Mercer had a season-high 16 points. Star Craig Bradshaw added 14 points and four steals. That improved Belmont to 70-4 in its past 74 home games dating to February 2010. Only Kentucky and Duke have better home court winning percentages over that span. Middle Tennessee (6-2) comes off an 88-81 overtime home win over Auburn on Saturday. It was the Blue Raiders' first win over an SEC team since 2012 (Vanderbilt). Reggie Upshaw became the first Middle Tennessee player this season to lead the team in points (21), rebounds (13) and assists (four). MT's only home loss this season was by six to VCU. The Blue Raiders have won 58 of their past 67 games at the Murphy Center. This is the 36th meeting all-time between Belmont and Middle Tennessee. The Bruins have had the Blue Raiders' number as of late, winning seven of the last eight. Last season, Belmont won 63-59 on its home court. Take that into account when choosing your NCAA Basketball picks.

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Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Belmont. The Bruins are 9-2 ATS in their past 11 road games and have owned this series of late.
Best Line Offered: at Heritage

 

Cal Poly vs. Southern Cal (-10.5 For NCAA Basketball Picks)
Cal Poly (5-4) was trounced by Saint Mary's 93-63 on Monday as the Gaels hit a school-record 19 3-pointers. They shot 62.1 percent from behind the arc in leading wire-to-wire. The 19 made 3-pointers was one shy of an opponent's record vs. Cal Poly. The 93 points allowed were the Mustangs' most given up in three years. The Mustangs are averaging 75.0 points per game – the program's highest scoring average under seventh-year head coach Joe Callero. Cal Poly has scored at least 71 points in eight of nine games this season after scoring 70-plus points only seven times last year. Joel Awich leads the team in scoring (13.1 ppg) and rebounding (5.8 rpg). Cal Poly has won all five games this season in which it has shot for a higher field goal percentage than its opponent and lost all four games when it has a lower one. USC (8-2) has won three straight since losses to Xavier and Monmouth in a Florida holiday tournament. USC has scored 809 points in the first 10 games of the season, its most to start a season since 2001. The Trojans are averaging nearly 14 points more than last year. They have five players averaging at least 10.8 points, led by Jordan McLaughlin's 13.2. Believe it or not, USC is 0-2 all-time vs. Cal Poly. The schools last met in 2011.

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Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Southern Cal. The Mustangs are 1-4 ATS in their past five games. USC is 7-0-1 ATS in its past eight at home. 
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle