NCAA Basketball Picks: UConn vs. Marquette

Jeff Grant

Tuesday, January 1, 2013 3:06 AM GMT

Connecticut will be playing in its 34th Big East Conference opener against Marquette Tuesday night, but its first under the direction of head coach Kevin Ollie. Let's take a closer look at the NCAA Basketball odds for this contest.

Streaking into conference play

The Connecticut Huskies closed out their non-conference schedule with four consecutive wins, including a 61-53 victory over the Washington Huskies as six-point home favorites Saturday. The program is 8-7 against the spread (ATS) in January since 2010, with the UNDER going 10-5 in that situation.

Great success in conference openers

The Marquette Golden Eagles were likely looking ahead to this affair in capturing a lackluster 61-53 win over NC Central three days ago, as they will try to improve upon their 16-7 all-time record in conference openers. College basketball handicappers will find that the team is a dominating 74-47 ATS in the first month of a calendar year since 1997, including a 14-5 ATS mark in the last two seasons. Connecticut is 16-17 overall in Big East lid lifters.

Backcourt is the key to victory

The Huskies are listed as road underdogs on the NCAA Basketball odds page, which could supply value if their backcourt shows up in a big way, as guards Ryan Boatright and Shabazz Napier are combining to average 32.3 points per game. Napier is ninth in the conference in scoring, while Boatright is three spots behind him in that category.

New Year’s Day

NCAA Basketball bettors need to definitely consider the Golden Eagles as one of their NCAA basketball picks, as they will be playing on New Year’s Day for the fourth time in five seasons, claiming victory in the previous three contests. Total players will find that Marquette went OVER the total in each of those opportunities.

Falling flat on the road

Since the start of the 1989-90 season, Connecticut posted a solid 116-82 record on the road in league play, but that success has fallen off in recent years. The Huskies are a game under .500 (22-23) when playing away from home during Big East play in the past five years. It’s also important to note that the program is 6-13 ATS on the road overall over the last two-plus seasons.

Winning at home

The Golden Eagles will put their 16-game home winning streak on the line in this affair, which is the sixth-longest active streak of its kind in the nation. Marquette has won all seven of its games in front of its fans this year, while going 4-2 ATS when favored at the BMO Harris Bradley Center over the last two-plus campaigns.

[gameodds]14/134743/93-19-999996-1096-198-238/us[/gameodds]

Prediction

I’m going to recommend that readers play the OVER as one of their NCAA Basketball Picks, as these two teams have gone above the total in six of their last eight meetings.

NCAA Basketball Pick: Over 133 at Bookmaker