NCAA Basketball Picks: Value Found on Underdogs Monday Night

Darin Zank

Monday, December 7, 2015 5:16 PM GMT

College hoops offers a limited betting schedule for Monday night, but this handicapper found value with a pair of underdogs to grow your bankroll early this week.

 

Playing the Pirates
Two teams running on three-game winning streaks meet when Charleston hosts East Carolina.

The Pirates started this season with consecutive victories, then lost three in a row. But they gave Cal a good battle out in Berkeley, trailing by just three points with three minutes to go, losing 70-62 but easily covering the NCAA Basketball Odds as 20-point dogs. And now EC has won three in a row, after beating South Carolina Upstate last Friday 84-71. The Pirates shot 54 percent from the floor Friday, in part because they only attempted 13 three-pointers. That's three games in a row they've shot better than 50 percent.

East Carolina is picked to finish somewhere near the bottom of the AAC this season, but they did return three starters from last season. And they've really only played three bad halves or so this season.

Charleston, meanwhile, started 2-0 this season, then lost two straight, including a tough one as a 15-point dog at Davidson. But the Cougars have since won three in a row, including an upset of LSU and, last time out, an 82-74 victory over Citadel. Charleston shot a hot 59 percent from the floor Saturday, also in part because they only attempted 13 shots from beyond the arc. They also, however, turned the ball over 20 times, and missed 10 of 30 free-throws, in coming up a point short of pushing the spread as nine-point favorites.

Charleston is picked to finish near the bottom of the CAA this season; they also returned three starters from last season, but lost one, G Joe Chealey, for the season to a leg injury back in October.

These two teams are very even, but East Carolina shoots the ball better from the FT line than the Cougars. Also, home-court advantage is often overrated; if this game were being played on a neutral court it would probably go off as a pick 'em. We like the Pirates here with a NCAA Basketball Pick, plus the points.

Free NCAAB Pick: East Carolina +4.5 at 5Dimes

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Sooners Battle 'Nova
In an interesting early-season inter-sectional match-up undefeated Oklahoma and undefeated Villanova meet in Hawaii.

The Sooners are off to a 5-0 start, after swamping Central Arkansas last time out 111-68, covering as 30-point favorites. OU shot 52 percent from the floor and hit 13 of 22 shots from long range. Just before that the Sooners beat Wisconsin 65-48, easily covering at -8. So each of Oklahoma's last four victories have come by at least 17 points.

The Sooners, with four starters back from last season, are picked to finish in the top three in the Big 12 this season, and nothing they've done so far has done detriment to that idea.

Villanova, meanwhile, is 7-0 on the season, following last week's 86-72 victory over St. Joseph's. The Wildcats shot 50 percent from the field, and hit 13 of 15 from the stripe, but only managed to push the spread at -14.

Villanova also owns wins this season over Stanford and Georgia Tech.

The Wildcats are the early-season favorites to win the Big East again, once again led by a very good set of guards.

This is another game that looks like it could go either way. But Oklahoma shoots the better from 3-point land, and does a better job on the boards. We like the Sooners, plus the points.

Free NCAAB Pick: Oklahoma +4 at Heritage

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