With the NCAA basketball season in full swing after holiday week tournaments kicked off we take a look at a trio of games worthy of your NCAA Basketball Picks Thursday night.
Tuesday night saw the several holiday week tournaments gear up into action, with the Legends Classic, Maui Invitational and Cancun Challenge all ramping up. While teams like Vanderbilt and Kansas came up with big covers, modest favorites like Ohio State and Penn State didn't even win straight up. One of the most foreshadowing lines of the day was Valparaiso (-1) at Oregon State. In the 28-hour life cycle of the line, which opened for the perfect-covering Beavers at -4, majority money on Valpo (KenPom No. 24) pushed the line five points to +1. The movement, as it often it, was a signpost. Two nights after losing a close one to the Beavers' statemate, the Oregon Ducks, the Crusaders came out and took it to Oregon State, winning by six and leading by as much as 17. Watch out for Bryce Drew's squad this season: It plays only one team in the KenPom Top 140 the entire rest of the season. Below are listed 3 games of particular interest to us Thursday when making NCAA Basketball Picks.
Washington vs. Gonzaga (-9.5)
These two teams had to travel thousands of miles to rekindle a rivalry that used to take place in their own backyard. The Zags and Huskies last played each other in 2006, but faced off 11 times in 12 seasons, with Gonzaga covering in eight of those 11 match-ups. Gonzaga's the type of traditionally offensive oriented team that can score in a hurry–but especially off of another team's offensive miscues. Washington has been nothing if not turnover prone in recent years, brimming with well-recruited talent that isn't always the most disciplined. Expect an unexpectedly balanced Gonzaga offensive attack to wear down the Huskies over the course of the game. The history and the number are with the Zags on this one.
NCAA Basketball Pick: Gonzaga -9.5 (-115) at BetOnline
High Point (+10) at Georgia
In the last two seasons, the Bulldogs are 2-5 ATS in games where they're favored by at least 10 points, and two of those past three games they've lost straight up. Georgia also lost its season opener to Chattanooga. If Bulldogs' big man Yante Maten can get in a rhythm down low, the Panthers could have a hard time stopping Georgia's interior presence around the rim, but High Point held Texas Tech, a similar mid-level Power 5 team, to a four-point margin on the road in its season opener. Georgia basketball has never been known for its urgency, particularly against upstart competition. Furthermore, this is High Point's first line of the season, according to VegasInsider, so NCAA Basketball Oddsmakers aren't working off of how the Panthers have . High Point has good value as a double-digit dog.
NCAA Basketball Pick: High Point +10 (-115) at Pinnacle
San Diego vs. Loyola-Chicago (-11)
San Diego hasn't covered in a game so far this season. Even if it had covered, it has a 38-point loss to USC, and double-digit losses to Western Michigan and a bad Cal-State Fullerton team to contend with. Brand new coach Lamont Smith has a very young team that is trying to figure out how to play together. When you add these conditions to the fact that, minutes after its opening at Loyola -8.5, the line skipped to -10 despite money coming in on the Torreros, all sharp signs here point to Loyola being in a good position to succeed. That said, the Ramblers did lose to a rebuilding New Mexico team by 24 points just a week ago. This won't be a pretty game, but the Ramblers have experience, and they shoot well from three. They might have farther to travel than the Torreros to get to the Great Alaska Shootout, but that shouldn't be the deciding factor.
NCAA Basketball Pick: Loyola (IL) -11 (-110) at The Greek