NCAA Basketball Thanksgiving Picks Of The Day

NCAAB UCLA Bruins Players

Thursday, November 24, 2016 5:29 PM GMT

While most of the world will be focused on a turkey leg and the NFL for Thanksgiving, we're focused on two NCAA Basketball picks in holiday tournaments that are sure to increase your bankroll.

 

Las Vegas Invitational: Santa Clara (3-2) Vs. No. 8 Arizona (4-0)

Ever since their opening win over Michigan State, the Wildcats have been coasting, winning by double digits in each game since. Now they face an opponent in Santa Clara that doesn't pose a major threat to the Cats' perfect record. This game simply comes down to: Does Arizona cover the NCAA basketball betting spread against an inferior team?

 

Fantastic Freshmen

The Wildcats are hoping that Finland native and freshman Lauri Markkanen stays for more than one season in a Wildcats jersey as he's shown that he excels at the collegiate level. Markkanen is an outside threat who can also rebound well, play solid defense and is automatic from the charity stripe. This combination equals success. For the season, Markkanen is averaging 19.5 points, 8.3 rebounds and is shooting 55.6% from the field and 95.7% from the free-throw line. Expect Markannen to play well here as Santa Clara doesn't pose a major defensive threat.

The Wildcats will also be looking for a bounce-back performance from freshman Kobi Simmons. Simmons had started off his career strong and then had his first roadblock, so to speak, as he didn't look for his offense in a win over Northern Colorado and produced just 3 points.

Santa Clara is coming off of back-to-back victories in which it scored over 80 points in each and should come into this game with some confidence. Jared Brownridge (16.8 points, 5.4 rebounds, 4 assists) and Jarvis Pugh (15.6 points, 6.6 rebounds) provide the experience that Arizona's key players don't have. I'm going to side with the Bulldogs to keep it close.

NCAAB Free Pick: Santa Clara +14.5

Best Line Offered: 5Dimes

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Wooden Legacy: Portland (3-0) Vs. No. 14 UCLA (4-0)

Just like North Carolina has been very good to me with its blowout victories, the Bruins have also been good to the bettor as they continue to pour it on offensively against mid-level talent. UCLA can only defeat the teams that are put in front of them and that's exactly what it has been doing.

 

Bryce Alford & T.J. Leaf

The combination of the senior Alford and freshman Leaf has been terrific for UCLA. Alford is coming off of a modest 15-point effort in which he drained 5 of 6 shots from 3-point range against Long Beach State while Leaf continued to have a sensational freshman season as he led the Bruins with 21 points and 9 rebounds on 8 of 12 shooting from the field.

Leaf has been a walking double-double and it will be very interesting to see how he'll fare as the competition becomes tougher. For now, this dynamic duo appears to be able to handle teams at this level and that includes Portland, despite the Pilots being undefeated.

In Portland's 3 games, leading scorer Alec Wintering, a senior guard, has been a flat-out beast. He's leading the Pilots at 19 points, 8 assists and 4.7 rebounds per game. This including Portland's last game in which it blew out Lewis & Clark and Wintering only played 18 minutes. 

The decisive difference in this game is that Portland is winning against bottom-feeders and UCLA is an AP Top 25 team. They elevation in competition does make a difference, and I expect the Bruins to prove this point to the Pilots in this matchup staged in Fullerton, Calif.

NCAAB Free Pick: UCLA -15

Best Line Offered: BetOnline

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