Much of the nation will be focused on the final Sunday of the pro football schedule. Me? I'll be keeping an eye on college hoops, including the three games listed below that will be added to my free picks for the third-to-last day of 2013.
We'll have to rely on just picking sides for the entire trio of clashes since the sports books are still in their timid phase when it comes to releasing overnight totals. Hopefully that changes soon as schedules turn to conference play across the college hoops landscape. Totals should be out shortly, so keep your browser pointed to SBR's live college basketball odds for those figures.
Panthers Look To Extend Streak To 4 at East Carolina
We'll tip things off with a high noon battle pitting Sun Belt and Conference USA squads as the Georgia State Panthers hit the road against the East Carolina Pirates. This matchup has one of the tightest spreads on Sunday's card with oddsmakers hanging a -1.5 number on ECU.
Georgia State came out of the gate pretty slow with losses in five of the first seven contests, but have started to turn things around with wins the last three times out. The slow start was a bit of a mystery with much of the starting lineup returning from a year ago, and head coach Ron Hunter also had good news with transfer Ryan Harrow, a transfer from Kentucky, cleared to play from the get-go. Harrow leads the Panthers in scoring (19.9 ppg) and forms a strong backcourt duo with senior Devonta White, tops on the team in assists (4.5 apg).
East Carolina, on the other hand, came out strong with a 6-1 start, the lone loss a solid performance at Duke where the Pirates hung with the Blue Devils in the second game back-to-back spot on the schedule. Akeem Richmond leads a quartet averaging double-digits per contest with 18.6 PPG, but the depth of this squad took a hit early on with the loss of 6-10 forward Marshall Guilmette to a season-ending knee injury.
The Pirates are tough on their own court, but I'm going with the Panthers today in a mild upset.
College Basketball Picks: Georgia State +1.5
Flyers Carry On Homestand With Visit From Racers
One of the more lopsided affairs on Sunday's slate, the Murray State Racers travel to the Buckeye State to meet the Dayton Flyers in a 2 PM (ET) tip. It's the third of a 5-game homestand for the Flyers who were sent out as 16 point chalk, that spread now at 15.5.
Murray State (5-6 straight up, 4-4 against the spread) saw its modest 3-game win streak snapped eight days ago at Western Kentucky, the Hilltoppers scoring a 71-64 dubya that didn't quite cover an 8.5 point line. The racers sped to a 20-8 lead early in the contest, but couldn't hold the advantage and had no answer for WKU's TJ price in the second half.
Dayton (9-3 SU, 6-3 ATS) is also coming off a loss a week ago, dropping a 79-76 overtime decision to USC who was getting 12. Once again, it was a case of not being able to hold a big 1st-half lead, poor shooting from long-range a key reason. This is a game I'd like to have the total as a wagering option since I think an 'over' play could be the best way to go, but I'll take a chance with the underdog Racers instead.
College Basketball Picks: Murray State +15.5
Yellow Jackets Continue Tough Road Trek At Charlotte
One of the day's most attractive games from my angle is the 7 PM (ET) matchup at Charlotte where the 49ers host the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. This game opened with the Niners giving up 3.5, and that number is now at 3.
The two previous meetings between these schools have seen the road team leave town victorious, and that's certainly a possibility here since Shawn Lester isn't 100% for Charlotte (8-3 SU, 6-2 ATS), though he's listed as probable for the matchup. Georgia Tech (8-4 SU, 2-4 ATS) is in the middle of a tough 4-game trip that started a week ago at Vanderbilt and continues next week with ACC games at Maryland and Duke.
If Lester can't go, or his minutes are limited, the Yellow Jackets could make it three in a row for the visitors in this series. But I'm counting on the 49ers to get the job done and cover the short number for my free college basketball pick.
College Basketball Picks: Charlotte -3