O/U NCAA Basketball Picks: Top Selections On Thursday's Board

Mark Lathrop

Thursday, February 11, 2016 4:47 PM GMT

Another two winning picks last night has our NCAAB handicapper 4-1 on the week. He's now back with another two gems for you in the large slate of games on Thursday night.

North Dakota vs. Eastern Washington (Over 153.5)
In this matchup between the two 3rd place teams in the Big Sky Conference in Cheney, either Eastern Washington or North Dakota will move to 8-4 in conference play, while the loser will get stuck in a logjam of teams with five losses and be on the bubble for the conference tournament. I’m expecting a hard fought game in this one. Both teams have been off since Saturday, which is typical in the Big Sky Conference as they play Thursday and Saturday games each week. The O/U total in this game has opened at 153.5 across the NCAA basketball odds board.

The first meeting between these two teams ended in a 71-79 win for North Dakota as Eastern allowed North Dakota to shoot 52.7% from the field. North Dakota also got to the the free throw line at a 31-18 advantage, but only converted 19 attempts from the charity stripe. Eastern didn’t shoot nearly as well from the field, converting 24 of 62 attempts, good for a 38.7% conversion rate. That is well below Eastern’s season average from the field which is a stellar 49.6%.

A fleeting glance at the O/U trends in this matchup suggest a wager on the Under. North Dakota games have gone under the listed total in 6 of the last 9 games on the road. Eastern Washington has gone under the listed total in 5 of the last 6 games. But going a little bit deeper into the analysis, you find that the Over actually holds the value in this matchup.

Eastern Washington holds the 4th ranked offense while playing at home, scoring an average of 90.9 points per game. Not only that, this team plays differently on offense coming off of rest than in other games – specifically Thursday games. The totals in the conference Thursday games for Eastern Washington this year is 186, 186, 156, 195, and 157. Small sample size, but in each of the two home Thursday conference games this year, Eastern has scored an average of 109 points. Look for them to hit their season average in this one, which should be plenty enough points for this game to go over the listed total of 153.5 as one of your college basketball picks for today.

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Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Over 153.5
Best Line Offered: at Heritage

 

Gonzaga vs. Portland (1H Under 74.5, Under 157)
Staying in my backyard here with a pick concerning the Gonzaga Bulldogs. They better not be looking ahead to their non-conference matchup with Larry Brown and SMU this weekend, because Portland has the ability to play them close. Portland already boasts a win against BYU at home this year. The O/U total on this game has opened at 157.

The last matchup between these teams in Spokane also had a total listed at 157, and the 85-74 score and win by Gonzaga (Portland ATS) cashed the Overs at the window. This result was against trend, as the under had cashed in 8 of the last 11 games coming into that January matchup. In that game, Gonzaga’s star, Kyle Wiltjer, scored 32 points and sophomore forward Domantas Sabonis added 28.

The final score in this one reflects a hot shooting streak by each team that is not likely to be repeated in this game. After the teams combined for a paltry 62 points in the first half, they exploded for 97 points in the second half. I’m looking for the pace to slow in this one to somewhere in the middle, which should be enough to get this score under the posted total of 157 for one of your NCAA basketball picks. Also, if Gonzaga comes out uninspired and plays down to the competition, the first half Under of 74.5 is also a great play if it is available at your book.

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Free NCAA Basketball Picks: 1H Under 74.5, Under 157
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle