Pepperdine Waves vs Portland Pilots - NCAA Basketball Picks Of The Day 12/31

Joe Catalano

Saturday, December 31, 2016 5:54 PM UTC

Saturday, Dec. 31, 2016 5:54 PM UTC

As stated earlier, the Portland Pilots started off conference play with a bang as superstar Alec Wintering lit Pacific up for 26 points in a well-earned victory. Now, the Pilots face the team that Gonzaga recently destroyed by 30 in the form of the Pepperdine Waves. The Waves are short-handed and winless on the road. This is a terrible combination and a perfect opportunity for an interconference "W' for Portland.

Pepperdine Waves (4-9) vs Portland Pilots (8-5) 

While Portland isn't in the class of Gonzaga, the spread is much lower here as they're a mere 7 point betting favorite at home against an inept Pepperdine squad.

I like to ride the teams that have been on a roll and good to to me, but I also like to fade the teams that have shown no sign of life due to injuries or just poor play out on the court and that's what Pepperdine represents in this matchup. Pepperdine has been a disaster in covering the number as they're 3-9 ATS. What's worse for the Waves is that they have to face Alec Wintering and he's an offensive machine.

Small Man, Big Numbers

At just 6 foot, 165 pounds, point guard Alec Wintering has had an outstanding collegiate career. He's progressed every season and in his senior year, he's managed to crack the 20 point mark, averaging 21.8 points, 6.1 assists, and 4.8 rebounds per game.

Not only is Wintering a relentless shooter, but he get's his teammates involved and doesn't mind getting down in the trenches with the big guys. He's not a big 3-point threat, but Wintering is consistently scoring over 20 points per game and in an efficient manner. We know what he did to Pacific. Pepperdine is a drop in the level of competition and I expect more of the same from the Charlotte, North Carolina native.

Lamond Murray Jr.

Along with power forward Chris Reyes (14.3 points 7.9 rebounds), senior Lamond Murray Jr. has managed to provide the Waves offense with a boost as this team has been shorthanded due to injuries.

For the season, Murray Jr. is averaging 19.3 points and 5.5 rebounds. Murray Jr. has also been "lights out" from beyond the arc, converting on nearly 50% of his attempts. He recently had a 19 point, 7 rebound effort against Gonzaga. Against a much inferior squad in the Portland Pilots, look for Murray Jr. to lead the way in attempt to steal an inter-conference victory.

Everything in this game tells me to side with Portland, but after facing Gonzaga, look for Lamond Murray Jr. and the Pepperdine Waves to make this game close.

 Free NCAAB Pick: Pepperdine Waves +7Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

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