Pittsburgh vs. Rutgers: NCAA Basketball Picks

Joe Freda

Saturday, January 5, 2013 12:43 PM GMT

The No. 24 Pittsburgh Panthers saw an eight-game winning streak end with Monday’s 70-61 defeat as a six-point home favorite against the Cincinnati Bearcats.

Saturday morning’s basketball betting features Jamie Dixon’s troops visiting the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, who are 2-1 ATS in their last three home dates. Who will get the cover in the day’s early Big East Conference action?

Panthers, Zanna blow lead at home

Pittsburgh saw a 34-26 halftime lead erased by Cincinnati, while the Panthers were held to a 0-for-10 day from three-point land. Panthers center Steven Adams went scoreless in 24 minutes of action, but at least he grabbed a team-high nine boards.

Pittsburgh’s Talib Zanna and Lamar Patterson united for 29 points, with Patterson adding four of his side’s 12 assists. Panthers forward Dante Taylor knocked down 2-of-2 field buckets for four points, while logging two blocks.

The battle’s combined 131 points jumped above the betting odds ‘total’ of 124 ½, making the OVER 3-0 in the Panthers’ trio of contests with a ‘total.’  Pittsburgh sank 15-of-25 free throws, while being edged out in rebounds, 30-27.

Scarlet Knights smashed at Syracuse

Rutgers picked up its third loss of the year in Wednesday’s 78-53 setback to the Syracuse Orange. The Scarlet Knights were held to 36.4 percent field shooting, leading to Syracuse getting the money for my followers as a 16-point home favorite.

Scarlet Knights guard Eli Carter drilled 5-of-10 shots beyond the arc, finishing with a team-high 19 points. Rutgers’ Kadeem Jack logged 13 boards, while held to two points in 22 minutes on the floor.

The lopsided duel’s combined 131 points plunged UNDER the ‘total’ of 140 ½, despite both sides uniting to sink 20-of-26 free throws. Carter and Co. outrebounded Syracuse, 30-29, while logging a sizable 20 turnovers.

[gameodds]14/136432/19-1537-198-423-93/us[/gameodds]

Back Rutgers as a home dog

Bookmaker.eu opened Pittsburgh as 6 ½-point road ‘chalk,’ with early wagers on the Panthers lifting the number a ‘hook’ to seven. The ‘total’ was first posted at 129, remaining unchanged after initial betting action.

I am adding Rutgers to my college basketball picks for Saturday’s card, looking for the Scarlet Knights to stay close on their floor. Rutgers is 4-1 ATS in its last five meetings with the Panthers, including a 2-0 spread record in the span’s pair of matchups as a host.

The Scarlet Knights have held foes to 63.8 PPG in their last four home affairs, including a double-digit victory over Rider as part of last week’s most recent matchup in Piscataway. Rutgers is in a spot to bounce back after its spanking at Syracuse, with a 4-1 spread record in its most recent five games that followed a defeat of more than 20 points.

Pittsburgh’s loss to Cincinnati moved the Panthers to 1-5 ATS in its last six contests against squads with winning records. Zanna and Co. have ranked in the Big East’s bottom half for free throw shooting (68.2 percent), while Rutgers has connected at a conference-best 73.6 percent clip.

Look for Rutgers to edge out Pitt at the betting windows, with points coming in handy down the stretch in a low-octane duel.

NCAA Basketball Picks: Rutgers at betonline