Road Favorites Offer Solid Betting Value for Tonight's NCAA Basketball Picks

Darin Zank

Thursday, January 29, 2015 5:25 PM UTC

Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015 5:25 PM UTC

We had a shot at going 2-0 with our free college basketball picks Wednesday, but ended up with a one-point loss and a push. We'll hope for a little better luck with our College Basketball Plays of the Day for Thursday.

Kentucky -18 vs. Missouri
The 19-0 Wildcats, still with a shot at a perfect season, meet a team they just blew out two weeks ago when they visit the Tigers Thursday night.

Last time out Kentucky won at South Carolina 58-43, covering as a 12-point road favorite. The Wildcats held the Gamecocks to just 23 percent shooting from the field, and on the season the 'Cats are holding foes to just 32 percent shooting. So Kentucky has held 12 of 19 opponents this season to 50 points or less, and 10 of its 19 victories have come by at least 20 points. That fact right there gives the 'Cats better than a 50 percent chance of covering tonight's spread.

Kentucky Wildcats are also 3-1 ATS this season on the road, in part because the spreads have been a bit more manageable. The Wildcats covered the spread at South Carolina by three points; if that game had been played in Lexington Kentucky would have been favored by at least 15 points, and might not have covered. The 'Cats also covered as five-point favorites at Louisville, winning 58-50. Again, if that had been a home game Kentucky might not have covered.

Missouri was 7-7, but has lost its last five games in a row. Most recently the Tigers lost last Saturday at home to Arkansas 61-60, missing a couple of key free-throws down the stretch.

The Wildcats just destroyed the Tigers 16 days ago 86-37, easily covering as 24-point home favorites. UK held Mizzou to 27 percent shooting that game.

Yes, tonight's side on the NCAA basketball odds is formidable, but it's six points less than the last time these teams met. And Kentucky beat that spread by 25 points. We'll take the big bad 'Cats in this spot, and give the points.

Free College Basketball Pick: Kentucky -18 at BetOnline

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Dayton -2 vs. UMass
The 16-3 Flyers, who have lost two in a row ATS, hit the road for an A-10 match with the 10-9 Minutemen.

Dayton cracked the college basketball rankings last week, then got blown out at Davidson 77-60, whiffing on the spread as a three-point dog. The Flyers then went home last Saturday and beat Richmond 63-60 but couldn't cover as six-point favorites. Before that, though, Dayton had won eight in a row straight-up, going 6-1 ATS. So the Flyers seem perfectly capable of picking up their game, after a couple of iffy performances.

UMass, meanwhile, is only a game over .500, and has lost two of its last three, but is somehow 12-6 ATS on the season. We say “somehow” because we thought the Minutemen had a decent team heading into this season, and even as they've been a slight disappointment, they've still made money.

Last time out, eight days ago, UMass shot just 42 percent from the floor and lost at St. Joe's 62-56.

We missed with a NCAA Basketball pick on Dayton nine days ago against Davidson, so we're looking to get our money back with the Flyers. And this might be a good spot to do it. Dayton hasn't been at its best the last couple of times out, but we could see a bounce-back effort Thursday night. Also, the Flyers are playing on the road, at a very manageable spread, against a team we can't quite figure out.

Free College Basketball Pick: Dayton -1.5 at BookMaker

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