Spoiler Alert : Bet West Virginia +4 Your NCAA Basketball Pick Over Virginia

Willie Bee

Tuesday, December 8, 2015 1:38 PM GMT

Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015 1:38 PM GMT

Virginia is a small favorite on Tuesday's NCAA basketball odds board as the Cavaliers search for their 7th-straight win in a top 20 clash against the West Virginia Mountaineers. 

"Don't ever give up" is the battle cry this week as the college basketball honors the memory of former North Carolina State coach Jim Valvano. The New York City native would definitely be proud of the lineup for tonight's Jimmy V Classic which includes teams from four different conferences and tips with the West Virginia Mountaineers vs. Virginia Cavaliers.

Madison Square Garden is where it all goes down, the Worldwide Leader in Sports beginning its broadcast at 7 PM (ET). The matchup between the Mountaineers and Cavaliers will be followed by the Maryland Terrapins and Connecticut Huskies going at each other.

SBR's live NCAA basketball odds introduced Virginia at 3 point chalk, that spread now at -4 with even a -4½ being spotted. Bookmaker started its total at 137½ before it settled down a little at 136.

Despite being geographic rivals, the Mountaineers and Cavaliers are getting together for the first time in nearly 31 years. That clash came during the first round of the 1985 National Invitation Tournament with the game played on WVU's floor in Morgantown. Virginia clawed out a 56-55 victory to even up the all-time series at eight wins apiece. The Cavs would move on before losing to Tennessee in the Elite Eight round of the tourney.

 

Mountaineers Tops In Forcing Turnovers
There has been a lot of talk about Oklahoma being the top competition for Kansas in the Big 12 this season, the Sooners posting an impressive 78-55 win over Villanova last night out in Hawaii, but don't sleep on Bob Huggins and West Virginia (7-0 straight up, 4-0 against the spread). The Mountaineers have moved up to No. 14 in the AP Poll after not making the top 25 list in the preseason, and sit in the same slot in the latest rankings by the Coaches.

Tuesday marks the fourth neutral-site game West Virginia has played after taking down James Madison in Charleston back in mid-November, then winning the Las Vegas Invitational over Thanksgiving weekend with triumphs against Richmond and San Diego State. The Mountaineers tuned up for this one at home last Saturday, scoring an easy decision vs. Kennesaw State, 87-54. That game didn't make it to the college basketball betting board, and while Huggins was pleased with the dubya, he wasn't happy about his team's performance at the free throw line (15-29).

West Virginia's aggressive defense was on display once again, the Mountaineers forcing the Owls to turn it over 31 times. Huggins' crew leads the country in that column, averaging nearly 23½ per game, setting up the biggest game-within-the-game tonight as Virginia tops the nation is fewest turnovers (7.2).

 

Wahoos Climb To No. 3 In KenPom Ratings
A loss at George Washington earlier this season, Virginia (7-1 SU, 3-3 ATS) favored by 6½ against the Colonials, has apparently served as a wakeup call for the Cavaliers. Tony Bennett's boys have since reeled off six straight wins, covering three of the five games that included NCAA basketball odds.

Three of those wins came in the Charleston Classic where the Cavs handed George Mason an 83-66 loss in the championship game. Virginia was led by Malcolm Brogdon's 21 points as the team shot a season-high 57.1% from the field, sinking 6-of-9 from beyond the arc. The Cavaliers are 16th in the country connecting on just under 50% of their field goal attempts.

They may not have point guard London Perrantes for a third consecutive game as the junior recovers from an appendectomy. Sophomore guard Marial Shayok is expected to play despite suffering a wrist injury in Saturday's 67-52 win vs. William & Mary.

This one comes down to West Virginia's pressure defense against Virginia clogging the middle and keep the Mountaineers from driving the lane and force them to shoot from outside their comfort zone. I like WVU's chances for the outright upset in a close game, which is why I'm taking the points for my free NCAA basketball pick.

NCAA Basketball Pick: West Virginia +4 at Bookmaker

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