Take Pittsburgh For Your NCAA Basketball Picks To Dominate Louisville

Doug Upstone

Thursday, January 14, 2016 12:58 PM UTC

Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016 12:58 PM UTC

It is an ACC confrontation of two Top 25 teams and the NCAA basketball odds reflect. When Pitt & Louisville meet, who will be the one in our NCAA basketball picks?

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Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Pittsburgh +7
Best Line Offered: at BetOnline


This 9:00 Eastern clash on Thursday night will be broadcast on ESPN finds Pittsburgh on a 10-game winning streak (5-3 ATS), with their only defeat of the season at the hands of another ranked team in Purdue 72-59 on Dec.1st. Louisville fell to 13-3 (6-6 ATS) by losing last Sunday at Clemson 66-62 as 6.5-point road favorites, shooting a season-worst 24-68 (35.3%) from the field and after trailing by double digits, started hoisting up three's and was sickly 3 for 23, also the Cardinals worst mark of the year.

Being back home should help Louisville, but this is a different kind of Pittsburgh squad.


Pittsburgh Strong and Passes Eye Test
This is not the kind of club we are used to seeing from coach Jamie Dixon. Most years Pitt (14-1, 6-6 ATS) had really good guards, one wing player who could score and otherwise pounded the ball inside and was more physical than their opponents. That formula worked in the Big East, but in the ACC, the Panthers were too slow and if they could not pummel teams with strength, they were too low on the quickness scale to compete.

Having seen Pittsburgh a couple times, this team can run, shoot and defend at all five positions on the floor. Michael Young is top scorer and rebounder for Pitt (17.5 PPG, and 6.8 rebounds) and he has lots of help with the likes of forward Jamel Artis (16.0, 4.5) and guard James Robinson (10.5, 5.4 assists). If somebody is not having a good game, Dixon has many options on the bench and presently has 11 players seeing 10 or minutes a game. Besides scoring 85.3 PPG, they are the best three throw shooting team in the country at 79.3 percent.


Louisville Has to Feed off Defense
The Cardinals are shooting 49.7% from the field, which is better than recent teams. Rick Pitino's clubs are about playing great defense and creating turnovers, but with a pair of graduate transfers in Damion Lee (16.6) and Trey Lewis(13.4), Louisville has mature guards who understand about taking good shots and placing their teammates in better scoring situations.

Always a strong rebounding team, the Cardinals face a Pittsburgh outfit that knows how to board, but they always held quickness edge and quicker leaping ability, which it does not appear they will this time. The Cardinals have +13 rebound margin advantage, with the Panthers not far behind at +11. Louisville averages 81.9 PPG and has +23.1 scoring margin differential.


What Bettors Need to Know
Louisville is 11-0 at the KFC Yum! Center (4-3 ATS) and has been quite proficient finding the bottom of the net at 52 percent. On the season they are 9-1 and 5-5 ATS as favorites and have won both times following a loss.

This is just Pittsburgh's second true away contest of the season, winning and surviving at Notre Dame 86-82 as 4.5-point underdogs, after leading much of the game by 10 or more points.


What to Expect and Spread Winner
The NCAA basketball odds opened with Louisville as seven-point favorite, with total of 146.5. At first this appears a bit high, but Pitino's crew has won five of six (3-3 ATS) and Pitt does not have much road experience thus far this season.

Dixon's club has a rough year a season, which is why looking at recent angles does not help much. But if you go back to 1997, you find the Panthers 3-12 ATS after two consecutive wins by six points or less, making them potentially undesirable play for NCAA basketball picks.

Nevertheless, this might not be a great matchup this year either for the 'Ville, who is 8-19 ATS versus offensive teams scoring 84 or more points game. If both teams play normally, Pitt with the points is the play, with their ability to connect on free throws, keeping them in the game.

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