In a big game in the ACC Virginia will host Louisville tonight. Although Virginia is the better team, tonight I'll go with Louisville as my NCAA basketball pick.
Louisville vs. Virginia Betting Odds
Most college basketball odds we checked with Saturday morning opened this game with Virginia favored by seven points; in the early betting many shops then dropped the Cavs to -6.5.
Louisville vs. Virginia: A New Rivalry
Virginia started 19-0 this season, then coughed up a late lead and lost at home to Duke last Saturday 69-63, going down as a five-point home favorite. The Cavs led that game by five late, but gave up the last 11 points. But the Wahoos bounced back Monday night and won at North Carolina 75-64, covering as one-point road favorites.
Virginia broke open a close game halfway through the second half Monday night, led by 16, and never allowed the Heels to get closer than nine points from there. The Cavs shot 52 percent from the floor, and committed just eight turnovers, while holding Carolina to 45 percent shooting.
Louisville, meanwhile, has won four straight, after beating Miami Tuesday night 63-55. Just before that the Cardinals came from way back to beat North Carolina in overtime; and just before that they won back-to-back conference road games, at Pitt and BC.
Louisville jumped out to a 19-6 lead on the Hurricanes Tuesday night, let that lead shrink to three late in the second half but hung on for the win and the cover as five-point favorites on the road. The Cardinals shot 48 percent from the floor, and held Miami to 34 percent shooting.
Last Saturday Louisville trailed the Tar Heels by 18 early in the second half, then rallied for the win and the unlikely cover as five-point home chalk.
So in the bigger picture, Virginia, at 8-1 in conference play, is basically tied for the lead in the ACC with Notre Dame, while Louisville lurks in third place at 7-2. But these teams are also playing for good seeding in the upcoming NCAA Tournament.
This is the first meeting between these teams in 25 years; they meet again in exactly one month in Louisville.
Louisville - Virginia Key Stats
Louisville is shooting only 44 percent from the field this season, 31 percent from 3-point range and 66 percent from the free-throw line. At the other end of the floor the Cardinals are holding foes to just 37 percent shooting.
Virginia is shooting 47 percent from the floor, 39 percent from long range and 74 percent from the line, while limiting opponents to just 36 percent shooting.
Louisville - Virginia Betting Trends
Louisville is 9-9 on the totals this season, as Cardinals games have averaged 132 points.
Virginia is 7-8 on the totals, as Cavs games have averaged 119 points.
Louisville - Virginia Free Pick
Virginia is the better team, but this spread is probably inflated by a bucket or so. The Cavs might very well win this game, and they could cover with free throws at the end, but we believe the betting value resides with the 'Ville. So figuring points might come at a premium tonight we'll take the underdog Cardinals with out NCAA Basketball picks.
Free College Basketball Pick: Louisville +7 at Pinnacle