Thursday's Top Two NCAAB Underdog Plays Come Straight From Iowa

Texas-Arlington Mavericks

Charles Stark

Thursday, December 7, 2017 2:18 PM GMT

Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017 2:18 PM GMT

Thursday night NCAA action takes us to Iowa where Northern Iowa host Texas Arlington and Iowa travels to Iowa State. Odds makers have made both home teams five-point favorites in these matchups, but is there value in backing the road dogs?

Iowa vs Iowa State

Both teams seem to be a little bit down from last year with Iowa coming in at 4-5 on the season, and Iowa State sitting at 5-2, with not playing much competition. Fran McCaffrey’s squad comes in losing three in a row to Virginia Tech, Penn State, and Indiana but for my NCAA pick I’m going to back Iowa to go ahead and stay within the number. Despite losing their best player Iowa returns some decent starters and should be able to take this game to the wire. The Cyclones are on a five-game winning streak after dropping their first two of the year with a really nice win over Boise State. However, I think there some question marks for them defensively as they currently rank outside the top half of all NCAA teams in opponent shooting efficiency, as well as allowing opponents to shoot 36.8% from distance which ranks them 234th in the country. Their marquee win on the year was versus that Broncos team, but they got a little bit fortunate considering Boise State’s best player, and arguably the best player in the league Chandler Hutchinson, got hurt and sat out most of the game. Iowa statistically haven’t been bad on either side of the ball shooting 47% while allowing opponents to shoot just 42.7%. Look for this game to go to the buzzer.

Free NCAAB Pick: Iowa +6.5Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker

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UT Arlington vs Northern Iowa

I really like this UT Arlington team and I am actually a little bit surprised they are this big of underdogs at Northern Iowa. Ben Jacobson does a fantastic job for the Panthers and they are definitely tough to beat at home but for my NCAA pick I will back UT Arlington plus the points. This is an extremely well coached team with a good core back that plays really solid defense. Northern Iowa looks to be a little bit under the radar and they have had a very tough schedule so far this season beating Southern Methodist, NC State, and UNLV, while losing to just North Carolina and Villanova. They showed a lot of character in their last game beating UNLV in overtime. Currently Northern Iowa is allowing opponents to shoot 38.7% while Texas Arlington is allowing 39.7% ranking them 32nd and 42nd in the country respectively. Offensively Texas Arlington definitely has the better statistics shooting 49.6% compared to Northern Iowa at 43.9%, but there is a disparity as to the strength of schedule so far this season which skews these numbers. At the end of the day with a tough defensive battle most likely to occur, I will grab the points.

Free NCAAB Pick: Texas Arlington +5Best Line Offered: at Youwager

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