Tough Defensive Battle with Close NCAA Basketball Odds

Darin Zank

Thursday, January 15, 2015 12:53 PM GMT

Two teams separated by a close spread in NCAA Basketball odds meet when Cincinnati visits Memphis for an AAC bout Thursday night. Do we go with the home dog for our free college basketball pick? 

Bearcats-Tigers Betting Odds
As of early Thursday morning bettors who liked Cincinnati could get the 'Cats at a pick 'em at Pinnacle, while those who liked Memphis could get the Tigers at +1 at YouWager.

 

Bearcats-Tigers: Background
Cincy went 27-7 last season and made the National Championship again, but only returned two starters this season. However, it is thought there is enough talent to make a fifth-straight Big Dance appearance.

Cincinnati started 5-0 this season, beating nobody of note, then lost to Ole Miss 66-54 as a two-point favorite. The Bearcats also lost to Nebraska, but covered as five-point dogs, beat San Diego State in overtime and covered as two-point favorites, but then lost at home to VCU 68-47, whiffing on the spread as two-point home dogs. Cincy then won four straight, knocking off both North Carolina State and SMU as betting underdogs, but last time out, last Saturday, the 'Cats fell at UConn 62-56, just missing the cover as five-point dogs.

Cincinnati shot just 40 percent from the floor Saturday, while allowing the Huskies to shoot 46 percent.

Memphis, meanwhile, also only returned two starters this season, from a team that went 24-10 and made it to the second round of the NCAA tournament last year. But the Tigers also stand a good chance of returning to the Big Dance.

Memphis started 3-4 this season, with losses to Wichita State, Baylor, Stephen F. Austin (?) and Oklahoma State. The Tigers then won five in a row, including an AAC victory over Houston, but then lost consecutive games to Tulane and SMU. Last time out, though, last Sunday, Memphis beat the Cougars again, this time in Houston 62-44. The Tigers only shot 43 percent from the field Sunday, but held the Cougars to 33 percent shooting and covered as five-point road favorites.

We include this game in today's top NCAA Basketball Picks ATS.

Bearcats-Tigers Key Stats
Cincy is shooting just under 44 percent from the field this season, which is almost respectable, but it's also shooting just 29.5 percent from 3-point land and 68 percent from the FT line. However, the Bearcats are also holding opponents to just 38 percent FG shooting.

Memphis is shooting 44 percent from the floor, 34 percent from long range and 69 percent from the line. The Tigers are also limiting foes to just 38 percent FG shooting, and 26 percent from beyond the arc.

 

Bearcats-Tigers Recent History
This is the first meeting between the teams this season. Last season Cincy swept two games from Memphis, by scores of 69-53 and 97-84. The Bearcats won the first game outright as five-point road dogs, then covered the second game as six-point home favorites in NCAA basketball odds.

 

Bearcats-Tigers Betting Trends
Cincy is 4-3 on the totals this season, as Bearcats games have averaged just 117 points.

Memphis is 4-7 on the totals, as Tigers games have averaged 128 points.

 

Bearcats-Tigers Free Pick
This is a very even match-up; both teams are having a little trouble throwing the ball in the hole, but both teams are pretty good at keeping opponents from doing the same. Honestly, we're not sure who's going to win this game. But in thinking this might turn into a tough defensive battle we'll go with the UNDER for our free NCAA Basketball pick in this spot.