Trio of College Basketball Picks For Sunday Nov. 12th

Jay Pryce

Sunday, November 12, 2017 1:58 PM UTC

Sunday, Nov. 12, 2017 1:58 PM UTC

A couple of Cinderella candidates invade the SEC as Vermont takes on No. 5 Kentucky and Bucknell travel to Arkansas. Check out our NCAAB picks on these matchups, as well as the Cal-Poly-Cal clash here.

Vermont at No. 5 Kentucky (-13.5)

It is experience versus youth as Vermont rolls into Rupp Arena with the core four players that led it to a 29-6 record, American East Conference title, and NCAA Tournament appearance last season. It’s up against the newest crop of one-and-done talent to fill out blue blood Kentucky, eager to show their worth after rallying from a slow start on Friday to top Utah Valley 73-63 in the season opener.  Our money is on the Wildcats shooting better than the 39.4 percent from the floor they slumped to last time out.

The Catamounts have won 20-plus contests in each of the last nine seasons. They have tipped off double-digit road underdogs six times in this span, going 4-2 ATS. In 2013, they narrowly missed upsetting Duke as 26.5-point pups 91-90 at Cameron Indoor. In three other contests (Providence, Florida, and Butler) versus traditional powerhouse leagues, Vermont lost by 21, 24, and 12, covering the spread in one. The last two games (Harvard, Cleveland State) were against mid-major programs; the Catamounts kept the final score under 7 points. 

Here’s a little history lesson: Kentucky is 82-10 SU (49-42-1 ATS) at Rupp Arena under head coach John Calipari. All 10 losses have come against teams representing the SEC, ACC, Pac-12, Big East, and Big 12. The Cats are 65-0 SU otherwise. When laying less than 20 points in any of the latter matchups, they are 6-2 ATS, covering a -13.8 average line by 7.2 points per game. Pick Kentucky to use superior athleticism and skill to top the -13.5 difference here by a handful of buckets.

Free NCAAB Pick: Kentucky Wildcats -13.5Best Line Offered: 5Dimes

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Cal Poly at California (-7)

Cal Poly returns three starters and eight letterwinners from last year’s squad that went 11-20 SU and 10-17 ATS. The Mustangs have committed fewer turnovers (9.62) than any program in the nation over the last five years, but it has not equated to winning. They last finished with a record better than .500 in 2012. Cal Poly has played 10 road contests in Pac-12 venues during this time, going winless and covering just three against the spread. It’s tipping off 13.9-point pups in this spot with a -17.3 average margin.

Cal sees new head coach Wyking Jones return just two significant contributors to a team that went 21-13 SU with a first-round NIT departure in 2016. It fields seven freshmen and its five top scorers from last year are gone. Media polls project the Golden Bears will finish second from the bottom in the hyper-competitive Pac-12 standings. The ingredients appear ripe for a rare Big West win over the Goliath conference, but we’re not buying in. Jones runs a full-court press and is defense-oriented. The Bears will rattle the visitors and cover an 8.5-point spread.

Free NCAAB Pick: California +7Best Line Offered: Pinnacle

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Bucknell at Arkansas (-9)

Bucknell is the Patriot League preseason favorite, returning its nine top scorers from a team that danced following a 26-9 SU record. Included are the conference’s two best players: Zach Thomas (15.9 ppg, 6.6 rpg) and Nana Foulland (15.0 ppg, 7.8 rpg). It lost its 2017 season opener 79-78 to Monmouth on Friday, but don’t let it fool you, this is as Cinderella a team as any in the nation. Twice the Bisons tipped off double-digit underdogs in 2016, winning at Vanderbilt outright by a trey (75-72, +12) and losing to West Virginia in the Round of 64 by 6 points (86-80, +13.5). Gobble up the 9 points for your college basketball picks; this clash in Arkansas will likely stay in the single-digit realm. 

Free NCAAB Pick: Arkansas -9Best Line Offered: Heritage

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