Underdog Selections That Offer Betting Value to Your NCAA Basketball Picks on Thursday

Darin Zank

Thursday, December 17, 2015 6:55 PM GMT

NCAA Basketball offers a limited betting slate for Thursday night, but this handicapper believes at least a couple of teams should be on alert for the upset bug.

Milwaukee Ripe Against Coyotes?
UW-Milwaukee, which pulled a nice upset of its own recently, hosts South Dakota, a team that's already pulled off three upsets this season.

The Panthers pulled an in-state surprise last week on Wisconsin, coming back to beat the Badgers in Madison 68-67. UWM trailed by 11 at the half, but battled back, took its first lead with just over two minutes to go and held on from there, winning that game outright as 12-point dogs.

But as they say, what comes around, goes around.

The Coyotes, meanwhile, lost three of their first four games this season, then won five games in a row, including a 96-90 victory over Sacramento State as a six-point underdog, a 77-71 victory over Eastern Washington at +3 and an 85-81 triumph at Minnesota in double-overtime 12 days ago. On that night the Coyotes outshot the Big Ten's Gophers from the floor 47 percent to just 35 percent.

Last time out, last Saturday, South Dakota lost at home to Cal State-Bakersfield 77-67, allowing the Roadrunners to shoot a hot 53 percent.

On the season the Coyotes are shooting nearly 49 percent from the field, and 39 percent from 3-point range.

South Dakota looms as dangerous because it can throw the ball in the hole at a pretty good rate. And Milwaukee is allowing opponents to shoot almost 46 percent from the floor on the season. If the Panthers aren't careful they could become upset victims themselves.

Finally, USD just beat UWM last December 84-60 in Vermillion.

As of this writing 5Dimes was giving the Coyotes 8.5 points on the NCAA Basketball odds, while Bookmaker was giving South Dakota +345 on its college basketball moneyline.

NCAA Basketball Pick: South Dakota +345

Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker

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Another Shocker out West?
Out West Coast way tonight USC plays host to an up-and-down Cal Poly team that might be due for an up.

The Trojans have won three games in a row, albeit against Santa Barbara, Idaho and most recently Yale. USC opened this season with five straight victories, then lost back-to-back games to Xavier and Monmouth.

Southern Cal is trying to make a jump, after going 12-20 last season. The Trojans are young, but they did return basically the entire roster from a year ago.

The Mustangs, meanwhile, returned three starters this season from a team that went 13-16 last year. Cal Poly opened this season with losses to UNLV and UCLA, but covered both games, at +6 and +7. The 'Stangs then won four games in a row, and since have alternated wins and losses. Last time out this handicapper took a chance on Cal Poly, and got burned, as the Mustangs got blown out by St. Mary's 93-63, whiffing on the spread at +8.

Cal Poly shot just 42 percent from the floor Monday night, while allowing the Gaels to shoot a hot-hot 60 percent.

However, games like that sometimes set teams up for “bounce-back” plays their next times out, and that's why were gambling on Poly with our NCAA Basketball picks.

The Mustangs are shooting almost 45 percent this season, and 40 percent from 3-point range. So we're expecting them to go a little better than four-for-13 from long range, like they did the other night.

If it can play a little defense and hold its own on the boards Cal Poly could pull the upset in this spot.

As of this writing Heritage was giving the Mustangs nine points on the spread, while 5Dimes was giving them +375 on its moneyline.

NCAA Basketball Pick: Cal Poly +375 

Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes  

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