Valuable Underdogs in Sunday's NCAA Basketball Picks

Joe Catalano

Sunday, December 7, 2014 3:03 PM GMT

The betting public is intelligent to know that there are a handful of NCAA Basketball games going on today, including some where the odds makers are a little off the mark. Here are our favorite picks.

E. Kentucky (4-2) vs. #1 Kentucky (8-0)
We've all heard the stories that the Wildcats bench players are as good as any starting 5 in the NCAA and after 8 games, they appear to be true. Although the Colonels have won 4 out of their first 6 games, the Wildcats are a huge 27 point betting favorite in this game's NCAAB odds and the Colonels are a team that averages 81.2 points per game. Can Kentucky show their dominance and cover the number once again?

 

A Defeat is a Victory?
In their last game, the E. Kentucky Colonels proved that they can compete with one of the better teams in collegiate basketball in the Valparaiso Crusaders as they were defeated by Valpo, 72-66. In this game, the Colonels were outplayed in almost every statistical category and had still had a chance to win the game; That says a lot.

The Colonels will rely heavily on the offense of guard Corey Walden. For the season, Walden is averaging over 18 points per game, has 4.6 assists, and 3.2 steals per game. This is just the type of player needed to combat the depth of Kentucky as Walden can play both ends of the court. I look for him to shine against the number 1 team in the country.

The one thing that E. Kentucky has going for them in this game is their depth. A team with a lack of depth won't last against the Wildcats and although I think Kentucky should handle the Colonels in this game, the 27 points seems to be a lot to cover, especially during garbage time with meaningless points. Efficient shooters such as Timmy Knipp (45.8% from 3-point range) and Eric Stutz, could possibly make this game respectable.

 

Best In the Country
Kentucky is coming off of a game in which they handed the 6th ranked Texas Longhorns a double digit loss. Willie Cauley-Stein led the way with 21 points and 12 rebounds. It's almost laughable that Kentucky's leading scorer is Dakari Johnson at 10.4 points per game, but playing time is limited as the Wildcats have to get so many talented players on the court in a 40 minute time period. 

Look for Kentucky to win and the Colonels to keep their dignity against the number 1 team in the nation.

Free NCAA Basketball Pick: E. Kentucky +27 at 5 Dimes

 

#13 San Diego State (6-1) vs. Washington (6-0)

Stifling Defense
Washington will get their chance at home as this is a San Diego State Aztecs team that thrives off of their defensive play, allowing just 55.3 points per game, but aren't a very good team offensively. In order to be the ultimate winner as a team, you have to have equal balance and this might come back to bite Steve Fisher's club in the end.

 

No Fab 5 
Most of us know that Coach Fisher coached the famed Fab 5 in the early 1990's, but now he's dealing with the opposite; a team that wins off of their defensive play.

The Aztecs are averaging just 42.1% from the field and just 62.9% from the free throw line. The Aztecs could be a bit overrated as they shot just 37.3% from the field and committed more turnovers than the San Diego Torenos as the Aztecs went on to get the victory, 57-48. The Aztecs have no real go to guy as Winston Shepard leads the team in scoring at 10.7 points and 5.3 rebounds per game, but up until this point, their defense has been dominant and in essence, that counts as points.

The Aztecs face a Washington Huskies team, which has had a weak early schedule, but was tested in their last game; a 68-65 win over UTEP.

I've talked about him before and guard Nigel Williams-Goss gives the Huskies that Jason Kidd type of play. He can't shoot efficiently, but he can do everything else well and make players on his team better than they actually are.

On the season, Williams-Goss is averaging 14.7 points, 7.5 assists, and 5.5 rebounds per game. He's also coming off of a couple of strong offensive efforts. This is the type of player that makes guys like Shawn Kemp Jr. better and I expect that to happen against an Aztec group that can't hit the side of a barn with a basketball.

Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Washington +1.5 at 5 Dimes