betJACK Best Bets: NCAA Basketball December 20
As we approach the Christmas holiday, let’s take a look at our best bets to put a little more cash in your stocking!
Mississippi State (-5) at Drake
I anticipate tonight will be a real dogfight between the undefeated and 15th ranked Bulldogs of Mississippi State and the Drake Bulldogs (don’t worry, my daughter didn’t laugh either).
Mississippi State has held opponents to an average of 52.1 points per game this season (third best in NCAA) while Drake is only scoring 64 points per game over their last four outings. I expect this to be a low scoring, tight contest at the half, with Bulldogs from Starkville pulling away in the second half to stay undefeated.
Give me Mississippi State -5. (Mississippi State 68, Drake 60)
Duke (-7) at Wake Forest
Tonight will be the Blue Devils first road (and ACC) test of the season. Duke enters this contest riding a four-game winning streak and have won three straight by double digits.
The Blue Devils have shown great consistency on both ends of the floor (Pomeroy No. 18 rated offense; No. 22 rated defense) and seem to be trending up.
The Demon Deacons seem to be heading in the opposite direction. Wake has lost three of four including bad blowout losses to Clemson and Rutgers. Their non-conference strength of schedule has been below average and it’s not going to get any easier heading into conference play.
Give me Duke -7. (Duke 76, Wake Forest 65)
Virginia vs. Miami Florida Over 131
Sticking with the ACC, the sixth ranked Virginia Cavaliers head down to Coral Gables to take on the 11-1 Miami Hurricanes. UVA was a long shot (+5000) we highlighted in our season long preview, and they have not disappointed. However, it has been the offense carrying this usually defensive-led squad.
Miami has also been carried by its ability to score in bunches, and Ken Pom has them rated as his No. 12 team in terms of offensive efficiency. I expect this to be a shootout and go well over the line of 131. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this line get bumped a point or two as the day goes on.
Give me the over (UVA 70, Miami 69) in a close game that very well may end up in overtime.
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