November 24, 2015 (4:00 PM ET)
There are two NCAA basketball picks tonight.
1) Take Pepperdine at -4 spread against Murray State for 3% of the bankroll.
The Pepperdine Waves come into this contest off a convincing win over the previously undefeated Duquesne Dukes and look to keep their momentum going tonight against a solid Murray State team. On the season Pepperdine has been averaging 75 points per game this season and a big reason for their offensive success this season is due to the consistent play that they are getting out of Lamond Murray Jr.! He is averaging 18 points and 3 rebounds per game all while shooting 56% from the floor. A key to the Waves success in the early part of the season has been their ability to defend the 3 point line. On the season they are allowing teams to shoot just a paltry 17.5 percent from deep and that may be a big advantage in this game.
Murray State is a solid team and comes into this contest off a somewhat fortunate win over Wisconsin Milwaukee. The Racers went down early and battled back from a 6 point halftime deficit, scoring just 24 points and managed to come away with 66-63 victory. It will be interesting to see how much gas is left in the Racers' tank after such a hard fought second half yesterday. Pepperdine on the other hand jumped out to an early lead in their win over Duquesne and never looked back. They led 36-21 at the half and managed to come away with an 84-70 victory over the previously undefeated Dukes. We believe that Pepperdine will be the 'fresher' and less fatigued team in this contest which could pay dividends in the later stages of this contest.
We believe it's important to note that Murray State has somewhat struggled away from home this season, at least from an offensive standpoint as they are only avaeraging 59 point away from home this season compared to the 74 that they have been averaging at home. Pepperdine is a team whose offense seem to click no matter where they have played this season and we believe that we be the difference in this contest. There is a reason why a 2-2 team is favored over a 3-1 team on a neutral court. With a majority of the public backing the underdog Racers, we believe the public will be left standing with their pockets empty and the Waves are the ones who cash the ticket with a win and cover.
2) Take TCU at +7.5 spread against Rhode Island for 3% of the bankroll.
The perceptions of these two teams are skewed at the moment. The TCU Horned Frogs are coming off what can only be considered an embarrassing campaign last year as they went just 4-12 in conference play last season. That stigma has clearly stuck with this team despite their recent 2-1 record to open the season.
Meanwhile the Rhode Island Rams returned 4 starters from a 23-10 team last season led by EC Matthews who was averaging 16.9 points per game last season and appeared poised to potentially make a run at the conference title and a deep run in the NCAA tournament at the end of the season. That all changed however as Matthews torn his ACL in the season opener and will be out for the remainder of the season. That is a huge blow for a Rhode Island team that is still looking to find its identity without their unquestioned leader.
These two teams couldn't have had more different performances in their last outings on the court as the Rams came away with a resounding win over Cleveland State in which their defense held them to just 42 points. Meanwhile the Horned Frogs are coming off a loss to South Dakota State, which is a talented team this season yet is still viewed as a much smaller known program. These perceptions have no doubt skewed the line and the betting public has been jumping all over the Rams in this contest. The line has even been pushed up an extra couple of points which we believe has now opened up value on the Horned Frogs.
Rhode Island is no doubt the perceived better team in this contest; however we don't believe that they can get away with sleeping on TCU. The Horned Frogs are a better team than they were last season and after such a tough campaign last year, we believe they are ready to prove their doubters wrong. TCU is a big team down low and they should be able to use their size and bully their way into the paint in this contest. Rhode Island will likely be able to eventually find their way without Matthews in the lineup; however we believe it is still too early in the season to completely rely on this team, especially when laying a generous amount of points. This game is likely to play out closer than expected and we believe the points come into play in this one.
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