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December 15, 2016

There are two college picks tonight.

#1: Take Central Florida +3.5 spread against George Washington for 3% of the bankroll.

The UCF Knights had their four-game winning streak snapped with a poor performance in a 58-49 loss to Pennsylvania on Monday night. UCF shot a terrible 32.7% from the field and went 5 for 18 from three-point range in the defeat. It was by far the worst performance by the Knights this season and we fully expect them to bounce back tonight in a big way.

The Knights have struggled somewhat on the offensive side of the ball this season, especially with their leading scorer, B.J. Taylor set to miss the remainder of their non-conference schedule, however, they do have an advantage on the offensive side of the ball than no team has been able to figure out and that is Tacko Fall. Fall is the tallest player in all of Division I, standing at 7-foot-6 and uses his size to absolutely hammer the glass. Fall is grabbing an impressive 13.1 rebounds per contest and also leads the nation with a phenomenal 83% field goal percentage. His ability to dominate the paint will be the key for the Knights to have success against George Washington tonight.

As impressive as Fall has been, it has been the play of the Knights players on defense that has been the shining point of this team. The Knights have played phenomenal defense, conceding an average of only 55.3 points per game, good for second in the country. Given their impressive ability to keep opposing teams off the scoreboard, they naturally rank first in the country in opposing field goal percentage as teams are shooting just an average of 31% from the field. Given that the Colonials have struggled on the offensive side of the ball already this season (40%), we expect they will have a hard time scoring on what has been a locked down defensive unit.

Given their poor performance their last time out, we expect the Knights players to come into this game motivated and go to a game plan which they know can't be stopped and that is getting the ball into the hands of Fall. This will be a low scoring, defensive affair which plays directly into the game plan of UCF and we expect them to walk out of DC with the outright victory. Even if they happen to fall short, given the defensive nature of this contest the free points have a ton of value.

#2: Take Mississippi -10 spread (buy half a point) against Murray State for 3% of the bankroll.

There is no question that both the Murray State Racers and Ole Miss Rebels are teams that like to stretch the floor and get out and run. Both have extremely potent offenses that are capable of lighting up the scoreboard and both seem to share the same dislike for playing defense. This should certainly be an entertaining offensive affair, but one that we believe is going to severely favor the Rebels.

While these two teams are similar in many ways, Ole Miss has the much more talented squad. They have also played the much tougher competition to date and that is going to play a factor in tonight’s matchup. Murray State has a terrible track record in non-conference games going 0-5 ATS in their last 5 and just 2-8 ATS when facing a team from the SEC. Where Murray State has excelled at times has been with their transition game. They prefer to play in transition as it negates and shortcomings that they have with their inside-out game. The problem in this matchup is that Ole Miss has a terrific inside-outside game with Deandre Burnett and Sebastian Saiz. Burnett is averaging 20 points per game while Saiz is averaging a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds per contest. Those are just two of 4 players who are currently averaging in double figures on the season. Ole Miss is simply potent from everywhere on the floor. 

When their transition game hasn't been working, the Racers have relied heavily on the 3-ball and that is going to be another deciding factor in tonight's game. If the Racers are able to hit their 3-point shot, it will likely allow them to stay close on the scoreboard, however, if their shot is not falling, playing on the road against a much more talented team, it could cause the Racers to fall into a hole too big to dig themselves out of. The Rebels are the bigger overall team and should have an advantage on the boards. We simply see them too talented and dominant in the areas where the Racers are weak that they should be able to pull away for a convincing victory. This game may be close for a while, but the Rebels talent will allow them to create separation on the scoreboard and come away with the win and cover.

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