Wednesday NCAA Basketball Picks: Pitt VS UConn, NC Tar Heels VS Clemson

Wednesday NCAA Basketball Picks: Kentucky took care of Florida last night, though they needed a strong final few minutes to slam the door, giving me a nice win to start the week. Lets hope that keeps going on Wednesday Night.

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Pittsburgh Panthers @ Connecticut Huskies (-6): The 15th ranked Huskies have struggled a little bit against ranked opponents, losing to Kentucky, Cincinnati, and Georgetown in the last month. But two of those games were on the road, all three losses came by 3 points or less, and one was a loss to the currently undefeated Wildcats. So listen, it’s not as bad as it seems. Plus, the Huskies are 10-0 at home this season, and have won each home contest by at least 8 points. The Huskies have covered each of their last 5 games and still the bettors are 65% in favor of Pittsburgh covering this game. Six points could make this one interesting, but I like the home team to cover here. I think UConn will be too strong for 20th ranked Pittsburgh, and the Panthers undefeated start to the Big East will come to an end.

North Carolina Tar Heels (+3) @ Clemson Tigers: What I see is a Clemson team that struggles when they lost the rebound battle and a Tar Heel team that more often than not wins the rebound battle. I’m not saying it’s all about boards, but that tells me the Tigers struggle against other bigs, and the Heels have a couple very good bigs and a handful of other guys that will give the Tigers trouble size-wise. Clemson hasn’t beaten the Tar Heels for a long time, as I know the Heels have won at least 10 in a row against the Tigers. Deon Thompson should score, but Ed Davis should have a good time eating up the glass.

Kentucky Wildcats vs Clemson Tigers: Music City Bowl

60% of the betting public likes Clemson, and that makes sense. It’s the Tigers that have finished the season with the type of flourish most expected from them all season long. It’s the Tigers that possess one of the most dynamic players in all of college football, running back, kick/punt return, receiving option, super player C.J. Spiller. There’s lots of flash on Clemson’s side, but one might say that Kentucky finished the season just as strong.

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Both teams lost their last game, but Kentucky, like Clemson, won 5 of their last 7 games. Two of those were as double digit underdogs, beating Georgia and Auburn. Kentucky barely lost to Tennessee (overtime), Mississippi State (a touchdown), and South Carolina (2 points). Their other two losses? Alabama and Florida. Kentucky is 6-6 ATS on the season, and 3-1 overall on the road – a nice stat for bowl teams. They score 27.2 per game while giving up 22.8. They are 5-3 ATS and SU in their last 8 games.

Clemson has won 6 of their last 8, but come into the Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl losing two in a row. An embarrassing loss to South Carolina on the road, and a close loss (5 points) to Virginia Tech for the ACC crown. Clemson is 8-5 SU this season, and 8-5 ATS, and 5-3 ATS over their last 8 games.

And taking a decent ACC team over an SEC opponent hasn’t made much sense, but that’s the direction I’m going. Clemson has a solid rushing attack, and when they out-rush opponents, they usually win. Kentucky has been out-rushed 5 times in the last 10 games, they’ve lost 4 of those contests. I think Clemson’s D-line can stifle Kentucky’s rush attack, and that will allow the Tigers to run the show.

Kentucky Wildcats VS Clemson Tigers (-7)

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets vs Clemson Tigers Prediction

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Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets vs Clemson Tigers Prediction: This game has me really nervous after the week’s numbers, and the way the lines have shifted. I got this game on Tuesday back at GT -2.5, and that’s what I have to stick with, but almost every book has this game at even, and the ones that don’t have the Jackets favored by only a point, and there’s even one book that has Clemson favored in the ACC Title game. 64% of the bets are coming in on the Jackets, but the line has moved in the Tigers favor, hmmm…. That’s always tough on a guy like me, I try to think of it all.

Now I can see what there is to like about Clemson. The Tigers are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 conference games, the underdog in this match-up is 13-2 ATS in the last 15 meetings, and the Yellow Jackets are coming off a game where their run game got shut down pretty well by a mediocre Georgia defense. Who has a very good defense? The Tigers, that’s who, up front they are very talented and I can imagine the books see a possible problem for the Jackets there. All they have is a run game, if that’s stopped, they have nothing.

But, Clemson gave up a ton of rushing yards to the Gamecocks last week as well, and I can’t see the Yellow Jackets struggling two weeks in a row on the ground. While the match-up is a good one, a great run game against a great defensive line, I think the Yellow Jackets are just flat out the better team. That gives them the nod in my book.

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (-2.5) @ Clemson Tigers:

Clemson Tigers vs South Carolina Gamecocks NCAA Pick

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Clemson Tigers @ South Carolina Gamecocks (+3) NCAA Pick: Clemson has owned the Gamecocks over the last 7 years, winning 6 of their last 7 meetings, and covering 6 of the last 8 times these two have played. Whether it’s been on the road or at home, the Tigers have flexed their in-state muscle.

But I think this game will be different. It’s not what the Gamecocks have done, but who they’ve played – they are ready for a game against the Tigers. Over the last five weeks of games the Gamecocks have played Florida, Arkansas, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, and Alabama. Now Vandy might not have much to offer, and Tennessee hasn’t won but a handful of games, but those other three are legit, and two of those are probably the best two teams in the Nation. Clemson has one hell of a defensive line, and that has given opposing offenses trouble all year long, but I know South Carolina has seen that kind of defensive front a couple times this year, and that makes me think they’ll be ready for the Tigers.

Getting three points at home is another plus for me here. Getting two weeks to prepare for Clemson is just another bonus. One might say that Clemson finally getting their act together and winning 6 straight coming in is a sign of trouble for South Carolina – but I’d have it no other way. Winning streaks end – and I’m willing to take a South Carolina team that went toe-to-toe with Florida two weeks ago, even though they’ve lost 4 of their 5. They are 5-1 at home, and obviously play their best football there.

Clemson Tigers vs NC State Wolf Pack Free NCAA Pick

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Clemson Tigers (-7) @ NC State Wolf Pack Free NCAA Pick: As I expected, the spread value has moved away from Clemson, not surprising considering the Tigers’ talent and their success of late. It’s now at 8, but I got the Tigers at 7. Thus far, 65% of the public likes Clemson, and I imagine even more of them liked the Tigers as just a touchdown favorites. And get ready, because there’s more than a few methods to my Tiger-on-the-road pick where they are a paltry 1-3 so far this season.

Clemson has lost one pathetic game, getting beat by the Terps in Maryland 21-24. Aside from that, they’ve played pretty solid football against everyone. They’ve beaten Boston College, FSU, Miami, and Wake, those last 3 during their current 4 game winning streak. The Tigers had trouble against the heavy rushing teams they’ve faced this year, TCU, Georgia Tech, and Nebraska – all out-rushed the Tigers and did a solid job stopping the run.

That is not NC State’s offense. They give the ball to their talented QB, Russell Wilson, and they throw the rock. They’ve done so for over 2,500 yards this season, and Wilson has 24 touchdowns through the first 9 games. Clemson has turned to C.J. Spiller and the Tiger rushing attack, and they’ve reaped the benefits of one of the best runners in all the land. Defensively, they do a good job limiting opposing rushing attacks, and put pressure on opposing passers without having to blitz too often.

Lastly, and possibly most important, the Wolf Pack’s injury report has more patients than a high priced Hollywood rehab clinic. Already 10 players have been listed as “out for the season” – they have one more guy that is questionable, and another WR out indefinitely. If they can piece together a roster to stop C.J. Spiller and produce consistent touchdowns against the Tigers’ defense, they deserve to beat my pick.

Wake Forest Demon Deacons vs. Clemson Tigers Pick

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Wake Forest Demon Deacons (+7) @ Clemson Tigers: In the end, I think Clemson has a good chance to get away with a win at home. I mean the home team has gotten the win in 6 of the last 7 seasons, but this game is going to be close. And close means take the points, the value is there. Even if Clemson gets off to an early lead, Skinner has the arm to get his team back in it. If the Deacons get off to a quick lead, Clemson will struggle relying on their passing attack to get back in the game. The nod goes toward the 7 points there. I expect a close game. Another plus for points. The Tigers are good in the trenches, boasting one of the conferences best defensive lines, but their secondary hasn’t been great. A plus for Skinner and his 1600+ yards and 15 touchdowns. Offensively the Tigers have had a tough time getting in the end zone. Riley Skinner has been playing very well of late, and I think he’s enough to cover the full touchdown spread in a game that is often very close. I’ll take the points in this middle of the road ACC match-up.

Week 2 NCAA Picks REVIEW

Week 2 was a little more kind to me with my free college football picks, and while not the back to even come back I was looking for, some good things happened for me early in the week, bringing some wins my way. It wasn’t all gravy though. This is how the wins and losses accumulated to a flat even tie (ugh).

Clemson Tigers (+5.5) @ Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets: (WINNER) Some people are trying to tell me I’m lucky for covering this game… Please, Georgia Tech was lucky to score those early freak touchdowns in the first quarter or they would have had no chance to win this one. Clemson had some really bad luck early, then showed what they were made of by pretty much shutting down the Jackets over the final three quarters. A field goal ended up getting GT the win late, but it was just 3 points, and I won anyway, despite the freak touchdowns on back to back fake field goals. As my good buddy Josh said, “I’ve never seen a team score two touchdowns on back to back fake field goals, and the fact that they were on either side of the ball for each one, that’s just crazy.” Crazy indeed.

Central Michigan Chippewas (+14.5) @ Michigan State Spartans: (WINNER) “I know, I’m nuts, but I like the Chipps to get awfully close to pulling off this upset. I like a lot of what Central Michigan has. I love their QB, the kid is a winner. Central Michigan has either won, or lost by less than 14 points in 19 of their last 20 games. I know the Spartans are solid, but the only team that beat the Chipps by more than two touchdowns last season was Georgia. State isn’t that kind of good.” What can I say, I hit this one right on the chin. I still can’t believe the Chipps won the game. I must admit, I’m a victim of early evacuation in this one, I left the game after the Chipps missed on their two point conversion attempt. But some how, they pulled it off. Obviously the cover wasn’t in question, but it was nice to see Dan and his guys get a win. They didn’t just get awfully close to pulling the upset, they made it happen.

North Carolina (-4) @ Connecticut Huskies: (LOSS) Carolina couldn’t do anything offensively, which really surprises me. This game didn’t look good, but NC found a way to get the win, just not by enough to make me a winner. I’m not sure what to take from this game – I don’t think NC’s offensive attack is that poor and I don’t think UConn’s D is that good – so should I just write this off as an aberration? I’ll look into it. I know that those 12 fourth quarter points shows me a lot about a team in terms of getting a win no matter what.

Stanford Cardinal @ Wake Forrest Demon Deacons (-3): (WINNER) “The Cardinal really struggled on the road last season, tallying their only road win at Washington (and the Huskies didn’t even win one single game). I think that trend continues. I also think the Deacons came out slow last week, and while a late push made that game a game, the couldn’t quite pull it out. One of the sharpest tossers in the game, Riley Skinner, threw three picks last week. He won’t throw one this Saturday, and that should be enough to get Wake Forrest in the win column.” The Cardinals didn’t get a road win. Skinner didn’t throw an interception. But the Deacons got off slow again, but Stanford’s road woes haunted them just enough to let Wake back in it. Down 17-3 at half time, Wake put up 21 unanswered points in the 2nd half, including two touchdowns in the 4th quarter, getting me my 3rd win in four chances.

Syracuse Orange @ Penn State Nittany Lions (-28.5): (LOSS) I don’t know what to say. It was 28-0, but Penn State didn’t score nearly as much as they should have. They gave up a late score to Syracuse, giving me no chance to cover. I should have known that 28.5 was too much. Penn State needs to get stronger running the ball or they’ll be in trouble against big teams.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish (-3) @ Michigan Wolverines: (LOSS) This game was back and fourth, and ND easily could have been the team to pull this one out, but Michigan’s freshmen were dynamic, tough nosed, and stepped up really big to take out the Irish. I must say, I haven’t been happier about a loss in my picks. This whole “Irish undefeated” talk, or “ND to a BCS Bowl Game” jazz was making me a little sick to my stomach. Now we can let that crap die.

East Carolina Pirates (+6.5) @ West Virginia Mountaineers: (LOSS) After being down just 21-20 at half time, I liked my chances with the Pirates – however, despite plenty of opportunity, they just couldn’t put up points in the second half while West Virginia’s two touchdowns were plenty to hand me my third loss in a row.

BYU Cougars (-17.5) @ Tulane Green Wave: (WINNER)  “I don’t like that over 75% of the bets are taking BYU. I don’t like that BYU pulled a huge upset over #3 Oklahoma last weekend. I don’t like a lot of things about this. But one of the most important don’t likes just happens to be how I feel about the Tulane Green Wave football team. I’m not sure if BYU will have their stud RB Unga back, but they should find running the ball a lot easier this week. They win this game by 3 touchdowns or more. That’s a cover.” 54-3… Like I said, there were lots of things I didn’t like about this game, but my feelings for Tulane trumped all that “sharp” stuff and I took the heavily favored Cougs. Good move on my part, huh? I must say, I was a little worried when BYU was up just 3-0 after 1… But I was pretty sure of the cover up 17 at half time. The Cougs are pretty solid.

Hawaii Rainbow Warriors (-2) @ Washington State Cougars: (WINNER) “Fade east of the mountains in Washington State. What can I say, after the passion the Huskies played with last week, I can’t say, fade Washington State teams anymore, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t fade THE Washington State team.” That’s all that needs to be said, unless a really heavy line in the Cougs favor shows up, you can bet your dollar that they’ll be in my Top 10 picks section next time they play. What a brutal program right now.

Oregon State Beavers (-7) @ UNLV Running Rebels: (LOSS) Up 20-7 after three, I thought I had this one pretty well in the bag. Rodgers was running all over the Rebels, just like I expected, and the Beavers were doing just enough through the air to take advantage of all the Rebel’s attention to the run. Then all of a sudden the game had changed, and UNLV was up one. A last second field goal kept the Beavers in the win column, but that didn’t do much for me, as an Oregon State loss put me at 5-5 for Week 2. Better than last week but still not good enough. Taking the next step next week!