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A smaller slate than usual this evening, but 2 games have caught Joey Ruiz's eye. The first is high profile Big East matchup between UConn and Xavier and the second is a game out of the MAC between Akron and Kent State.

College Basketball Picks: 2 Best Bets for Friday's Games

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Xavier vs. Connecticut - 7:00 pm ET

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Uconn has been a very solid team this year and I think they have a shot to make a deep tournament run. They have everything you need to win big games. They've got experience, size, toughness, perimeter shooting, and more importantly they just seem to have that grit factor that a lot of teams lack. In this game they will be going up against a solid Xavier team but surprisingly Xavier has struggled at home this season, especially in Big East play. They are 0-6 ATS at home in Big East play and were favorites in all of those games as well. Considering Xavier is a small 1-point favorite that means Uconn would essentially be a 3.5/4-point favorite on a neutral court, and I think the home court advantage factor has moved this line way too much. Uconn has been an excellent defensive team this year as they rank 40th overall in adjusted defensive efficiency, 14th in defensive effective field goal percentage, and 5th in the country in defensive 2-point percentage. Defense travels and I expect a very solid effort from Uconn in this one. I usually take 1H plays but Uconn has started slow in some road games this season so I am rolling with Uconn +1.5 -110 (Bet365).

Xavier vs. UConn Pick

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Xavier vs. UConn Line Movement

Akron vs. Kent State - 7:00 pm ET

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Who doesn't love to bet on the MAC? Tonight, we get a somewhat high-profile MAC game between Akron and Kent State on ESPN2 as both teams are still in the hunt for the regular season MAC championship. Kent State took down Akron earlier this year at home in a fairly impressive 12-point win. Now Akron is back at home where they have played very well going 10-1 on the season with their only loss coming to Ohio who is currently 1st in the standings. I think this is a perfect revenge spot for Akron and I expect Akron to play much better offensively compared to how they did in their first meeting against Kent St.

One thing that Akron does really well is draw fouls and get to the free-throw line. They are ranked 17th in the country in highest foul rate drawn and Kent St is ranked 287th in the country in highest defensive foul rate so I expect Akron to take advantage at the free-throw line. Kent St has also struggled on offense as they are just 241st overall in adjusted offensive efficiency, 239th in offensive effective field goal percentage, and 313th in 3-point shooting as a team. Those numbers should go down even more playing in a hostile environment against a highly motivated team, so I expect the Zips to get it done tonight. Akron similarly to Xavier, has struggled at home particularly in the 1H of their home games and are more of a 2H team so with that being said I am rolling with Akron ML at -140.

Akron vs. Kent State Line Movement

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Article Author


Joey has spent the last 6+ years betting on sports with a focus on basketball and baseball. Basketball is his main focus, and not many people know more about mid-major basketball than him. Whether you need advice on a Saturday night primetime game or a Tuesday night back-alley SWAC/MEAC game, Joey is your man.


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