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UCLA vs. Kentucky Pick NCAA Hoops – Dec 20th + Bonus Pick

St. John’s left us hanging last night with a missed free throw with seconds off the clock that would have netted us a push. Instead, it’s a stinging one-point loss. Meanwhile, Arizona went one of two on the line with seconds to go to earn us a push but fail to grab the win. As John Calipari can tell you, missed free throws can cost you big time. Fortunately for us, it only cost one winning wager as opposed to a National Championship – but it is frustrating nonetheless.

Today is a nice full slate of action with plenty of good games to choose from, so let’s get back on track and start the weekend off with a few winners.

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Today’s Free Picks:

UCLA Bruins at Kentucky Wildcats -15.5 (Total: 139.5)

Want a sign a team is as feared as any in recent college basketball memory? This game is hyped as a good game and one of Kentucky’s sternest tests along their quest for perfection… and they are favored by fifteen and a half points.

The point is, Vegas knows no one can touch this Wildcat team if they play at 80% of their potential. They have slept through some mid-major (and even low-major) contests and won by low double digits. They have beaten Kansas and Texas and North Carolina by double digits. There’s a really good chance they will beat UCLA by double digits as well. However 15.5 is a really tough number for me to pull the trigger on – it’s just big enough that a ‘clean the bench’ backdoor cover situation is certainly in play.

However, I don’t think many baskets will be in play for the Bruins tonight. Cody Alford is going to get swallowed up by the Harrison twins and Kentucky’s enormous length inside will be way too much for UCLA to contend with. Kentucky has held all but two opponents this year under 51 points, including Kansas and Texas. Points will be at a premium for UCLA. Even if they notch 60, that would require UK to put up 80 to get over the total. That seems like too much of a reach, so I’ll take the UNDER and expect a relatively comfortable winner.

Free Pick: Point TOTAL UNDER 139.5

 

Bonus Pick: Purdue Boilermakers vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish -3.5

Notre Dame is a single point at Providence away from being unbeaten including wins over Michigan State and Florida State. The Irish are one of the most efficient teams in the nation shooting 56.3% led by Zach Augustine at over 65%. Jerian Grant is back from last year’s suspension and is playing like a darkhorse ACC Player of the Year candidate. He is averaging 19.8 ppg and 6 assists and has finally emerged as the assertive offensive player he only showed flashes of several years ago.

Grant will be the best player on the floor by leaps and bounds, and I expect him to lead the Irish to a comfortable win today in Indy. Purdue started the year stronger than expected, raising meager expectations slightly, but recent losses to North Florida and Vanderbilt has reminded everyone this team is still a bottom tier Big Ten squad. Look for the Irish to roll.

Free Pick: Notre Dame -3.5