Notre Dame vs. North Carolina Pick NCAA – Jan 5th + Bonus Pick

Bad beats happen, and they sting; especially when you are posting picks in a public forum every single day for five years – there’s no place to hide when you inevitably swing and miss now and again. SO I think it’s only fair to offer up a thanks to the gambling gods for a few freebies the last two nights. I enter today on a two-game NCAA winning streak after a pair of sizable favorites covered but needed overtime to do so. Those are bail out wins, I readily admit it and I’m grateful. Thank you gambling gods. Thank you…

OK, with our alms paid, let’s move forward and see if we can notch a winner or two with a little more breathing room. There’s a few games I really like on an awesome Monday slate of college hoops, so let’s dive in and see if we can keep the good times rolling.

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Today’s Free Picks:

Indiana Hoosiers at Michigan State Spartans -9

I like Tom Izzo too. But if you buy that Sparty is ten points better than just about anyone in the Big Ten right now, you are living on reputation and hype. This year’s MSU team just isn’t that good right now. They lack a go-to scorer and they aren’t big and physical on the perimeter like they were with Gary Harris and company. They have lost against nearly every legitimate opponent they have faced. They played tough, close games, but lost nonetheless.

Michigan State has also lost two of their last three home games; a tough overtime tilt to a good Maryland team and a bad loss to Texas Southern. They’ve lost some tough close games, Notre Dame in overtime, Kansas by just five – so they haven’t embarrassed themselves, but they aren’t hammering people either. Indiana is a solid ball club with an explosive backcourt. I think they can score enough points to hang with Sparty tonight. They may not win outright but I think they keep it close. I’ll take Blackmon and Ferrell to score enough to cover.

Free Pick: Indiana Hoosiers +9

Notre Dame Fighting Irish at North Carolina Tar Heels -8.5

This is another high profile program laying a ton of points hosting a team that might be every bit as better than they are. Notre Dame struggled this weekend, needing two overtimes to beat Georgia Tech at home, but perhaps they were looking ahead a bit to tonight’s big showdown on ESPN.

North Carolina played about as well against Kentucky as anyone else has, despite a double-digit loss. They are playing good basketball and have covered five straight games. I like them to win at home. But I am not willing to lay this many points. Notre Dame has covered three of their last four games and absolutely hammered Purdue and Florida State before struggling with Tech. They own tough road wins against Michigan State and their only blemish is a one-point loss at a good Providence squad.

The point is, Notre Dame has been tested a lot more than their gaudy record and previous scheduling history might indicate. They will not be overwhelmed by the speed and tempo of North Carolina, though they would be wise to try and slow the game as much as possible. They will have some trouble defensively with Carolina but should be able to hit enough shots with their four shooter offense.

I’ll take the Irish will a big handful of points.

Free Pick: Notre Dame Fighting Irish +8.5

Chris Scheeren / Author