On the day that the opening of the college bowl game season will attract a majority of the attention from bettors, there’s still a pretty solid slate of NCAAB hoops on the docket. One such contest is the 9-1 Virginia Tech Hokies traveling to Rupp Arena to square off against the 8-1 Kentucky Wildcats. Oddsmakers have made the Wildcats -5.5 favorites – a number that is very appealing. For the 12/16 college basketball free pick the big question is if the Hokies hot start is for real – or if they are a mirage.
Is Virginia Tech Legitimate?
The Hokies have rattled off seven straight wins which is impressive – but they’ve also been favored or had no line in all 10 games this season. VT’s lone loss this year was in game three of the season. The Hokies lost 71-77 to Saint Louis at the 2K Classic Tourney held at the Madison Square Garden. Virginia Tech was favored by -13 in that game. The Hokies have also only played one true road game thus far, an 83-80 OT win versus Old Miss as -2 favorites. Kentucky is 7-0 at home this season.
The Hokies can get the upset in the 12/16 college basketball free pick mostly for the fact that they can score. In fact VT is the #1 offense in the nation in both points scored (96.2) and field goal percentage (55.3%). The hot shooting Hokies also hit at 46.8% from beyond the arc which is second in the nation. Those are impressive numbers for sure, but are they more of a result of the competition Virginia Tech has played? The Hokies have the 315th ranked strength of schedule and have only played one opponent that is in the top 100 this season.
Virginia Tech is beating Kentucky in Rupp Arena today. That’s so weird to say
— Brandon Collins ???? (@collins28_brand) December 16, 2017
Does Kentucky Stay Unbeaten at Home?
The Wildcats have faced one major test this season, ultimately losing 61-65 to Kansas in the third game of the year. Kentucky is just 4-5 ATS this year, but they’ve also faced being double digit favorites eight times in their nine games. UK has shown the tendency to play down to their competition, especially at home. Some examples include a 79-70 win over Harvard as -19 favorites, a 70-62 win over Troy with the line at -18.5, and a 73-69 victory against Vermont at -12.
Kentucky can shoot the rock to get the win and cover in the 12/16 college basketball free pick. UK is hitting 50.6% from the field and Hamidou Diallo has scored 19, 19, and 23 points in his last three games. The UK defense is also 25th in the country in opponents field goal percentage whereas the VT defense is allowing 70.7 points per game.
I’ll respect Kentucky a lot more (and so will the polls) if they can beat Virginia Tech today at Rupp. #BBN wonders why they’re “disrespected” in the polls thus far – your best win is against Vermont… Interested to see how VT’s guards fair against UK’s length.
— Rick Heidrick ⚾ (@rhj_24324) December 16, 2017
12/16 College Basketball Free Pick – Betting
The line has moved up 1/2 a point to UK -5.5. As expected, Kentucky is a pretty popular pick with 63% of the public liking the home team. The total of 157.5 seems a bit low with the potential of both of these offenses. That being said, there are two major details working against Virginia Tech in the 12/16 college basketball free pick. The first is that their solid record is largely a product of the uality of their opponents at the beginning of their schedule. Not only that, Saturday is just their second true road game of the season (non-tournament) and they’ve got to go to one of the toughest places in the nation to play. That should be the difference.
Pick: Kentucky Wildcats -5.5