NCAA Basketball Picks: Cincinnati Bearcats vs. Pittsburgh Panthers

Cincinnati Bearcats at Pittsburgh Panthers
Monday, 12/31/12, 12:00 PM EST, TV:  ESPN2
Opening Point Spread:  Pittsburgh -6.5
Current Betting Line:  Pittsburgh -6.5
Opening Total:  124.5
Current Total:  125
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

The Pittsburgh Panthers have won 15 consecutive home games

Cincinnati will look to bounce back from a 55-54 loss to the New Mexico Lobos as six-point home favorites last time out, while going UNDER the posted total of 136.  “The last two games, we’ve been in a shooting drought and it came down to that,” commented Bearcats guard Sean Kilpatrick.  This will be the 17th overall meeting in this series, with each team winning eight games apiece.  Cincinnati is 16-8 ATS on the road the last two-plus years, which can’t be ignored when making your NCAA basketball picks on New Year’s Eve.

The Bearcats will begin their eighth season of play in the Big East Conference, posting a 5-2 mark in openers, including three wins in a row.  Since the start of the 2010-11 campaign, Cincinnati ranks third in the league with 64 overall wins.  Three probable starters are scoring in double figures, with Kilpatrick leading the way in averaging 18.8 points.  The program snapped a five-game losing streak to Pitt on New Year’s Day a year ago with a 66-63 win as six-point road underdogs.

Pittsburgh is riding an eight-game win streak and a 15-game home win streak at the Petersen Events Center, as it comes off a 59-43 win over Kennesaw State eight days ago.  The Panthers current run has come against lackluster opponents with a combined record of 60-96, which is why they’ll be tested in a major way in this spot.  The team is utilizing a 10-man rotation, with each player averaging 3.6 points or more per game, while playing at least 10.9 minutes.  Pittsburgh is 4-6 ATS in December since 2010.

The Panthers have dominated the paint offensively, outscoring opponents by a 502-258 margin, while their bench has provided a plus-196 differential in that particular category.   Pittsburgh has truly become one of the more dominant programs in college basketball, as it has won the most regular season conference games of any member of the league since 2001.

Sports bettors will likely back the Bearcats due to their 6-1 ATS mark versus the Big East, while the favorite is 2-5 ATS in the last seven meetings in this series.

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