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Mid-Money Madness, Nov. 19 picks: Vermont can upset Virginia

Elsewhere, be careful with Furman vs. Alabama and take the over on Pepperdine.

Vermont v Florida State Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Mid-Money Madness is back to put extra money in your pocket. Last week’s mid-week slate started cold, as we went 3-5 last week and are -3.0 units on the season. But there is a monster play on this slate, and if it hits this will be a huge night.

Here are some spots you can cash in on tonight in college basketball. All lines referenced from

Vermont (+14.5) @ Virginia
O/U 114

The last time Virginia faced an America East opponent, they became the first 1-seed to lose in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. We all remember that glorious day.

Virginia puts its 19-game non-conference home winning streak on the line tonight against an excellent Vermont team that ranks fourth in our most recent Other Top 25 rankings. After a thrilling 70-68 win against St. John’s, Vermont is off to its first 4-0 start in school history. Vermont is 3-0 on the road this season, and they have an experienced team that will not intimidated playing in Paul Jones Arena.

The Catamounts are led by senior forward Anthony Lamb, who is averaging 18.3 points and 10.5 rebounds per game. Lamb will have success creating scoring opportunities against a historically great Virginia defense. Through the first three games, the defending national champs forced more defensive turnovers (42) than made field goals (41) and are holding opponents to 36.3 points per game on 25% shooting. The Cavaliers are rated first in overall defensive efficiency by a substantial margin.

However, the defending champs lost their top three scorers from last year and are struggling on the offensive end. Virginia struggles shooting the basketball; it ranks 291 in effective field goal percentage according to KenPom. Disregarding their baskets made off defensive turnovers, the Cavaliers rank 257th in overall offensive efficiency.

The Cavaliers offensive troubles are a liability when facing against a stout Vermont defense that ranks 46th in overall efficiency and 10th in defensive field goal percentage. Vermont is a decent rebounding team despite their lack of size. Vermont is excellent at taking care of the basketball and they won’t succumb to silly turnovers like Virginia’s previous three opponents.

Moreover, the ultimate X-Factor in this matchup will be the Catamounts’ ability to get to do the free-throw line. The Catamounts rank 60th nationally in FTA per game, and Becker has routinely gone after opposing teams bigs. Becker will be aggressive attacking through the pack-line defense and force Virginia bigs over-help or get them to foul. It’s fair to mention Virginia doesn’t commit fouls often, but Vermont has to force their hand to put the home officials in a tough spot. Overall, getting to the free throw line is the only way to get easy baskets against Virginia.

If Vermont is successful in getting Virginia into foul trouble it would be detrimental for the Cavaliers since- Virginia does not have a reliable scoring option outside of Mamadi Diakite. Virginia is going to be hell-bent on stopping Lamb, and the Vermont star will be able to beat Virginia defenders off the dribble to force help. If Vermont can get lucky by getting easy points at the free-throw line and forcing Virginia’s bigs out of the game, they will be in line for the upset.

This game is going to be played at a snail’s pace, and Virginia’s offense is not good enough to cover 14.5 against a stingy Vermont defense. This game will be close throughout, and Vermont has been in close contests every game this season. Take the Vermont Catamounts to cover the spread and win this game outright! Virginia’s 19 non-conference home game winning streak is going to come to an end when they fall to an America East team once again.

The pick: Vermont +14.5 (3 units), Vermont to win, ML +575 (0.5 unit)

Furman @ Alabama (-3.5)
Total: 153

When looking ahead to this game, we were originally looking to bet the Furman Paladins to upset Alabama. However, the short line on the road does not offer any value. After Alabama’s atrocious performance against Rhode Island in which they self-destructed committing 22 turnovers in a 93-79 loss, the public is strongly supporting Furman as a road underdog.

There are sharp money players that are backing the Crimson Tide. This game is a perfect bounce-back spot for Nate Oats’ team. Alabama has a significant advantage on the interior with 6’9” forward Jashaun Davis. The pace of this game favors them, and Nate Oats’ team will come out with a sense of urgency. Look for Alabama to come out strong in the first half. Furman coach Bob Richey is great at second-half adjustments, so there might be some value on the Paladins in the second half if they find themselves trailing big at halftime.

The pick: Bama first half -2 (1 unit)

Bonus pick: Furman 2H if trailing by 5 or more

Southern Mississippi @ Iowa State (-16.5)

There is a significant reverse line movement on this line. The line has gone down a full point, although 51% of the bets on Iowa State. The sharp bettors are definitely on the Southern Miss side. It’s a good matchup for the Eagles. Defending the three-point line is their Achilles heel, but this Iowa State team ranks 323rd in effective three-point percentage. The Eagles will keep this one close. Follow the smart money and take Southern Miss with the points.

The pick: Southern Miss +16.5 (1 unit)

Pepperdine @ USC (-11.5)
Total 150.5

Pepperdine ranks 16th in our Other Top 25 poll thanks to the dynamic offensive trio of the Kessler brothers and Colby Ross. Ross leads the Waves with 17 points and 8.3 assists per game; he is second in school history in assists, and is on pace to break the record this season. Edwards is averaging 17.8 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. Kameron Edwards has averaged 21 points over this win streak.

Pepperdine is a top 50 team when it comes to pace, and they are also deadly using ball screens with Ross and the Edwards brothers. Going against USC will be their toughest test. Senior Nick Rakocevic leads the Trojans with 16.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per game, while dynamic freshmen forward Onyeka Okongwu averages a double-double with 14.5 points per game and 10.5 rebounds per game. Both USC forwards present huge mismatches for Pepperdine’s undersized frontcourt. Both will feast on the interior. Still, expect Pepperdine to be competitive with its offensive output. Most of the money is on the over for a good reason. Expect a lot of points.

The pick: Over 150.5 (1 unit)