- Jeff Gold, ESPN Contributor
With football season over, college basketball has taken the spotlight for gamblers. That means it's time for your weekly chaser columns to turn to college basketball, which has games every night across the country, so there are plenty of opportunities to try to beat the lines.
Every Monday, we'll take a look at the two games airing on ESPN from a gambling perspective, with a pick on the game from Ted Sevransky here on Insider.
Matchup: Cincinnati Bearcats at Louisville Cardinals
Spread: Louisville -10
After a thrilling win at Syracuse on Saturday, Louisville returns home to face Cincinnati. The Cardinals have lost only one game at home in 2013, and that was to Syracuse.
Early in the season, Louisville was the No. 1 ranked team in the nation. A midseason three-game losing streak raised questions, but the Cardinals have responded well. A normal staple of all Rick Pitino teams (Pitino is going for his 300th win as Louisville coach Monday night) is tremendous defense. Louisville is third in the nation in turnover margin (6.1) and also third in the nation in steals per game (10.8).
A win for Cincinnati, currently 50th in the RPI, would be enormous for solidifying an NCAA tournament berth. It's not a necessity -- the Bearcats have the profile of a tournament team right now -- but a victory would almost certainly clinch one. Cincinnati's Sean Kilpatrick (17.7 points per game) has emerged as one of the best players in the country. He was recently named one of the 30 finalists for the Naismith Award, given to the National Player of the Year, and he's led the Bearcats in scoring in nine of their past 11 games.
Ted Sevransky says: "After notching wins against the three true bottom feeders in the Big East (DePaul, Seton Hall and South Florida), Pitino's squad stepped up against Syracuse on Saturday. Despite another miserable performance from shooting guard Peyton Siva -- held scoreless and benched down the stretch, the fifth time in his last 10 games that he's been held to two points or less -- Louisville made the big plays on both ends of the floor during crunch time against the Orange to escape with the five-point road victory.