College Basketball Best Bets Today: Odds, predictions and picks for Monday, April 3rd

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College basketball schedule today has 1 game

All the marbles are on the line tonight between San Diego State and UConn, as the Huskies look to put a stamp on what has been one of the most dominant and impressive NCAA Tournament runs in recent memory.

 

I mentioned that now is a good time to reflect on your college basketball betting season and think about your success and failures. December was a bad month for me and I realize I need to be more aware of the challenges that month brings. There are exam weeks and winter breaks and long gaps between games. For next season, I either need to lower my volume, really lower home court, or just look more aggressively at the games and consider more angles and situations.

Once things returned to normal in January, I had my best month. Using the shot selection metrics from Bart Torvik seemed to really help then, but maybe not as much in conference play, as teams had a lot more familiarity with each other. I could certainly look to bet more underdogs as well, especially in the era of the transfer portal and the NIL where talent gets dispersed a little bit better.

I mostly stuck to sides instead of totals, so maybe I’m missing an opportunity in what should theoretically be a little softer of a market because there’s more variance to total point-scoring. I’ll look into all of these things moving forward, but it was a season on the plus side and my heartfelt thanks to everybody for reading the daily column. (Tracking sheet)

Check out the VSiN College Basketball Betting Podcast with thoughts on tonight’s National Championship game.

Here are some thoughts on the April 3 card (odds from DraftKings):

San Diego State Aztecs vs. UConn Huskies (-7.5, 132.5)

First things first, check out our site best bets file for the Natty with picks from several of our handicappers.

San Diego State and UConn is a really interesting matchup for a tournament final, but we’ll have to wait and see if it’s a good game or not. UConn is out to a 7.5-point favorite at most shops and it’s hard to see a reason why they would stop rolling now. The Huskies have been a juggernaut, winning by 24, 15, 23, 28 and 13 points in the first games of this tournament, including three Quad I-A games and a Quad I win over Miami.

The craziest part to me is that the Huskies have allowed no more than .960 points per possession (against Iona!) in any game, while having a TO% under 15% in all five of them. They’ve just played some really stiff defense and have held the last three opponents to an eFG% under 38%. San Diego State will actually be the worst offense they’ve played in that span by a pretty decent margin as well.

The Aztecs enter this game 164th in the nation in 3P% and 240th in 2P%. From an adjusted offensive efficiency standpoint, SDSU ranks 58th, which is better than only Iona among UConn’s conquests thus far. The Aztecs have been a solid team on Close Twos throughout the season at 62.2%, but scoring on the Huskies’ bigs is a hard task and San Diego State’s 31.5% shot share on Close Twos doesn’t give me much hope that they’ll be able to capitalize here.

These are two top-15 defenses in 3P% defense, which I like to see in a game where points could be tough to come by on the inside. As bad as SDSU’s offense looks compared to UConn’s, the Aztecs are fourth in adjusted defensive efficiency and are one of the better teams on the defensive glass that UConn has run into during this incredible tournament run.

The Huskies haven’t been forced into a tough game in a while, which is still a concern with the side, but I’m looking at the total here. UConn hasn’t allowed more than 65 points in a game in this tournament and I don’t think San Diego State gets to that point either. The Aztecs play a slow brand of basketball and they’re going to have to sacrifice some offense for defense by keeping Nathan Mensah out there as much as possible against Adama Sanogo and Donovan Clingan.

Both side and total are sharp numbers here in my opinion. Based on the rankings sites, UConn is a little bigger of a favorite than anticipated, but you have to respect the dominance we’ve seen in this tourney. Most projections are right on the total here as well, but I do think the under is the play if you’re going to make one. Gonzaga and Miami were two mediocre defensive teams. Arkansas and Saint Mary’s were much better by comparison. The Gaels held UConn to 70 points and Arkansas just got blitzed really early when the Huskies hit seemingly every shot in the first half.

It’s the National Championship game and we’ll all have some kind of play. Given that UConn hasn’t gotten to the line much and hasn’t forced many turnovers in a game where I’d like to think the officials let them play and bang a little, I think this one slides in under the total.

Pick: Under 132.5

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