College Basketball Best Bets Today: Odds, predictions and picks for Monday, December 5th


College basketball schedule features seven games today

Greetings, friends. If you’re a regular here at VSiN, you know that Jonathan Von Tobel has daily NBA best bets and Andy MacNeil has daily NHL best bets. Missing from the equation was a college basketball article that did the same thing, so I’ll be giving that the old college try here, so to speak, as we’re just about a month into the season and college football is winding down.

Each weekday, I’ll isolate some games I like on the card and go through my thought process. Naturally, there are only seven games on the day we decided to start this, but I’ll be looking from a statistical standpoint to give some quick hitters on why I like a side or total.


Here are some thoughts for Monday, December 5 (odds from DraftKings):

North Dakota State Bison at Portland Pilots (-15.5, 151)

Portland has been an impressive team thus far, picking up a 12-point win over Villanova and really hanging in there during competitive losses against North Carolina and Michigan State. The schedule has dropped off a bit now and the Pilots look ready for another blowout win over North Dakota State.

Portland just rolled North Dakota 90-69 and the Bison are on a similar level. In that game, the Pilots were 26-of-41, as they worked inside the arc more than they had in any other game, relying mostly on the 3 in some of the other games. Their 45.3% 3P Rate ranks 40th in the nation per Bart Torvik, which gives them the chance to blow out inferior teams.

NDSU is inferior. The Bison have played a top-70 schedule per Torvik, but their only win came against a non-Division I team and they rank 302nd in adjusted offensive efficiency and 282nd in adjusted defensive efficiency. Portland is not a great defensive team, but ranks 35th in adjusted offensive efficiency and in the top 25 in 3P%. With an efficient offense and a North Dakota State team that ranks 363rd in TO% on defense, Portland should be able to cover this big number.

Pick: Portland -15.5

UMass Lowell River Hawks (-16, 145) at LIU Brooklyn Sharks

I promise you that these are real college teams and not something that I’m making up. Per Ken Pomeroy, LIU ranks 47th in adjusted tempo and UMass Lowell ranks 71st. That isn’t because these teams play fast. It’s because they both turn the ball over a ton. For having an 8-1 record, Lowell takes awful care of the basketball, turning it over 24.3% of the time. LIU turns it over 22.6% of the time (national average is 19.1%), but they’ve played the 80th-ranked schedule and are 1-6, while Lowell has played the 359th-ranked schedule per Torvik.

LIU is terrible on offense. They’ve averaged .859 points per possession or lower in five of their six games against Division I opponents. Lowell has better offensive numbers, but has issues taking care of the basketball. They’ve had a TO% of at least 21% in all but one game against a Division I foe. If the Sharks are forcing turnovers, that puts the ball in the hands of a really bad offensive team.

This total strikes me as being a little too high, since the pace and tempo numbers are swayed by turnovers, not by how quickly the teams move up and down the floor. LIU Brooklyn also ranks 352nd in adjusted offensive efficiency and the River Hawks have been a good defensive team. Blowouts can also lead to unders because there aren’t foul fests at the end of games and this line implies a blowout.

Pick: Under 145

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