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    College Basketball Best Bets Today: Odds, predictions and picks for Saturday February 17

    There are 144 games on the college basketball schedule for Saturday as Adam Burke handicapped the card and found five best bets.

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    College basketball best bets today

    Happy Saturday, college basketball fans. We’ve got 144 college basketball games to break down and handicap today, as it is another one of those massive Saturday slates around the country. Along with my college basketball best bets today, you can check out what everybody has picked for Week 3 of the Circa College Hoops Challenge.

    Most of my write-ups today will be those picks, keeping in mind that I set my threshold at about 3 p.m. ET to start picking games for this article in the interest of fairness and lead time.

     

    Check the latest college basketball odds for legal U.S. sportsbooks across the country and our Vegas odds if you share a state with us here at VSiN. Also, give the college basketball betting splits a look for these or any other college basketball games today have your interest. Check out the Tracking Sheet for this season’s results and our college basketball home page for more CBB content.

    Here are five college basketball best bets for today.

    Odds from DraftKings Sportsbook at time of publish.

    Stony Brook Seawolves at Monmouth Hawks (-2.5, 146.5)

    4 p.m. ET

    We start in West Long Branch, New Jersey, as Stony Brook and Monmouth square off in some CAA action. This is a standard-issue handicap for me, as Monmouth has a shot share on Close Twos of 38.1% and Stony Brook checks in at 24.1%, which ranks 361st in the nation per Bart Torvik.

    Both teams give up a lot of 3-point attempts, as Stony Brook ranks 338th in the nation in 3P Rate and Monmouth ranks 343rd, but Monmouth has been the slightly better defensive team by 1.5%. They’re also shooting 1.6% better on their triple tries.

    The Hawks’ only disadvantage here might be on the glass, as they are 319th in ORB% against, but they are better at forcing turnovers and both teams turn the ball over at a pretty similar rate. All in all, I’ve got the better team by eFG% defense, the better 3-point shooting team, and a team that gets to the rim more often laying a really short number at home.

    Stony Brook did win the first game by seven points back on Jan. 25, but Monmouth had 21 shot attempts at the rim compared to six. They had 12 offensive rebounds compared to four. I would expect the Hawks to shoot better at home and a regular season split between the two.

    Pick: Monmouth -2.5

    Texas A&M Commerce Lions at Texas A&M Corpus Christi Islanders (-9, 136)

    4:30 p.m. ET

    To the Southland Conference we go, where Texas A&M Corpus Christi should be playing with a heightened sense of urgency against sister school Texas A&M Commerce. The Islanders have dropped two in a row, with losses to McNeese and Nicholls on the road last Saturday and Monday, respectively.

    Here, TAMUCC gets a team that they beat by 15 on the road back on Jan. 29. They held the Lions to .808 points per possession and actually had a pretty average offensive output by conference standards with 1.032 PPP. They had a huge free throw discrepancy in that game, which appears likely in this game as well. The Islanders are 68th in FT Rate and Commerce is 311th in FT Rate and 333rd in FT Rate against.

    TAMUCC has huge edges in terms of forcing turnovers and on the glass, where they are a top-60 ORB% team and a top-30 ORB% against squad, while Commerce is in the 310s in both categories. Commerce is also shooting 29.9% from 3 with a 3P Rate of 47.7%, so they have a ton of one-and-done possessions that might as well be turnovers with their shooting inefficiency.

    This is also another one where shot selection matters to me. The Islanders have a 44.9% shot share on Close Twos, which ranks 19th per Torvik. Commerce has the highest shot share against on Close Twos in the nation at 49.6%. In the first game, TAMUCC was only 9-of-26 at the rim. I don’t expect a repeat performance today.

    Pick: Texas A&M Corpus Christi -9

    Northern Colorado Bears (-6, 137.5) at Sacramento State Hornets

    5 p.m. ET

    The Hornets were a fade for me on Thursday night against a lackluster Northern Arizona team and the Lumberjacks came through with a 15-point road win. I’m looking to go against Sacramento State again here, this time with the Northern Colorado Bears.

    One difference here is that Northern Colorado isn’t as adept at forcing turnovers, but the Bears are a very efficient offensive squad. They are 24th in the nation in eFG% offense and rank 19th in 2P%. They are also 83rd in 3P%. Meanwhile, Sac State is 323rd in 2P% against and 318th in 3P% against.

    In other words, even if NoCo doesn’t get a bunch of extra possessions, I believe their offensive efficiency will rule the day. Much like I mentioned about Texas A&M Commerce in the above game, Sac State takes a lot of 3s with a 39.9% 3P Rate, but only shoots 29.4% on those attempts. Northern Colorado is firing away at 35.7% from deep.

    I just don’t see Sac State keeping up offensively here. Also, this is a big pace war game, where NoCo likes to run and Sac State does not. The first game was only played to 61 possessions and Northern Colorado won by a deuce at home. I expect them to try and push it more here and I cannot see Sac State replicating 1.22 points per possession, a mark that the Bears have not come close to giving up since that Jan. 18 game.

    Pick: Northern Colorado -6

    UTEP Miners at Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders (-1.5, 136)

    6 p.m. ET

    The wrong team is favored in this game in my opinion.  To me, this one is pretty simple, as it comes down to turnovers. Both teams struggle to take care of the basketball. UTEP has a 21.6% TO% that ranks 353rd in the nation. Middle Tennessee has a 21.5% TO% that ranks 351st.

    Here’s the difference – UTEP is second in the nation in TO% at 26% and MTSU is 236th at 16.3%. The Miners play a pressure defense under Joe Golding, which can get them in trouble in the half-court or in transition, as they have allowed a 54% 2P%, but all those takeaways more than make up for it.

    Also, teams are shooting just 30.8% from 3 against UTEP, which ranks in the top 40. Much like Texas A&M Commerce and Sac State, MTSU is a bad offense because they take a lot of shots that they can’t make. The Blue Raiders have a 3P Rate of 41.4%, which is 72nd, but they are 347th in 3P% at 28.5%. I don’t think they can expose UTEP’s issues with interior defense because that’s not the offense that they run.

    UTEP won the first game by 14 and MTSU had 27 turnovers. Over the last four games MTSU has TO% of 12.2, 10.2, 11.3, and 11.1. If they’re at a severe possession disadvantage in this game as I expect, then UTEP will sweep the regular season series.

    Pick: UTEP +1.5

    UNC Greensboro Spartans (-2, 140) at Wofford Terriers

    7 p.m. ET

    Wofford was a team that I isolated as a good fade about this time last month because their schedule was really stepping up in class. They got off to a nice start in SoCon play by beating some of the lesser teams in the league. When they ran into UNC Greensboro the first time, they lost 82-59 in a real wake-up call game.

    In that span, they got blown out by Greensboro and Chattanooga, had a nice win over Furman, but then lost to Samford. This is a team that I believe will struggle against top competition in conference and Greensboro is still among the top teams.

    This game could be a 3-point fest, as the teams rank 37th and 35th in 3P Rate, but the Spartans are shooting 39% from 3 overall and 41.7% in conference. Wofford is at 35.8% for the season and 37.8% in league play, which actually ranks fifth in the SoCon. The Terriers don’t force any turnovers and struggle to defend, whereas Greensboro is second in 3P% defense in SoCon action.

    This is one of those “prove it” games to me for the Terriers. Go out there and beat a good team. They beat Western Carolina on Feb. 3, but the Catamounts don’t strike me as being as good as their metrics. We’ll see what Wofford does here, but I believe Greensboro is the superior squad.

    Pick: UNC Greensboro -2

    Adam Burke
    Adam Burke
    Adam Burke is the Managing Editor of VSiN.com and has spent well over a decade in the sports betting content creation space. He has been with VSiN since 2021 and covers a wide range of sports, along with hosting the VSiN Daily Baseball Bets podcast.

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