College Basketball Best Bets Today: Odds, predictions and picks for Thursday, February 16th


College basketball schedule today has 64 games

Tough losses are just the nature of the beast in college basketball and in betting overall. Fortunately, each new day brings more games to handicap and opportunities to get back on track. Minding the mental aspects of betting are just as important, if not more important, as everything else that goes into it. After a couple of very close losses on Wednesday, it’s back on the beam for Thursday with a clear head and new games to consider. (Tracking sheet)

The last day before the NBA All-Star Break is today, so check out Jonathan Von Tobel’s NBA best bets and also catch up with Andy MacNeil’s daily NHL picks.



Here are some thoughts on the February 16 card (odds from DraftKings):

Wichita State Shockers at Temple Owls (-4.5, 137.5)

The Shockers and Owls face off for the first time this season in Thursday night AAC action. These are two middle-of-the-road teams in the conference, but Temple has fallen on the right side of variance in close games, so they’ve got the better record. In this one, there are a few things I like about Wichita State that makes me think this one will be close down to the wire and the Shockers may even pull the mild upset.

The AAC has a lot of jump-shooting teams, but Wichita State isn’t really one of them. Their shot share on Close Twos ranks third in the conference at 38.9% and they’re shooting a solid 61.7% on those attempts. The Shockers rank 96th in shot share on Close Twos and 91st in FG on those shots. Defensively, Temple is 268th in shot share against, so you can get to the rim against them.

On the flip side, Wichita State is 89th in shot share on Close Twos and a strong 45th in FG% against on those shots. Temple prefers to take a lot of 3s with a 3P Rate of 43.7%, but the Owls have only made 32.7% of those shots. Wichita State is tied with Temple in 3P% defense at 32.1%, which ranks 78th. I think Wichita State will get to the rim more often and take the higher-percentage shots in this game.

Furthermore, Temple has a 20.6% TO% on offense this season and that number balloons to 21.1% in AAC play. The Shockers don’t force a ton of turnovers, but they’re a top-25 defense in eFG% and should have a few takeaways here, which should leave Temple with a good amount of empty possessions. I’ll take my chances getting 4.5 with the Shockers here.

Pick: Wichita State +4.5

North Dakota State Bison (-2, 134.5) at UMKC Roos

UMKC beat North Dakota State back on Jan. 21, but I’m not expecting the same outcome here and neither is the betting market. We’ve seen this line flip from NDSU as a slight dog to a slight favorite, so I’m not getting the best of the number, but I really like the Bison to get revenge here.

In the first meeting, UMKC was 10-of-29 from 3. This is a team shooting 27.3% from 3 for the season, which ranks 361st in the nation. In six games since that win over NDSU, the Roos have made a total of 23 3-point shots. It was a huge outlier to say the least and they still only won the game by two points in a 75-73 final.

That isn’t the only reason I like the Bison to get revenge. He missed the first game, but Allen David Mukeba Jr. was seen on crutches with a walking boot last week in the game he missed against St. Thomas. Mukeba is averaging 8.9 points and 7.2 rebounds per game, so his presence will be missed if he’s out for another game. Speaking of absences, North Dakota State’s Boden Skunberg, who is the team’s second-leading scorer and best 3-point shooter, missed a good chunk of the first half after picking up two quick fouls last game and only had four points on 2-of-4 shooting. He’s averaging 13.8 points per game and has averaged 18.2 PPG in the five games since.

North Dakota State ranks 87th in the nation in eFG% offense, while UMKC is 359th. I think NDSU can get inside a little more here if Mukeba is indeed out. Ultimately, I just don’t see UMKC having another outlier night from 3 and that was a game they still only won by a mere bucket.

Pick: North Dakota State -2

Southern Indiana Screaming Eagles (-2, 157) at Little Rock Trojans

The OVC is horrible this season, but Little Rock is one of the worst teams in the league and has the worst defense out of the 10 teams. That means a matchup with Southern Indiana is unlikely to go well for the Trojans. The Screaming Eagles have the conference’s best adjusted offensive efficiency and it has a lot to do with their 3-point shooting prowess.

Southern Indiana is shooting 37.3% from 3 and takes a lot of them with a 3P Rate of 42.2%. That 3P% is good for 27th and the Screaming Eagles draw a Little Rock defense that ranks 350th in the nation in 3P% defense at 38.1%. In what looks to be an up-tempo game, Southern Indiana’s 3-point performance could allow this game to get out of hand. What also helps is that Southern Indiana is forcing teams into a lot of 3s with a 40.2% 3P Rate against and Little Rock is only shooting 32.3%.

The Trojans don’t want to shoot many 3s, though, as they have a 3P Rate of 30.3%. So, Southern Indiana wants to shoot them and can have success against a terrible Little Rock defense. Meanwhile, Little Rock doesn’t want to shoot 3s and doesn’t do it well, but may have to against the Screaming Eagles.

What happened in the first meeting was that Little Rock just settled for a bunch of mid-range jumpers instead. Southern Indiana only won by 7, but 53 of their 60 shots were either at the rim of 3s. Little Rock took 71 shots and 27 were mid-range jumpers. What made the game close was that Southern Indiana was just 11-of-23 at the rim and 13-of-27 at the free throw line. I would expect better tonight against a Little Rock defense allowing a 63.3% FG% on Close Twos, which ranks 318th in the nation. Their shot share against on Close Twos of 41.6% ranks 335th in the nation.

This is an awful Little Rock defense through and through and Southern Indiana should be able to take advantage. The Screaming Eagles aren’t good on defense either, but Little Rock can’t create good shots and won’t be able to keep up.

Pick: Southern Indiana -2

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