College basketball best bets today
As we count down the days until Super Bowl LVIII, we’ve got a 63-game card in college basketball today. The slate is light on premier games, but as you know, the major conferences and the games on traditional cable networks aren’t really my thing anyway. It’s all about finding value wherever it is presented and that’s what the college basketball best bets today article is for.
I know you’re here for college basketball, but be sure to check out our Super Bowl LVIII Hub with all of our content in advance of the Big Game and our Super Bowl Betting Guide with tons of picks and prop bets.
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 three college basketball best bets for today.
Odds from DraftKings Sportsbook at time of publish.
7 p.m. ET
We start in Conference USA with this matchup between Sam Houston State and Jacksonville State. This should be a pretty slow-paced affair, as Jacksonville State ranks 335th in adjusted tempo per Bart Torvik. Sam Houston State is a little faster than the national average, but both of these teams have had some of their games artificially inflated by turnovers.
Jacksonville State has a 20.2% TO% on offense and an 18.3% TO% on defense, which rank 328th and 104th, respectively. Sam Houston State is at 18.3% on offense (245th) and 19% on defense (73rd). These two teams do take lots of shots at the rim, which is usually a good thing, but I’m not convinced that they’ll be able to capitalize.
Jacksonville State is only shooting 55.3% on Close Twos with a 43.3% shot share and Sam Houston is at 51.2% with a 42.9% shot share. The Bearkats are only shooting 44.8% on 2s overall, which ranks 339th in the nation. Jacksonville State is a solid 2P% defense as well.
Neither team really stands out from 3. I like the Under in this game as a result. We have two pretty inefficient offenses in a game that should finish somewhere around 65 or 66 possessions. At 66 possessions, even if each team averages a point per possession, we’re still under this number and I don’t think that happens.
Pick: Under 135
8 p.m. ET
We’ve got a Summit League battle here between UMKC and North Dakota State, as two teams with some major defensive flaws go head-to-head. UMKC is 287th in the nation in eFG% and North Dakota State is 330th, but there is an advantage that I do like for the Bison in this game.
Quite simply, they are at home. UMKC has a shot share on Close Twos of 26.6% per Torvik, which is the sixth-lowest mark in the nation. That means that well over 70% of their shots are jumpers and I’m always going to be skeptical of those teams on the road. This is the first road game for UMKC since Jan. 25 when they went 15-of-38 from 3 and still only had .955 points per possession in a nine-point loss to South Dakota State.
They also had just .911 PPP in the road loss at St. Thomas. They were 11-of-25 from 3 against Omaha and still only won by a bucket. This is a team that is heavily dependent on shooting the 3 and North Dakota State has actually been the top Summit League defense in 3P% at 32.9%.
The Bison are 14th in the nation in 3P% offense and rank in the top 100 in eFG%. UMKC’s top 3-point shooter, Cameron Faas, had zero points in 14 minutes last time out and missed the previous game against Denver. I couldn’t find anything concrete on his status, but he’s clearly dealing with something. He’s their top player per Torvik.
I’ll take the better all-around offense in the friendly confines of the Scheels Center in Fargo.
Pick: North Dakota State -4.5
8:30 p.m. ET
Eastern Illinois makes a third straight appearance in this article as the Panthers head to Vanderburgh County to take on Southern Indiana. They say that the third time is the charm, but the first and second times have been pretty charming with EIU, as I’ve gone against them in back-to-back games and they’ve lost by 17 and 24 points.
I’ll be against them again here. Second-leading scorer Nakyel Shelton was hurt in the loss to UT Martin and missed the last game against Little Rock. Leading rebounder Kooper Jacobi has missed the last six games. Head coach Marty Simmons has used 12 different starting lineups this season between injuries and his efforts to find something that works.
This is a team that ranks 352nd in eFG% offense and 334th in eFG% defense. The only positive for them this season is a 20.1% TO% on defense, but they don’t really do much with the basketball to capitalize on those chances. They are 355th in 2P% and 294th in 3P%, so this is a team that misses a lot of shots.
Southern Indiana misses a lot of shots too, as they are 341st in eFG% offense. However, there are a few things I like about them here. First, they get to the rim at a higher rate and defend the rim more effectively. The Screaming Eagles have a 40.8% shot share on Close Twos, but are only shooting 51.9% on those shots per Torvik. Today should be a day for some positive regression, as EIU has allowed a 64.8% FG% at the rim. Meanwhile, USI has a 54.8% FG% against on those shots.,
Neither team makes a lot of jumpers, so the crux of the handicap here is that Southern Indiana is the healthier team and should find more success in the high-percentage areas. Also, they are 115th in 2P% defense and 216th in 3P% defense, while Eastern Illinois ranks in the 300s in both categories.
Pick: Southern Indiana -4