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    College Basketball Best Bets Today: Odds, predictions and picks for Thursday March 7

    There are 64 games on the college basketball schedule for Thursday as Adam Burke handicapped the card and found three best bets.

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    College basketball best bets today

    A busier college basketball slate is upon us today, as we’ll have 64 games, including a smattering of matinee matchups. The Missouri Valley Conference Tournament and the West Coast Conference Tournament both get going this afternoon and we’ve got some afternoon games in tournaments that have already started as well.

    Be sure to check out our 2024 Conference Tournament Betting Guide after you read through these college basketball best bets today.

     

    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.

    Cleveland State Vikings at Youngstown State Penguins (-10, 151)

    7 p.m. ET

    The Quarterfinals of the Horizon League Conference Tournament take place today, as the top five seeds are all in action for the first time. That includes Youngstown State, who is laying doubles at home against Cleveland State. The Vikings comfortably blew out IUPUI on Tuesday before taking the 90-minute bus ride to Youngstown.

    I like that Cleveland State played the other day. Not only did they get to eradicate some of the nerves and jitters of the conference tournament, but they were able to stay sharp. Youngstown State hasn’t played in over a week and they played the lowly Detroit Mercy Titans in last Wednesday’s game. I could see them starting out a little tight here.

    The two meetings between these teams resulted in a split and each game was played to 72 possessions. I don’t see this one being that quick, as both teams are below that from a tempo standpoint and this game means more. I also don’t see Youngstown State running away.

    Cleveland State struggles defensively at the rim with a 62.2% FG% against, but Youngstown State only has a shot share of 30.4% on the inside. They take a lot of 3s with a 41.9% 3P Rate, but Cleveland State is a top-35 defense in 3P% at 31.1%. The Vikings are also more adept at forcing turnovers and had 18 takeaways in their Feb. 17 win over the Penguins. That’s a game Cleveland State won despite only making two 3-pointers.

    I like the Vikings to keep this one close.

    Pick: Cleveland State +10

    FIU Panthers at UTEP Miners (-8.5, 144.5)

    9 p.m. ET

    The first meeting between these two teams featured an epic UTEP meltdown, as they led by as many as 16 points in the second half and lost the game 72-68. The game featured 46 combined turnovers, with 25 from UTEP and 21 from FIU. I’m assuming tonight’s game will be the same type of mess.

    UTEP is No. 1 in the nation in TO% and FIU is No. 4. UTEP is also 341st in the nation in TO% on offense and FIU is 303rd. In a game where both teams are going to throw away possessions and be careless with the basketball, it will come down to shot-making and maximizing the possessions that are kept.

    For me, FIU is a better shooting team. They’re fifth in eFG% offense, fifth in 3P%, and sixth in 2P%, while UTEP is sixth in eFG% offense, seventh in 3P%, and fourth in 2P%. The stats are pretty similar for both teams, though UTEP is ninth in 2P% defense and FIU is sixth. Teams have shot 44.4% from 3 on FIU in conference play, but the Miners only have a 31.6% 3P Rate for the season and a 33% 3P Rate in league play.

    I don’t think UTEP takes enough 3s or makes enough shots to win this game running away. The FIU offense has struggled here and there without Dashon Gittens, but they have nice wins over Liberty and Western Kentucky recently, so I think they’ve adjusted.

    Pick: FIU +8.5

    Cal State Fullerton Titans at UC Riverside Highlanders (-3, 135.5)

    10 p.m. ET

    Cal State Fullerton is rallying without junior Max Jones, who has missed the past five games with a foot injury. I’m hopeful that tonight’s line move on this game  may be a good sign for Jones, who has averaged 14.9 PPG, but I think it simply has to do with a heightened sense of urgency for the Titans, who are currently below the cut line to qualify for the Big West Conference Tournament.

    Fullerton beat stiffer competition in Long Beach State and UC Santa Barbara last week and will look to keep it going with this short underdog role against UC Riverside. Riverside did win the first game at Fullerton, but the Titans had 27 shot attempts at the rim compared to 17 for the Highlanders. The difference in the game was that Riverside was 12-of-25 from 3.

    Well, they’re shooting 31.2% from 3 in BW play and have made a total of 22 3s in four games since that game. They were without Isaiah Moses in the loss to Hawaii, so they could be missing a key piece in this game as well.

    Fullerton is better statistically across the board. They’re sixth in eFG% offense, fifth in eFG% defense, third in 3P% for and against, and eighth in 2P% for and against. Riverside is 10th in eFG% offense, ninth in eFG% defense, ninth in 3P% for, seventh in 3P% against, and 10th in 2P% for and against.

    Riverside’s 2-point shooting is dragged down by a 30.3% shot share on Close Twos. They just don’t take enough smart shots and shoot a lot of 3s while not being very good at it with a 3P Rate of 41.7% and a 3P% of 31.6%.

    Fullerton is a top-65 3P% defense. I like the team with urgency that has the better stats and better current form.

    Pick: Cal State Fullerton +3

    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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