College Basketball Best Bets Today: Odds, predictions and picks for Wednesday December 13

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College basketball expert picks and predictions

There are 23 games on the college basketball card for today, as the schedule continues to be limited with exam weeks and winter breaks. It’s been a tough stretch for the article picks with so few games and a lot less to pick from, so hopefully that negative trend breaks soon. As I mentioned, this was a tough period for me last season and has historically been a little bit of a slog. Sometimes coaches will also use this time to tinker with lineups or give guys a rest that have been battling things, so that becomes a consideration as well, especially for big favorites.

 

But, it’s back to the drawing board in hopes of getting back in the right column for today with a few better games than what we’ve seen from recent action.

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Here are some thoughts on the December 13 card (odds from DraftKings):

Appalachian State Mountaineers (-6, 149.5) at Queens Royals

7 p.m. ET

App State has taken the short trip from Boone to Charlotte for this matchup against Queens University, as the Royals face some pretty big disadvantages in this game. App State comes in as a top-20 team in eFG% defense and actually just beat Auburn earlier this month when the Tigers made the trek to Appalachia.

The Mountaineers are 28th in 2P% defense and 46th in 3P% defense on the season and also rank 16th in the nation in Block% at 15% per Bart Torvik. Not surprisingly, with their rim protection numbers, the Mountaineers have allowed just a 47.7% FG% on Close Twos, which ranks 10th in the nation. As it is, Queens has issues finishing at the rim with a 51% FG% on Close Twos, ranking 325th.

As you would expect with a lot of defensive prowess from some athletic bigs, App State gets the ball inside a lot with a 42.3% shot share and has finished at a 60.3% clip. I would expect them to have a big advantage down low in this game, where they are also the better defensive rebounding squad.

Queens is 321st in the nation in 2P% defense, so they’ve struggled in the mid-range and also with rim protection. Both teams have been stingy defending the 3-point line, so I think that App State will place a big emphasis on getting the ball inside and letting their bigs work. Also, they played a lower-division team to knock out any possibility of a letdown off the Auburn win and have had eight days to get healthy and practice hard prior to this one.

Pick: Appalachian State -6

Weber State Wildcats at Nevada Wolf Pack (-9.5, 137)

10 p.m. ET

We’ve got late action in Reno tonight between Weber State and Nevada. I’m curious to see how this game goes for Nevada, as they’ll play just their second slow-paced team of the season. The other was Montana and they won by 11, but that game was played to 72 possessions because Nevada was 30-of-38 at the free throw line and the Grizzlies committed 24 personal fouls. Their slowest game by possessions was against Loyola Marymount 11 days ago in a game that ended 73-59.

Weber State ranks 325th in tempo per Bart Torvik and 350th per KenPom, so the Wildcats will look to slow this game down. That’s a good idea for Eric Duft’s team because they are not very gifted offensively. Of course, they had their best offensive performance of the season last time out against Cal Poly, but I wouldn’t expect a repeat performance against a much better Nevada team that ranks 32nd in adjusted defensive efficiency per Torvik.

My biggest motivation for the Under in this game is that neither team gives up a lot of looks at the rim or gets to the rim with high efficiency. Weber State is 26th in defensive shot share on Close Twos at 29.6%. Nevada is 44th in shot share against in that split at 31.3%. Offensively, Nevada ranks 237th in shot share on Close Twos, while Weber State ranks 325th. That means we’re going to see a lot of jump shots in this game.

Nevada has only taken a 3-pointer on 28.5% of shot attempts. Weber State has taken a much higher percentage, but they’re only shooting 32% for the season and 30.4% in road/neutral games.

Weber State ranks 85th in adjusted defensive efficiency per Torvik and 95th per KenPom, so they are more formidable on that end of the floor and I think they can slow Nevada down, both in tempo and in shooting percentage.

Pick: Under 137

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