College Basketball Best Bets Today: Odds, predictions and picks for Wednesday, February 1st


College basketball schedule today has 47 games

The month of February tips off today, which means that we are just 28 short days from the Month of Madness. That said, we do have four conference tournaments – Atlantic Sun, Horizon League, Patriot League and Sun Belt – that tip off later this month, so the postseason is really not that far away. For now, the focus remains on conference play.

January was a strong month for the article, despite ending with a whimper last night. Here is my tracking sheet for the season.


Be sure to check out the fine work of Jonathan Von Tobel and Andy MacNeil covering today’s NBA best bets and daily NHL picks. We’ve got eight games in the NBA with Wizards-Pistons postponed, but only two in the NHL, as the All-Star Break begins after tonight.

Here are some thoughts on the February 1 card (odds from DraftKings):

Rhode Island Rams at Saint Joseph’s Hawks (-4.5, 143.5)

This A-10 matchup in Philly features the Hawks as a couple-possession favorite against the Rams. There are a few things I like about the home favorite in this game. For starters, they’ve forced opponents to take a 3 on 44.3% of shot attempts. Rhode Island is only shooting 30.6% on 3s, which ranks 319th in the nation according to Bart Torvik. Furthermore, the Rams are not likely to get to the rim much in this game, as Saint Joseph’s really packs it in to protect the interior.

The Hawks have a shot share against of just 30.8% on Close Twos as defined by Torvik. That ranks 41st in the nation. Rhode Island has proven to be a pretty poor offensive team and a bad jump-shooting team. If they can’t get close to the rim, their chances of making shots declines dramatically, particularly in a game that will likely be played to a bit quicker tempo than most of their games against a Hawks team that ranks in the top 80 in adjusted tempo.

Saint Joseph’s likes to take a lot of 3s, so they’re a little high-variance in that regard, but they are at home, where they’ve shot 37.7% on 3s. That is a huge contrast to shooting 28.8% on 3s in road/neutral settings. Saint Joseph’s will also get more looks at the rim, as Rhode Island has a shot share against of 40.6% on Close Twos, meaning that they’ve allowed nearly 10% more attempts on Close Twos defensively than the Hawks.

Add it all up and I’ll lay it with the home favorite here.

Pick: Saint Joseph’s -4.5

Gardner-Webb Runnin’ Bulldogs (-3.5, 138.5) at Charleston Southern Buccaneers

Gardner-Webb and Charleston Southern meet for the second time this season in Big South play, but this time in South Carolina as opposed to North Carolina. The mascot seems a tad misleading for Gardner-Webb since I don’t really think about bulldogs runnin’ around, but these Bulldogs were certainly off and runnin’ in the first meeting. Gardner-Webb won 83-63 back on Dec. 29 and it’s hard to see this game flipping the script in a big way.

As you know, I like to look at shot selection a lot in my handicapping. Gardner-Webb has a 41% shot share on Close Twos, which ranks 56th in the nation. Charleston Southern’s shot share against on Close Twos ranks 275th in the nation per Torvik and their FG% against on those attempts ranks 299th. Meanwhile, Gardner-Webb’s shot share against on Close Twos is just 31.1% (44th) and their FG% allowed on those shots of 52.5% ranks 29th.

In the first meeting, the Bulldogs were 18-of-26 at the rim, while Charleston Southern was 10-of-18. The Buccaneers like to shoot a lot of 3s, but their 19 attempts from 3 in that game are the second-fewest that they’ve had in conference play, so the Bulldogs did a good job of running them off the 3-point line.

Gardner-Webb also forces a lot of turnovers and had 18 offensive rebounds to 11 for Charleston Southern in the first meeting. I would expect some of those extra possessions in tonight’s game. The Buccaneers also had a big free throw attempt edge in that first meeting and still got blown out.

Pick: Gardner-Webb -3.5

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