College basketball best bets today

Contrary to how we all feel, today is January 31st, not January 51st, as what annually seems to be the longest month of the year is coming to a close. We’ve got 44 games to send us off into February, so it is a decent-sized card with a good variety of conferences. Something for everybody, especially if you are exercising conference specialization to get caught up on the college basketball landscape. I am not, as I look through the entire card to find college basketball best bets for 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 two college basketball best bets for today.

Cincinnati Bearcats (-4, 145) at West Virginia Mountaineers

7 p.m. ET

We’ve got a classic Big East battle here between the Bearcats and Mountaineers in Morgantown. Cincinnati’s only win over an entrenched Big 12 member was the win at home against TCU 15 days ago. Their other two wins are against fellow newcomers BYU and UCF, but I think they’ve got an excellent shot at one tonight.

It is difficult to find an area in which Cincinnati is not better than West Virginia. The Bearcats are better in both offensive and defensive efficiency, better on both ends of the floor in the rebounding department, a more efficient team shooting both 2s and 3s, and the better defensive team in both of those areas as well.

Also, with two big dudes in Viktor Lakhin and Aziz Bandaogo, Cincinnati’s 41.1% shot share on Close Twos is nearly 6% higher than West Virginia’s 35.2% mark. The Mountaineers are also shooting just 52.9% on those shot attempts per Bart Torvik.

One area where Cincy is lacking is at the free throw line, but that’s my only concern here. Lakhin is a 54.4% FT shooter and Bandaogo is at 57.4%, so maybe WVU adopts a “Hack-A-Shaq” philosophy on those two, but the guards are a little better at the strip if the Bearcats are looking to finish this one off late.

WVU has allowed at least 1.014 points per possession in all five conference losses and six of their seven conference games. Cincinnati’s numbers have sagged against better conference competition, but they are 19th in the nation in adjusted defensive efficiency, so I don’t see the Mountaineers keeping pace.

Pick: Cincinnati -4

Louisiana Monroe Warhawks at Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns (-12, 142.5)

8 p.m. ET

The Battle of the Bayou is tonight in the Sun Belt between Louisiana Monroe and Louisiana. The Ragin’ Cajuns are rolling right now with five straight wins and a lot of it has to do with their offense. They finally struggled on Jan. 28 against Texas State with .967 points per possession, but that was the exception and not the norm.

Louisiana scored 1.227, 1.137, 1.235, and 1.122 PPP over their previous four wins. Two of those five wins came against Texas State, who is a bad offensive team. The Bobcats had .899 and .674 PPP. The other three teams that Louisiana beat scored 1.125, 1.109, and 1.039 PPP.

This is a Louisiana team that only runs about six deep with their rotation and had Thursday’s game pushed to Friday and then Saturday’s game pushed to Sunday, so their schedule was altered a bit. I would expect the offense to pick up and would also expect a different opponent to fare better on offense.

Over the last four games, Louisiana Monroe has found their offensive footing. They’ve had 1.053, 1.158, 1.079, and 1.062 PPP. This is the top offensive rebounding team in Sun Belt play against one of the worst defensive rebounding teams in the nation. The Ragin’ Cajuns also like to push the tempo and ULM will play at the other team’s tempo more often than not.

Pick: Over 142.5