College Basketball Afternoon Betting Odds & Picks: High Totals, Small Lines Offer Value

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Grant Halverson/Getty Images. Pictured: Vernon Carey Jr.

Are you working from home today? Are you at your office, but don’t care and will watch basketball all day anyway?

Then you’ve come to the right place.

There are 21 games tipping off before 5 p.m. ET, making this one of the best college basketball weekday slates of the year, assuming the games go on as planned.

Here are a few bets we’re making, betting systems we’re monitoring and sharp action we’re taking seriously.

While we won’t cover all 21 games here, we wrote about afternoon games in a few different pieces:

[Villanova Promo! Win $1 for every point Nova scores vs. DePaul on Thursday if the Wildcats win]

Michigan vs. Rutgers

  • Odds: Michigan -3 vs. Rutgers
  • Over/Under: 135
  • Time: 12 p.m. ET
  • TV: BTN

This excerpt is part of our staff’s five favorite Thursday bets, which has two more afternoon tips in it.

Well, who knows what’s going to happen today and how much basketball we’ll get, so let’s roll with a noon tip. I’ll take the 3 points with Rutgers in a game I make closer to +1.

Rutgers did lose both regular season meetings to Michigan, including one on a neutral court, but it’s not the worst matchup for the Scarlet Knights, who don’t rely on the 3-point shot, which Michigan takes away as well as any team.

Three points are also more of a premium here in what should be a lower-scoring game. I also like the way Rutgers looked to close out the year. It should take a lot from that road win at Purdue, which marked only its second win away from the RAC this season. — Stuckey

Pick: Rutgers +3


Public All Over FSU

  • Spread: FSU -7 vs. Clemson
  • Total: 133
  • Time: 12:30 p.m. ET
  • TV: ESPN

According to our public betting data, 80% of bettors are backing Florida State at -7 against Clemson at 12:30 p.m. ET.

But 50% of the money is on the Seminoles, meaning bigger, likely sharper, bets have come in on Clemson. That’s caused the line to drop from -7 to -6.5 at some books.

Alabama vs. Tennessee

  • Spread: Alabama -1
  • Total: 148
  • Time: 1 p.m. ET
  • TV: SEC Network

This excerpt is part of Collin Wilson’s SEC Tournament betting guide.

Alabama plays at a furious pace, causing havoc to plenty of teams that struggle with pressure and perimeter defense. The Crimson Tide rank top-15 in the nation in point distribution from beyond the arc and have an adjusted tempo rank of third. There have been teams in the SEC willing to run with Alabama, resulting in 200-plus point games against Florida and Georgia, but Tennessee is not one of them.

The Vols lost to Alabama by one in a game that went under the total. The Volunteers and Crimson Tide combined for 33 turnovers in their Feb. 4 game. This could very well happen again as both offenses are at the bottom of the SEC in steal percentage.

While Alabama should have a statistical advantage against a poor Tennessee perimeter defense, the Vols rank first in defensive blocks in the conference, a huge advantage over an Alabama team that is 343rd in the nation in offensive block percentage.

Points may be at a premium with this early tip.

Pick: Alabama -1, Under 148 or better

Sharp Action Hits Alabama

Sharp bettors have been all over Alabama. We tracked five different Bet Signals — indicators of sharp money — at Alabama +1 and at a pick’em.


High Total? Bet the Under

We have a profitable Bet Labs system with three matches on Thursday, including two that tip off at 3 p.m. ET.

Betting the under in neutral-site conference tournament games with high totals has been a money-maker over the last decade.

  • CS Northridge vs. CS Fullerton (3 p.m. ET) – Under 153
  • Duke vs. NC State (3 p.m. ET) – Under 152.5

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