College Basketball Best Bets for Friday

College Basketball Best Bets for Friday article feature image
Credit:

Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post. Pictured: Eddie Lampkin Jr. (Colorado)

The holiday break is in the rearview mirror, and now we're heading smack into conference play. This is when the college basketball season really heats up with some true betting value.

Below, we have college basketball best bets for Friday, December 29. Matt Cox, take it away!


College Basketball Best Bets for Friday

The team logos in the table below represent each of the matchups that our college basketball betting staff is targeting from today's slate of games. Click on the team logos for any of the matchups below to navigate to a specific bet discussed in this article.

GameTime (ET)Pick
7 p.m.
8:30 p.m.
9 p.m.
Specific betting recommendations come from the sportsbook offering preferred odds as of writing. Always shop for the best price using our NCAAB Odds page, which automatically surfaces the best lines for every game.

Northern Kentucky vs. Purdue Fort Wayne

Friday, Dec. 29
7 p.m. ET
ESPN+
Northern Kentucky +4.5

By Matt Cox

Backing the Norse, who just lost their unflappable floor general Sam Vinson to injury, may seem like a brittle horse to ride.

Northern Kentucky, however, is a different beast against conference opponents.

Darrin Horn is a ridiculous 53-35 against the number versus the Horizon League since taking over in 2019. His unorthodox zone front and dynamic guard play has been a chore for league foes to handle, especially the Mastodons.

Horn has won six of his last seven meetings against Purdue Fort Wayne, evidence that this coaching matchup truly favors the Norse.

Purdue Fort Wayne’s stellar start caught many by surprise. Could this be a ripe opportunity to sell high against a potentially undervalued NKU team, which has been competitive in nearly every game this year?

Coming off of the break, the home court crowd should be rather sparse in Fort Wayne, another point in the road team’s favor.

Pick: Northern Kentucky +4.5 (Play to +4)


Washington State vs. Utah

Friday, Dec. 29
8:30 p.m. ET
Pac-12 Network
Utah -8

By Matt Cox

Salt Lake City is home to the second leg of the brutal two-leg “mountain trip," the unavoidable pressure cooker of the Pac-12 schedule.

Washington State is fresh off a crucial win against Boise State, which gave the Cougars a resume-boosting win for the first time all season.

In Washington State’s only other true tests this season — against Mississippi State and Santa Clara — the Cougars’ vaunted frontcourt was somewhat neutralized by like-sized bigs. Few bigger frontlines pose the challenge the Utes bring to bear, with Branden Carlson, Lawson Lovering and Keba Keita leading the charge.

The Cougars also embark on their first true road game, a burden acknowledged by Kyle Smith in his pregame commentary.

This Utes team took down a top-10 BYU foe with a less than 100% Carlson earlier this year. They’re capable of laying the smackdown to a very good, but not elite, Cougar squad that's yet to be battle tested this year.

Pick: Utah -8


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Washington vs. Colorado

Friday, Dec. 29
9 p.m. ET
ESPNU
Colorado -9

By Matt Cox

The Pac-12 opener for the Buffaloes and Huskies comes on the Rocky Mountain.

Colorado’s home court value is well established in market-making pricing, however, it may be underpriced with this year’s rendition. CU’s enhanced offensive pace is turning home games into gruesome conditioning battles for its opponents.

The Buffs are 6-1 against the number at home this year, a daunting trend for the visiting Huskies.

Washington’s improved frontline is damaged with Franck Kepnang’s injury hanging in the balance. Anything less than a full force effort will leave the Huskies at risk of an offensive rebounding barrage.

"Boyle Ball" is not typically known for faring well as a favorite, but the 2024 Buffs are a different gravy altogether. Even without freshman phenom Cody Williams, CU is a multi-pronged offense led by playmaker scorers in KJ Simpson and Tristan da Silva.

Washington has looked vulnerable in its last two games since the monumental Gonzaga win, and it should be exploited tonight against one the nation’s most feared home teams.

Pick: Colorado -9

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Nick Sterling
May 21, 2024 UTC