Friday’s College Basketball Best Bets

Friday’s College Basketball Best Bets article feature image
Credit:

Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images. Pictured: Owen Freeman (Iowa)

No ranked teams are in action tonight in college basketball, but that doesn't mean betting value can't be found.

Dive in below for college basketball best bets and Three Man Weave's three picks for Friday, January 12. Matt Cox, you're up!


College Basketball Best Bets

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.
7 p.m.
9:30 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.

Dayton vs. Duquesne

Friday, Jan. 12
7 p.m. ET
ESPN2
Dayton +1

By Matt Cox

An A-10 showdown between two of the league’s heavy hitters — Dayton and Duquesne — tips off tonight from Pittsburgh.

Away from home, the Flyers have been true road warriors. Not only did they dispatch Cincinnati in a semi-away game, but Anthony Grant’s bunch took down a surging SMU squad on the road and played Northwestern to the wire in Chicago.

In short, Dayton has been a model of consistency, a stark contrast to Duquesne’s roller coaster season.

The Dukes are no doubt talented, and dangerous, but the matchup tonight against DaRon Holmes II looks ominous. The 6-foot-11 pro prospect has knocked off Duquesne three straight times by double digits dating back to the 2022 campaign.

The comparison to this season is the Dukes’ frontline still lacks the physical thump needed to push Holmes off the block, where he can shred opposing defenses and double teams. The Flyers are shooting at a prolific clip right now, buoyed by their premier shot selection enabled by Holmes.

The market price seems to be holding steady due to concerns of starting guard Kobe Elvis being questionable, but early indications are that he'll be good to go. Even if not, the Flyers can still trot out a formidable seven-man rotation with Zimi Nwokeji as the last man up fresh off a nine-point outing against UMass.

Pick: Dayton +1 (Play to -1)


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Rice vs. USF

Friday, Jan. 12
7 p.m. ET
ESPNU
USF -5

By Matt Cox

South Florida is one of two anti-market plays considered for the best bets trifecta today (Canisius being the other). At the current price of -5, against a paper tiger opponent like Rice, the Bulls are a worthwhile investment.

Rice’s analytical marks are propped up by lopsided game margins against mid- and low-major opponents. The Owls can score with ease against vulnerable defenses, but rarely offer resistance themselves on the other end.

USF is on the cusp of a mini breakthrough, held back by brief personnel absences, notably Brandon Stroud and Kasean Pryor. Pryor is a critical defensive cog, while Stroud is a two-way stalwart, who made a name for himself starring during Kennesaw State’s NCAA tournament run last season.

There’s a big statistical edge here in the possession battle, as USF excels at turning opponents over without giving it away itself.

The Bulls also have an edge over Rice on the glass, where their superior strength and toughness could wear down the brittle Owls.

In essence, it'll take a red hot 3-point barrage for Rice to keep this competitive, while USF has multiple avenues to manufacture buckets if its shots aren’t falling.

Finally, USF’s home court value may be worth more than usual in this conference tilt against a new league foe.

Don’t leap for a bad number above -5, but at five on the button, it’s worth punching back against the early market steam.

Pick: USF -5

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Nebraska vs. Iowa

Friday, Jan. 12
9:30 p.m. ET
Big Ten Network
Iowa -4.5

By Matt Cox

Laying 4-5 points with a shaky Iowa squad against the blistering hot Huskers doesn’t feel great. However, the Hawkeyes are at home, which is the ultimate equalizer in the Big Ten this year.

Over the last week, home teams are 8-4 against the spread, according to BetLabs, and 17-12 on the year.

With the entire week off to prepare and recoup after a critical win against Rutgers last weekend, Iowa might be a low opportunity at this stage in the season — again, especially at home.

Patrick McCaffery is expected back tonight after missing the Rutgers game. Additionally, rookie riser Owen Freeman continues to blossom up front, an enormous development for Iowa’s lackluster frontcourt. In this matchup, Freeman’s bouncy presence will be critical to containing Rienk Mast.

Of course, this is also a quintessential letdown spot for Nebraska after dethroning Purdue earlier this week. Iowa will have this game circled after losing to the Huskers twice last season, so expect a vintage home Iowa performance tonight with a lot on the line.

The current price of 4.5 is 1-1.5 points up from the opener, but don’t be scared to lay up to 4-5.

The game total of 166 implies this is sure to be a shootout, thus, the 4.5-5 spread should play closer to a pick ‘em.

In Big Ten home court we trust.

Pick: Iowa -4.5 (Play to -5)


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