College Basketball Best Bets | 3 Picks for Saturday
Photo by Oliver McKenna/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Shantay Legans (Portland)
College football takes center stage today, but that doesn't mean we don't have college basketball betting value.
In fact, Matt Cox has college basketball best bets and Three Man Weave's three picks for Saturday — including Portland vs. Nevada on November 18 — below.
College Basketball Best Bets — Saturday, Nov. 18
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.
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.
Fairfield vs. Queens University
By Matt Cox
Welcome to the Market Street Challenge, a three-team MTE taking center stage in Philadelphia. This condensed round robin schedule, comprising Drexel, Fairfield and Queens, plays three games in three days. Drexel, the quasi host, played yesterday against Fairfield, which will be on a back-to-back against Queens today.
Queens will be in this disadvantageous spot tomorrow but today, we ride with the Royals.
It’s not easy to prepare for a Grant Leonard-coached bunch, who took the ASUN by storm last season in their inaugural D-I campaign. Tricky stylistic preparations are amplified in a quick turnaround, especially for a young Fairfield team dealing with a litany of injuries and an awkward transition to an interim head coach.
The market is quickly catching onto Fairfield’s “sell” status, but this price seems deflated by Queens’ disrespectful analytic metrics.
In fact, the market could bet this the other way, especially as it takes notice of Caleb Fields and Jalen Leach, two key cogs for the Stags, returning to action yesterday.
Use this as an opportunity to get a shorter line.
Pick: Queens -1.5 (Play -4)
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Texas Southern vs. Creighton
By Matt Cox
We’ve seen some lopsided scores in the first few weeks of college basketball. Despite heavy market momentum to sniff out these large favorites, the market still undervalues the gap between the extremes.
Granted, Texas Southern is a top-of-the-totem-pole SWAC team. There’s talent and size, but both are dwarfed by Creighton’s robust roster. The Jays’ bench only runs about nine deep, but the quality is top tier from one through nine, which makes it impossible for CU to take its foot off the gas, even with a comfortable lead.
Texas Southern could easily waive the white flag tonight, too, as the Tigers travel nearly 1,000 miles from Virginia, where they played on Thursday
Texas Southern’s only shot to compete here is by relentlessly chasing down missed shots on the offensive glass. However, sending waves of bodies to the rim will also open up the Jays' transition attack going the other way, which could help CU balloon this lead in a hurry.
The Tigers did have success on the offensive glass last game against Virginia, but the Hoos didn’t make TXSO pay going the other way — and still, they won by 29 (and covered easily).
That benchmark number is a reasonable strike price for the cutoff as to where the value erodes here — anything above 30 is probably too steep to lay.
Pick: Creighton -27 (Play to -29)
Portland vs. Nevada
By Matt Cox
Portland was utterly dominated by Tennessee State earlier this week. TSU came in hungrier and simply outworked the host Pilots for 40 minutes in a rocking chair, wire-to-wire victory.
That stinker sets up an obvious bounce-back spot tonight for Shantay Legans and his versatile bunch. Since Legans became a head coach in 2018, he’s 23-15-2 against the number coming off a loss (note: this excludes multi-game losing streaks, which coincides with tonight’s situation).
Portland’s size and length up front may leave a lot to be desired, but this year’s rendition of the Wolf Pack isn’t poised to attack that weakness. Last season, Nevada was flushed with premier paint protectors in the middle. This season, it's a guard-laden group, which sets up for a perimeter-oriented matchup tonight in Reno.
Legans’ positionless offensive structure, spearheaded by Aussie superstar Tyler Robertson, should score efficiently tonight against Nevada. They’ll give up plenty on the other end, too, but catching double digits with this quality of coach in this spot is too many to pass up.
Pick: Portland +12.5 (Play to +12)
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