Thursday NCAAB Best Bets

Thursday NCAAB Best Bets article feature image

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Yesterday was the day of the blowout as Auburn beat South Carolina by 40, UConn pounded DePaul by almost 40 and Tennessee smoked Arkansas on the road by nearly 30.

We have plenty of value today in college basketball, even if the slate isn't top tier.

Here's college basketball best bets and our staff's three top picks for Thursday, February 15.

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.
8 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.

Fairleigh Dickinson vs. LIU

Thursday, Feb. 15
7 p.m. ET
NEC Front Row
LIU +180

By Patrick Strollo

Long Island (LIU) will close out a four-game homestand as it hosts Fairleigh Dickinson (FDU) at the Steinberg Wellness Center in Brooklyn.

The visiting Knights (11-14, 5-5) will be looking to get back on track after two consecutive losses, whereas the Sharks (6-17, 5-6) will look to close out a long homestand strong, having won two of their last three on their home court.

The last time these two programs met on February 1, FDU came away with the home win, 82-75. A combination of points off turnovers (21), bench points (28) and solid 3-point shooting (35.7%) proved to be the difference for the Knights.

Coming into the game tonight, both teams are evenly matched, with LIU and FDU ranking 348th and 333rd in KenPom’s rankings, respectively.

While the statistics that drive the rankings present a slight edge for FDU, I think the value in this game resides with the home team, particularly on the moneyline.

The Sharks have been a formidable opponent at home this season, winning four of their seven games and covering the spread in five of those contests.

The key for LIU in this game will be to limit the turnovers that led to its demise in a tight game the last time these two played.

Another reason I’m on LIU in this one is 3-point variance.

The Sharks have the second-best (38th nationally) 3-point defense in the NEC, allowing opponents to connect on just 31.0% of attempts. On the season, FDU has made 32.1% of its attempts but connected at a 35.7% rate when the two met earlier this month.

Statistically, I think this game has mean reversion written all over it. If FDU is at or near season averages for points off turnovers (15.3) and 3-point percentage (32.1%), LIU should walk away with the win and even the season series.

My model projects LIU as a 1.5-point underdog in this game, but I think the value resides with an outright win for the rested Sharks with the moneyline at +180.

I recommend playing this down to +160, and I would take the points if it moves any lower.

Pick: LIU +180 (Play to +160)

Temple vs. FAU

Thursday, Feb. 15
7 p.m. ET
Temple +19

By Matt Gannon

Florida Atlantic has proven yet again to be one of the best teams in the American Athletic Conference.

Oddly enough, it finds itself 1.5 games back of South Florida in the conference standings. Once the Owls take care of the Owls (of Temple), they'll have a chance to gain some ground on USF.

See what I did there? I penciled FAU in for a win and have it already looking forward to its next game.

This is a major lookahead spot against the worst team in the conference. Temple comes into Boca Raton at 1-10 — last in conference play — and hasn't won since Jan. 7.

I’m not calling the upset in this matchup, but I believe Florida Atlantic will do what it’s been doing against lesser teams.

The Owls have been "playing with their food" in these matchups, meaning they allow opponents to take a lead, forcing a late comeback. That’s a slippery slope for FAU, and it's already cost it this season.

Florida Atlantic has two losses to mid-major teams in Florida Gulf Coast and Bryant. Temple has nothing to lose and will be playing with a free and flowing style.

I wouldn’t be shocked if it keeps it closer than most expect.

Pick: Temple +19 (Play to +18)

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Memphis vs. North Texas

Thursday, Feb. 15
8 p.m. ET
North Texas -1.5

By D.J. James

Memphis had seemingly fallen off of a cliff at the end of January, dropping four games in a row. Since then, it’s rattled off three straight wins. But now, it has to travel to play a defensive juggernaut in North Texas.

North Texas likes to shoot 3s, and the Tigers yield one of the highest 3-point attempt rates in the country on defense and allow opponents to hit almost 34% of their triples.

John Buggs III, Jason Edwards and Aaron Scott are the 3-point shooters to watch for North Texas because they can feast in this game.

Memphis can score inside and out, but it efficiently attacks the rim.

North Texas allows a good number of points inside in the aggregate, but opponents are shooting only 45.4% on the Mean Green. Scott and Robert Allen can defend the interior, so unless they’re in foul trouble, the Mean Green have the antidote to the Tigers’ inside attack.

North Texas ranks 63rd in Defensive Rim-and-3 Rate, per ShotQuality, while Memphis ranks 266th. Simply put, the Mean Green don’t allow the efficient shots the Tigers may give up continuously.

Finally, Memphis likes to get to the free-throw line, and does so often. North Texas tends to rack up fouls, but being at home here is an edge in itself. This should help offset what would otherwise be a large fouling discrepancy.

Take the Mean Green as short home favorites to -3.

Pick: North Texas -1.5 (Play to -3)

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