College Basketball Best Bets for Wednesday

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Photo by David Jensen/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Dennis Gates (Missouri)

After a wild Tuesday that featured No. 5 Tennessee losing at home to South Carolina and Georgia Tech snapping No. 3 North Carolina's winning streak, we turn our attention to another intriguing college basketball slate on Wednesday.

So, below, we have college basketball best bets and Three Man Weave's three picks for Wednesday, including Arkansas vs. Missouri and more on January 31. Ky McKeon, 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.
8:30 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.

Chicago State vs. Duquesne

Wednesday, Jan. 31
7 p.m. ET
ESPN+
Chicago State +12.5

By Ky McKeon

Chicago State is in the most unique position of any team in college basketball. The lone program without a conference (at least until next year), CSU has played a patchwork schedule filled with insane road trips and bouts against non-D-I foes.

Earlier this month, the Cougars played five road games in less than two weeks before hosting two non-D-I schools.

Tonight’s game against Duquesne will be their first contest in 10 days. It'll also be their fourth-to-last game of the season.

Chicago State has been a dangerous 'dog all season, going 8-5 against the number with a four-point average cover margin.

The reason for its competitiveness is two-fold. First and foremost, CSU has legitimate talent on its roster. Leading scorer Wesley Cardet Jr. was a former top-100 recruit, and his former high school teammate — Jahsean Corbett — has blossomed into a force in the frontcourt.

The second reason involves psychology. It's difficult for opposing teams to be highly motivated to play Chicago State, a program not known for its basketball prowess and one that has no bearing on conference standings.

Duquesne is in the midst of a challenging A-10 season; its full focus is on the other 14 teams in its league. A win or loss to Chicago State does nothing for its postseason prognosis.

On the flip side, CSU is motivated for every contest. The road warriors have been extremely feisty this season, even beating Northwestern, Valpo and Stetson away from home.

If Duquesne comes out lackadaisical, if it doesn’t box out, if it’s lazy with the ball, Chicago State will hang tight.

This game should be a physical slog as Chicago State tries to limit possessions and hustle for every scrap as its season nears its end.

Pick: Chicago State +12.5 (Play to +12)


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Cincinnati vs. West Virginia

Wednesday, Jan. 31
7 p.m. ET
ESPN+
West Virginia +3.5

By Ky McKeon

Winning on the road in college basketball is hard, especially if your program happens to reside in the toughest conference in the country.

Even West Virginia, the lowest-ranked team in the Big 12, per KenPom, has flexed its muscles in Morgantown. While the Mountaineers are 0-8 straight up and 2-6 against the spread away from home, they’re 7-5 at home SU and 6-6 ATS.

It’s no wonder that KenPom dubs WVU Coliseum as having the second-best home court advantage in America. WVU has beaten Kansas and Texas at home in conference play, proving it can hang with anyone in Morgantown.

And tonight, the Mountaineers will finally have their full roster for the first time all season. Yes, you read that correctly. Starting guards Kerr Kriisa and RaeQuan Battle missed the first nine and 10 games of the year, respectively, due to different eligibility issues.

Key backcourt piece Noah Farrakhan also missed the first nine contests, and starting forward Akok Akok missed seven games as well. Their debut in the lineup coincided with an injury to star big man Jesse Edwards, who missed nine games before returning in a limited role in the last contest.

Interim head coach Josh Eilert has used a whopping seven different starting lineups to date.

Edwards is healthier and should be full go tonight. All the guards and Akok are eligible, meaning WVU finally has its entire cast of characters. This is a talented group, featuring players with multiple all-league accolades at previous stops.

Cincy will have its hands full with a Mountaineer team that can shoot and that gets to the foul line at the highest rate in the league. Battle is a one-man scoring machine, and Edwards is an all-conference caliber player when healthy.

The Bearcats will try to take advantage of WVU’s shaky ball handling, but the Mountaineers can do the same on the other end. WVU’s primary defensive weakness this year has been in transition, and while the Bearcats like to push tempo, they’re just 282nd nationally in points per possession in the open floor.

The market has certainly accounted for the return of Edwards and the home spot for WVU. KenPom makes this game a seven-point spread. But there’s still value to be sucked out at +3, as the Mountaineers should have a strong chance of winning outright and continuing their impressive play at home.

Pick: West Virginia +3.5 (Play to +3)

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Arkansas vs. Missouri

Wednesday, Jan. 31
8:30 p.m. ET
SEC Network
Missouri -6

By Ky McKeon

Both Arkansas and Missouri have struggled this season to repeat the success both programs enjoyed in 2022-23. Both squads are among the worst ATS teams in the country at 5-15, and both sit in the bottom three of the SEC standings as we head into February.

But Arkansas is in far more disarray right now than Mizzou.

Expected by many to be a top-15 team, the Razorbacks have completely tanked in SEC play. At 0-3 straight up and against the spread with a -13.7 average coverage margin in SEC road games, Arkansas is arguably the worst team away from home in the conference.

Recently, the Hogs kicked senior starter Devo Davis off the team, and former Mizzou transfer and potential first-round NBA draft pick Trevon Brazile is dealing with a knee injury and is questionable tonight.

For all of Mizzou’s lineup issues — primarily head coach Dennis Gates tinkering with every possible permutation to the point where no rhythm can be established — the Tigers are at least competing in just about every game.

And they're hungry for their first SEC win of the season.

The crowd should be a factor tonight, as it was last season when Mizzou pulled off a dramatic comeback to upend the Razorbacks in the final minutes. Mizzou’s number one weakness on the defensive end — guarding the 3-point line — won’t be exploited by the worst 3-point shooting team in the conference.

Perhaps a friendly Columbia whistle will help keep Arkansas at a reasonable free throw count.

Mizzou’s offense is at its best when it can score in transition. Per Hoop-Math, Arkansas is 340th nationally in allowing transition opportunities and, per Synergy, is 234th in points per possession allowed in transition.

In the half court, Mizzou will settle into an offense that uses some Princeton cut principles but also revolves heavily around point guard Sean East II creating out of ball screens.

Arkansas has been repeatedly burned off back-cuts all season and is just 208th in points per possession allowed to ball handlers in pick-and-roll action, per Synergy.

Arkansas is truly a team in disarray. Rumors are growing louder that head coach Eric Musselman will be looking to take his talents to greener pastures this offseason, and the roster clearly hasn’t gelled all year.

Mizzou has an opportunity to nab its first SEC win and start its challenging journey up the SEC standings as the back-end of conference play begins.

Pick: Missouri -6

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May 21, 2024 UTC