Wednesday’s College Basketball Best Bets

Wednesday’s College Basketball Best Bets article feature image

Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images. Pictured: Jeremiah Oden (DePaul)

We have multiple ranked matchups in college basketball tonight — No. 18 Creighton vs. No. 1 UConn and No. 25 Texas Tech vs. No. 5 Houston — but the best value on Wednesday comes from the off-the-radar matchups.

Dive in below for college basketball best bets and Three Man Weave's three picks for Wednesday, January 17.

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
6 p.m.
8 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.

Furman vs. VMI

Wednesday, Jan. 17
6 p.m. ET
Furman -15.5

By Ky McKeon

This is a “name your number” game for Furman. The Paladins are finally getting healthier after their three best players missed time with injury. JP Pegues and Alex Williams are now on their fourth game back in the fold, leading Furman to two consecutive covers in the past two contests.

And it’s highly likely Marcus Foster — Furman’s leading scorer — makes his triumphant return to the lineup tonight after missing the past nine games.

While Furman is back on the upswing, VMI is in free fall. Talented freshman wing Koree Cotton announced he was transferring in late December, and since then, the Keydets are just 1-3 against the spread.

Head coach Andrew Wilson is in full-send mode from a tempo perspective, ignoring his team’s talent and playing as fast as humanly possible in SoCon games. VMI’s pace in conference play has been faster than the speed of light. In four games, VMI’s Adjusted Tempo is up over 80 possessions per game, which would be by far the fastest mark in the country if stretched over the entire season.

So, we have a talented Furman team getting all its pieces in place against a free-falling VMI squad that hasn’t won a game against D-I competition all year. And those two teams will likely play over 80 possessions tonight, as Furman loves to run as much as just about anyone in the country.

It would be a little shocking to see the Paladins fall short of the century mark tonight, as VMI has allowed 109 and 134 points in its past two contests. That should be plenty to cover the lofty spread.

Pick: Furman -15.5 (Play to -16)

Valparaiso vs. Evansville

Wednesday, Jan. 17
8 p.m. ET
Evansville -5.5

By Ky McKeon

Evansville had one of the more impressive non-conference performances nobody knew about. Coming off a 5-27 season with a roster still light on talent — at least on paper — the Aces were expected to be one of the nation’s worst teams.

Instead, they rattled off a 9-2 non-conference record and began the Valley season with a 1-1 mark.

Then Ben Humrichous — arguably Evansville’s best player — went down with injury. And the schedule got significantly harder.

With Humrichous in the lineup, Evansville is 10-2 overall (one non-D1 win) and 8-3 against the spread. Without Humrichous, the Aces are 0-5 straight up and 2-3 against the number.

In that five-game stretch, Evansville has played Cincinnati and four of the top Valley squads. Tonight, the Aces get a reprieve with Valpo — the hands-down worst team in the league — coming to town.

Even without Humrichous, the Aces should take care of business tonight. They have consistently rolled teams ranked outside the KenPom top 300, going 4-0 against the spread with a +16.75 cover margin.

The Aces should dominate the paint with Yacine Toumi controlling the glass, and they have multiple weapons including Kenny Strawbridge Jr., Antonio Thomas and Chuck Bailey III to put points on the board.

Defense has been Evansville’s Achilles' heel in conference play, as it's currently rank dead last in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency. But scheduling has skewed that number, and the Beacons are the league’s worst offense by a considerable margin.

This should be a get-right game for second-year head coach David Ragland and his Purple Aces.

Pick: Evansville -5.5 (Play to -7)

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Providence vs. DePaul

Wednesday, Jan. 17
9 p.m. ET
DePaul +9.5

By Ky McKeon

Oh no. What are we doing? Are we really going to back the DePaul Blue Demons, arguably the worst power-conference team in the country? Yes, yes we are.

Backing DePaul tonight in a gym that will be maybe 33% full is a scary notion, but until the Georgetown Hoyas come to Chicago in late February, this is the program’s only realistic shot at a Big East win.

In every other contest, DePaul will be over a 10-point 'dog, so it needs to strike a wounded Friars squad with everything it's got.

Providence hasn’t been the same without Bryce Hopkins, one of its three primary two-way juggernauts who went down with an ACL tear against Seton Hall earlier this month. Hopkins was one of Providence’s only reliable offensive weapons.

Now an even heavier burden falls on the shoulders of Devin Carter and Josh Oduro. Hopkins was also one of Providence’s top defenders, and led the team in on/off defensive rating, per CBB Analytics.

Hopkins has missed three games, and the Friars have covered two of them. But digging deeper into those contests reveals major warts.

Creighton had Providence dead to rights, up 18 in the second half before a furious Friar comeback. Providence needed the Jays to shoot 30.4% from deep — well below their season average — to barely eke out a late-game cover.

Against St. John’s, Providence got down 20-5 immediately before again making a heroic comeback. The Johnnies missed 11 free throws and Carter went supernova, hitting tough shot after tough shot.

Everything finally fell apart against Xavier, as Providence was thoroughly dominated and decimated by 20 on its home floor.

Every team takes DePaul lightly, but the Friars really don’t have the firepower to do so. If either Carter or Oduro are having even slightly off-nights, DePaul can hang within double digits. Providence has no offensive option outside its "big two," and defensively, it’s given up 1.27 and 1.10 points per possession in its past two games.

Tonight, we’re holding our nose and backing DePaul, hoping the Big East’s second-worst offense can’t destroy the league’s worst defense, and hoping the possession count stays in the low-60s.

Pick: DePaul +9.5 (Play to +9)

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Nick Sterling
May 21, 2024 UTC