College Basketball Best Bets for Wednesday

College Basketball Best Bets for Wednesday article feature image
Credit:

Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images. Pictured: Malik Reneau (Indiana)

The game of the night lies in Coral Gables, Florida, but there's also plenty of betting value on the college basketball odds board beyond that ACC affair.

Dive in below for college basketball best bets and Three Man Weave's three picks for Wednesday, January 3. Ky McKeon, take it away!


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 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.

Saint Joe's vs. Rhode Island

Wednesday, Jan. 3
7 p.m. ET
ESPN+
Rhode Island +6

By Ky McKeon

A-10 play tips off tonight for several teams across the conference, including early-season darling Saint Joe’s, which knocked off Villanova and took the mighty Kentucky Wildcats to overtime in November.

But it’s the Hawks’ opponent we’re looking to back tonight instead.

Rhode Island has gotten off to a disappointing start with its revamped roster, as the Rams have tumbled all the way down to the A-10 basement, ranking 224th nationally, per KenPom.

But, as is the case for many teams, injuries have played a major role in their early struggles. Four rotation pieces have missed time this year, and Louisiana Tech transfer David Green just became eligible in the last contest.

Head coach Archie Miller now has his full roster at his disposal, and a new-look starting five in a win against Northeastern last time out could be the spark the Rams needed to get their season back on track. When healthy, URI is a talented group, and Green can be a total game-changer as an athletic stretch-4.

Saint Joe’s is dangerous and has proven it can play with any team in the country. But the Hawks can also play down to competition — look no further than a home loss to Texas A&M-Commerce. Billy Lange’s group is experienced but still prone to miscues.

In a hostile environment to tip off the conference season, anything can happen.

As a final kicker, look for shooting regression to potentially rear its ugly head. Saint Joe’s has allowed the fifth-highest 3-point attempt rate in the country, yet its opponents are shooting just 29.5% from deep.

While URI isn’t a team that depends on the 3, it has shooters that can make the Hawks pay on the perimeter.

Pick: Rhode Island +6 (Play to +5)


Maximize your Saint Joe's vs. URI action with our BetRivers promo code.


Duquesne vs. UMass

Wednesday, Jan. 3
7 p.m. ET
ESPN+
Duquesne +1.5

By Ky McKeon

UMass has been far better this season than anyone anticipated — likely even head coach Frank Martin. In just two months, the Minutemen have risen over 100 spots in KenPom’s Adjusted Efficiency rankings, driven by a handful of blowouts against inferior competition.

But UMass’ value has hit its peak. The Minutemen aren't a top-100 team, and a 9-3 record against a bottom-40 schedule with a 10-point loss to Towson hints at some playing cards holding up the proverbial house.

Duquesne, on the other hand, is legit. One of the oldest teams in the country and led by a wizard of a coach in Keith Dambrot, the Dukes look to be a real threat to win the A-10 this season. Duquesne largely avoided scheduling cupcakes in the non-conference and scored impressive wins against top-tier mid-major competition.

Tonight’s battle will be won in the paint. Both teams have dominated the offensive glass in the early going, while also being susceptible on the defensive end. Both teams have also used the free-throw line to manufacture points.

UMass’ best weapon this season has been St. Francis (PA) transfer Josh Cohen, a 6-foot-10 center scoring in the 93rd percentile on post-ups.

While Duquesne doesn’t have the height to necessarily match Cohen, it has plenty of length and depth up front. The Drame twins, David Dixon, Andrei Savrasov, Halil Barre and a getting-healthier Tre Williams form a deep frontcourt rotation.

Duquesne has been good at defending the post this season and ranks 19th nationally in field goal percentage allowed at the rim, per Hoop-Math.

The backcourt edge is clearly in Duquesne’s favor, as it has two of the best guards in the A-10 — Jimmy Clark III and Dae Dae Grant — running the show. They should feast on the less experienced UMass guards and be unbothered by pressure or funky zone looks.

UMass’ key perimeter piece has been Matt Cross, who's putting up major numbers in his senior season. Again, the Drame twins will be key here for Duquesne as long, versatile defenders capable of defending out on the perimeter or in the post while battling on the boards.

Tonight, UMass falls back to earth a bit while Duquesne kicks off its A-10 title quest with a victory.

Pick: Duquesne +1.5 (Play to -1)

Phone With the Action App Open
The must-have app for college basketball bettors
The best NCAAB betting scoreboard
Free picks from proven pros
Live win probabilities for your bets

Indiana vs. Nebraska

Wednesday, Jan. 3
9 p.m. ET
Big Ten Network
Indiana +5

By Ky McKeon

Indiana hasn’t been fun to watch this year. The Hoosiers have little to no shooting, play bully ball through a triumvirate of talented forwards and are good for a handful of boneheaded defensive plays every night.

And yet, there's no world in which Indiana should be a five-point dog — even on the road — to Nebraska.

The Huskers are much improved this season — to their credit — and have scored impressive wins over Michigan State and Kansas State. But they’ve also played one of the weakest schedules in the country and have yet to face an interior as imposing as Indiana’s.

Strength on strength will be at play here, with Indiana looking to pound the rock inside and draw fouls. Nebraska ranks 21st nationally in 2PFG% defense and 16th in free-throw rate allowed, again skewed by inferior competition.

In its two losses, Nebraska was bludgeoned inside, allowing Minnesota and Creighton to grab over 37% of their misses, a number that would rank top-20 in the country.

Personnel availability will be a huge factor in this one. Nebraska’s best big man — Rienk Mast — is a game-time decision, and Indiana’s Kel’el Ware missed last game due to COVID. There’s speculation that Ware will be available tonight, while Mast is very likely to be limited, even if given the go-ahead to suit-up.

Ware’s presence is key, and IU needs him to battle with Nebraska’s other bruising bigs, Brice Williams and Josiah Allick. If Ware is in and Mast can’t go or is limited, IU’s edge in the frontcourt is massive.

Xavier Johnson could also make his return for IU tonight, and while he’s not as important as Ware, there’s no denying his impact to a thin Hoosiers backcourt that desperately needs his playmaking and perimeter defense.

Indiana hasn’t lost to Nebraska since 2019. You could do worse than taking five points with a better team.

Pick: Indiana +5 (Play to +4)


The new ESPN Sportsbook is now online and you can use Action’s ESPN BET promo code TANBONUS for a new user welcome.


How would you rate this article?

This site contains commercial content. We may be compensated for the links provided on this page. The content on this page is for informational purposes only. Action Network makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the information given or the outcome of any game or event.

Sportsbook Promos
See All
Legal Online Sports Betting

bet365 Bonus Code TOPACTION: Grab a $1K First Bet or $150 Guaranteed Bonus for Mavs-Wolves, Any Wednesday Game

Doug Ziefel
May 22, 2024 UTC