College Basketball Best Bets | Wednesday’s Picks

College Basketball Best Bets | Wednesday’s Picks article feature image

Photo by Tommy Martino/University of Montana/Getty Images. Pictured: Dillon Jones (Weber State)

Four ranked teams take the court on Wednesday in college basketball, including No. 25 Northwestern, which faces Chicago State.

We have that game covered and more, with college basketball best bets and Three Man Weave's three picks for Wednesday.

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
8 p.m.
8 p.m.
10 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.

Tennessee State vs. Liberty

Wednesday, Dec. 13
8 p.m. ET
Liberty -13.5

By Ky McKeon

Liberty hosts Tennessee State tonight as it hopes to get back on track after dropping three of its past four contests. The Flames have played a challenging schedule, and they’ve triumphed convincingly over a handful of good teams.

While TSU is improving as a program, it’s not in the same class as Liberty.

It’s hard to beat Liberty if you can’t shoot. Flames head coach Ritchie McKay, inspired by Virginia’s Tony Bennett, is a pack-line enthusiast. His squads protect the inside of the arc like a tortoise’s shell protects its back. Dribble penetration is nearly impossible, which is bad news for a Tiger team that relies on ball screens in the half court.

TSU is shooting just 30.1% from deep this year, the 277th-best mark in the country. While the Tigers have an advantage in the athleticism department, their lack of shooting and inability to crack the tortoise's shell should spell doom offensively tonight.

Liberty also has an excellent transition defense, rarely allowing opportunities and keeping scoring to a minimum when it does. Tennessee State performs better when it can get out in the open floor, allowing its talented guards to improvise in space.

On the other end, Liberty is far too efficient and disciplined for TSU’s aggressive, pressure defense to handle. The Flames protect the ball at one of the best marks in the country, everyone on the floor is a threat to pull from deep and they rarely miss inside the paint.

Against Oregon, TSU allowed a whopping 1.30 points per possession, and tonight, we could see something similar.

Pick: Liberty -13.5 (Play to -15)

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Chicago State vs. Northwestern

Wednesday, Dec. 13
8 p.m. ET
Big Ten Network
Northwestern -23.5

By Ky McKeon

Chicago State has been one of college basketball’s best stories over the past two-plus seasons under Gerald Gillion. Gillion has lifted the program back into competency, and his success has been rewarded by entrance into the NEC next season.

But Chicago State still can’t compete with Northwestern, its northern neighbor that's a nightmare matchup in every facet.

Just look at the scores of past matchups. Gillion’s squad lost by 31 last season in its opening game. Prior to Gillion, CSU lost by 45 in 2020, 42 in 2018 and 67 in 2017.

The chief concern tonight for CSU is turnovers. Northwestern is elite at forcing them, ranking 14th nationally in defensive turnover rate, per KenPom. Even the surest ball-handling squads can struggle with Northwestern’s backcourt quickness and physicality.

Chicago State ranks just 294th in offensive turnover rate, meaning we should see north of 15 — or even 20 — giveaways tonight in Evanston.

Offensively, Chicago State can't shoot. Instead, the Cougars rely on their talented wings and guards to attack the rim with reckless abandon in hopes for a deuce or trip to the foul line.

Northwestern is a bear to score against inside, where 7-foot center Matthew Nicholson and his national top-30 block rate lie in wait.

On the other end, if Chicago State can’t disrupt ball handlers and force a turnover, it’s often two points for the opposition. There’s been three teams in the entire country better than Northwestern at protecting the rock this season; experienced handlers like Boo Buie, Brooks Barnhizer and Ty Berry won’t be bothered by Chicago State pressure.

Once past the initial line of defense, it should be layup lines for the Wildcats inside. Per CBB Analytics, Chicago State ranks in the ninth percentile in field goal attempt rate allowed at the rim and in the 18th percentile in field goal percentage allowed.

In the Battle for Chicago, the Big Ten team should emerge victorious in a blowout.

Pick: Northwestern -23.5 (Play to -26)

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Weber State vs. Nevada

Wednesday, Dec. 13
10 p.m. ET
Mountain West Network
Weber State +9.5

By Ky McKeon

Playing against Weber State is like taking a trip to the dentist. With their physicality and ability to grind games down to a crawl, the Wildcats are among the tougher teams to blow out in the country.

Having an NBA player on the roster doesn’t hurt either. 6-foot-6 forward Dillon Jones is among the best players in the nation and has led college basketball in defensive rebounding rate two years running.

Nevada is no slouch itself, and the Wolf Pack are a real threat to return to the Big Dance as an at-large.

But cracks have begun to show after a liquid hot start to the season. Last week, UC Davis played the Wolf Pack to a stalemate for a good 30-35 minutes, and on Saturday, Drake took them down by 19.

Beating Weber by double digits is an extremely tall order. Weber has turned just about every contest into a half-court affair; it rarely fouls, and it controls the defensive glass.

Nevada’s edge will come at the rim tonight — where the Wildcats have been weak — but it likely won’t see its normal free-throw barrage that has led to much of its success.

Offensively, Weber has struggled to score at times, but Jones’ shot-making and facilitation ability gives it a fighting chance on every possession.

There’s also reason to believe positive shooting regression is in order. Weber has shot just 30.8% from distance this season, but its two primary gunners — Steven Verplancken and Dyson Koehler — are much better shooters than their early percentages have shown.

Put your faith in the Fighting Wildcats, as they look to repeat their Saint Mary’s road-warrior performance.

Pick: Weber State +9.5 (Play to +9)

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