College Basketball Odds & Picks: 7 Ways To Bet Wednesday’s Games, Including Villanova vs. Creighton & UConn vs. Seton Hall
Mike Lawrie/Getty Images. Pictured: Collin Gillespie.
- Conference tournaments have started to ramp up, but the regular season for power conferences and others is just as intense.
- Our staff scoped out seven regular-season games and found betting value on them, ranging from Abilene Christian vs. Stephen F. Austin to Villanova vs. Creighton.
- Check out each individual pick complete with a breakdown below.
Conference tournaments are beginning to ramp up in the college basketball world, but that doesn’t mean the regular season is irrelevant. Far from it.
Our college hoops staff still has a keen eye out for betting value in many of the power conferences and others that haven’t started the postseason yet.
Of their seven bets for Wednesday, three come from the Big East, two come from the Southland, one comes from the ACC, and one comes from the Mountain West.
Check out each bet below, starting with Clemson vs. Syracuse at 5 p.m. ET and rolling through San Diego State vs. UNLV and Abilene Christian vs. Stephen F. Austin at 9 p.m.
Feel free to use the table below to navigate to any game included in our best bets.
College Basketball Odds & Picks
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Note: All photos below are via Getty Images.
Clemson vs. Syracuse
The Clemson Tigers head to the Carrier Dome looking for the season sweep over the Syracuse Orange on Wednesday.
These teams last met in early February when Clemson came out with a 78-61 victory, which has been part of a five-game win streak for the Tigers. In that five-game streak, Clemson has held opponents to just 56.0 points per game and allowed them to convert on only 37.8% from the field.
This Tigers defense ranks 11th nationally, allowing only 89.4 points per every 100 possessions, according to KenPom. Specifically, they feast on teams that rely on outside jumpers, something the Orange offense thrives on.
Syracuse allows offensive rebounds on 33.6% of an opponent’s misses, ranking 336th nationally, according to KenPom. The Tigers took advantage of that in the first meeting, out-rebounding the Orange, 42-25. Clemson won by 17 in the first game while also turning the ball over 20 times, something that Brad Brownell should ensure is cleaned up the second time facing Cuse’s zone defense.
Aamir Simms leads the Tigers in scoring, averaging 13.6 points per game and 6.2 rebounds. In the first matchup, he sat in the middle of the Cuse zone and made 7-of-9 attempts from the field for 18 points while grabbing 11 rebounds.
I believe we should see a similar game flow as that first matchup.
The Tigers are going to feed Simms at the foul line of the 2-3 zone, making the Orange vulnerable defensively. They will pressure the Orange guards, forcing them to take difficult contested outside jump shots.
I’m taking the points and backing the Tigers in a game they should win outright.
UConn vs. Seton Hall
By Mike Randle
Head coach Dan Hurley’s UConn Huskies are one of the hottest teams in college basketball.
Since the return of star guard James Bouknight from injury (20.5 PPG, 5.8 RPG), the Huskies have gone 3-1, including a close road loss at Villanova. UConn has won four of its past five games and has one of the best cover rates in college basketball at 13-4-1.
Seton Hall has been trending in the opposite direction, losing consecutive road games to Georgetown and Butler. The Pirates have failed to cover their last four games and six of their past eight contests. They earned an 80-73 win at Connecticut on Feb. 6, but Bouknight did not play.
The Pirates cannot shoot the 3 (31.2%), defend the 3 (37.4%), and turn the ball over at an alarming rate (eighth-worst in Big East play). In their first meeting, the Pirates shot 50% (9-of-18) from deep, an efficiency level unlikely to repeat.
I expect the Huskies’ conference-best defense to limit the Pirates, while their wealth of big men will contain Seton Hall’s 6-foot-11 leading-scorer Sandro Mamukelashvili (17.8 PPG, 7.1 RPG).
I’m laying the small number in a revenge spot for a UConn team with positive momentum.
St. John’s vs. Providence
The first time these two teams met in the first week of February, the Red Storm coasted offensively.
St. John’s posted its highest offensive efficiency in that game, scoring 1.28 points per possession. Right from the opening tip, Providence was not ready for the Johnnies’ up-tempo transition attack.
The Red Storm bolted to a 31-14 first-half lead they held on to in the second half despite a run from the Friars.
These teams play clashing styles, with Providence more comfortable slowing the ball down in the half-court and St. John’s preferring a fast-paced full-court game.
The Johnnies play at the fastest tempo in the Big East by a wide margin. St. John’s averages 73.6 possessions per game, a full three possessions more than the next fastest team. The gap between St. John’s and Xavier, the league’s second-fastest team, is the same number of possessions separating Xavier and Marquette, the league’s sixth-quickest team. That is a chasm that Big East teams have been unable to prepare for when facing St. John’s.
With St. John’s attacking in transition, the Red Storm will look to pile up points in the paint. No team in Big East play allows more scoring on 2-point baskets that Providence. With that advantage in its pocket, the smart money is on a St. John’s team that is 8-4 against the spread at home.
New Orleans vs. Northwestern State
No one loves to play at home more than the Privateers, as they have accumulated a 7-0 record against the spread at Lakefront Arena. These two teams met on Jan. 27, a Northwestern State win by eight in Natchitoches.
New Orleans held a five-point lead with 10 minutes left in the game before personal fouls and missed shots resulted in a victory for the Demons. From an advanced statistical perspective, there is plenty of reason to back New Orleans.
The Privateers work in the paint exclusively, ranking second in point distribution from inside the arc. Northwestern State has put up the worst numbers in 2-point defense in Southland Conference play. New Orleans should have plenty of putbacks to increase its chances of covering, ranking fourth in conference in offensive rebounding against Northwestern State, which sits at 11th in defensive rebounding.
The Demons were gifted in the first game when New Orleans was dealt with personal fouls. Although Northwestern State is first in the nation in bench minutes, this team struggles to create free-throw opportunities and shoots just 67% on the year from the charity stripe.
New Orleans has covered five straight and has not lost against the spread at home this season. Its inside game should lead a Privateers ticket to the window.
Villanova vs. Creighton
Both the Wildcats and Bluejays are in bounceback spots, but the two couldn’t be in more different headspaces.
For starters, Villanova has been rock-solid in bounceback spots dating back to the beginning of its championship run in 2015. In those situations, Nova has cashed 64.5% of the time at the betting window following a loss.
On the other side, we have a Creighton team mired in a major controversy.
Greg McDermott’s inappropriate commentary following the Jays’ loss to Xavier forced the players, coaches and staff to field tough questions in the last 24 hours. In a year chock full of off-court distractions, this feels even more disruptive than usual.
Digging a little deeper, this is a spot that Jay Wright typically dominates.
Since 2017, Villanova has played seven Big East “revenge games,” catching a conference opponent following an in-season loss. The Wildcats are 7-0 straight up in those situations and have won by average margin of 8.5 points per game. Some multi-year trends like this are meaningless to gamblers, but in my opinion, it speaks to the strength of Wright and his staff. As a matter of pure fact, the Cats simply don’t get worked by the same team very often.
And finally, we have the positive regression angle here for VU. This is the nation’s fifth-most efficient offense, so I’m comfortable banking on it recovering from a 2-for-27 performance from long range against Butler.
The bounceback/positive regression factors juxtaposed against the black cloud above Creighton’s program makes this an easy call.
San Diego State vs. UNLV
I’m not sure whether its fatigue or if people just forgot about the Aztecs, but they are rolling right through the Mountain West right now.
San Diego State has won 10 in a row, including a sweep over Boise State this weekend. The reason for that is because it owns the best offense in the conference, averaging a crazy 1.10 points per possession during Mountain West play.
The Aztecs have one huge advantage against UNLV’s defense on Thursda,y and it will come from behind the 3-point arc. San Diego State has the best 3-point percentage in the conference, shooting almost 40% while attempting 3s on 39% of its field goal attempts, so it’s truly capable of shooting teams right out of the gym.
SDSU will find life easy against the Rebels, who have the worst 3-point defense in the MWC, allowing 38.8% to their opponents.
UNLV has been poor offensively this season, averaging only 0.99 points per possession. The Rebels truly live and die by the 3-ball, as over 42% of their attempts come from deep.
The problem is San Diego State is one of the best defenses in the country and allows only 0.90 points per possession during conference play. The Aztecs don’t really have any weaknesses and have been fully healthy for a while now after going through some injuries early in the season. So, I think UNLV is going to have some difficulty finding consistency on offense.
I have the Aztecs projected as -12.41 favorites on the road, so I think there’s some value on them at -9.5, and I would play them up to -10.5.
Abilene Christian vs. Stephen F. Austin
I’m hoping that Clay Gayman comes out of a week-long concussion protocol for ACU. Even if not, this is just a great matchup for ACU.
The Wildcats play an aggressive no-middle defense that grades out as elite by any metric. They are holding opponents to 0.717 points per possession in the half-court, which ranks first nationally, per Synergy. They force plenty of turnovers (2nd in D-I) and prevent anything at the rim. That spells doom for the Lumberjacks, whose offense is predicated on getting to the hole. They also have major turnover issues, ranking 333rd in the country in turnover rate.
SFA also plays an aggressive brand of pressure defense that forces foes into turnovers at the seventh-highest clip in the country. However, ACU doesn’t have anywhere near the turnover issues that SFA does.
ACU won the first meeting by 20 despite shooting 6-of-24 from deep. I’m sure SFA will come out with its best effort, seeking revenge at home in a game with major implications in the Southland standings.
However, I expect the same from ACU, especially after blowing a 17-point lead on Saturday as massive favorites against Central Arkansas.
It’s also worth noting that SFA will be playing its third game in five days. Legs could be an issue for a team that doesn’t go terribly deep, especially in this particular matchup. The Gayman uncertainty is keeping this a bit smaller of a bet, but I love the matchup.