College Basketball Best Bets: Our Staff’s Favorite Picks for Minnesota vs. Nebraska, Gonzaga vs. BYU, More (Monday, Feb. 8)
Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Jalen Suggs (left), Andrew Nembhard (middle), and Drew Timme (right).
- The Super Bowl is officially over, meaning basketball will take center stage for the next few months.
- Monday's college hoops slate features a number of games with betting value, including top-ranked Gonzaga vs. BYU.
- Our staff broke down four games on the slate and shared a betting pick for each, so check out each piece of analysis below.
The Super Bowl is over, which means it’s time for college basketball to take center stage.
That also means plenty of opportunities to roll over your winnings from the Big Game onto some college hoops.
It all starts with St. Francis BK vs. Long Island at 5 p.m. ET, which is followed by Minnesota vs. Nebraska in the Big Ten. Then, our writers close things out with Grambling State vs. Alcorn State and Zags vs. Cougars for the nightcap.
Check out full breakdowns and picks for each game below, and feel free to navigate to any game by using the table below.
College Basketball Odds & Picks
All listed odds have been updated as of Monday morning. Specific bet recommendations at the end of each matchup breakdown come from the sportsbook offering preferred odds as of writing on Monday morning.
Always shop for the best price using our NCAAB Odds page, which automatically surfaces the best lines for every game.
St. Francis BK vs. Long Island
When comparing head-to-head tempos for Monday’s slate, there was one game that stood out from the rest.
St. Francis BK and Long Island both rank in the top 10 nationally in pace but rank second and third in the NEC. Bryant is the fastest team in the NEC, and in a two-game sample set with the Terriers, the total points were 183 and 184.
KenPom projects this game at 157, but there may be a reason to expect even more points.
Long Island is the second-best team in the NEC at getting to the free-throw line, while St. Francis BK ranks ninth defensively in committing fouls.
Although the Sharks are one of the worst shooting teams from the charity stripe, there is expectation that they will have plenty of chances to add points with the clock stopped.
On the other side of the court, St. Francis BK has the best ball security rank on offense in the conference with a point distribution that heavily favors inside the arc.
Look for Travis Atson and Vuk Stevanic to have big nights for the Terriers, which may be complemented if Chauncey Hawkins returns after missing two games for undisclosed reasons. Hawkins’ last game came at home against this Long Island squad with a final score that totaled 190 points.
Pick: Over 156
Minnesota vs. Nebraska
The Golden Gophers were dominant at home earlier in the year, earning wins over Michigan by 18, Ohio State by 17, and Michigan State by 25.
Minnesota suffered a disappointing 63-49 loss to Maryland in its last home game, but I doubt that repeats again against the Cornhuskers.
Nebraska has lost six games in a row and ranks dead-last in the Big Ten in 2-point percentage allowed (56.4%). That’s bad news against 7-foot Liam Robbins, who is averaging 13.6 ppg and 7.1 rpg.
On offense, the Cornhuskers really struggle, shooting just 29.5% from 3-point land and 44.5% from inside the arc in conference play. Even worse, Nebraska is shooting just 64.3% overall from the free-throw line, ranking 318th in the nation.
The Golden Gophers can be challenged on the boards (311th in defensive rebounding percentage), but the Cornhuskers don’t have that ability.
Look for Marcus Carr (19.9 ppg) to lead the Gophers to a comfortable home win against a Nebraska team that has yet to win a true road game all season.
Pick: Minnesota -10
Grambling State vs. Alcorn State
Betting on SWAC basketball is not for the faint of heart — especially when you have the 320nd and 345th-ranked KenPom teams battling it out on a Monday after the Super Bowl.
Grambling State and Alcorn State met about a month ago, with Grambling walking away with a 79-74 win. In that game, Grambling dominated the paint, grabbing 10 offensive rebounds and shooting 56.8% from 2-point range. Not only that, but it got to the charity stripe a whopping 42 times.
Alcorn State’s defense has really struggled during conference play in almost every statistical category.
It’s allowing over 50% from 2-point range and a 31% offensive rebound rate. Not to mention, it allows one of the worst free-throw rates in the country at over 54%.
Alcorn State is also one of the worst teams in the country defending at the rim, allowing a whopping 67.9%, per Hoop-Math. Grambling’s offense has been pretty average, but it should be able to repeat putting up 1.05 points per possession like it did in the first meeting between the teams.
Grambling State’s defense has really turned up the pressure since conference play began, giving up only 0.92 points per possession.
The reason for that is that it’s been solid in almost every defensive category, including allowing only 31% from 3-point range. Alcorn State has been shooting the ball really poorly as of late, averaging under 40% from 2-point range in its last two games against Southern and Jackson State.
I have Grambling State projected as a -2.02 favorite, so I think there’s some value on the Tigers at +1.
Pick: Grambling State +1
Gonzaga vs. BYU
Gonzaga has reached the point in its season where motivation is the biggest storyline game-to-game.
The Zags sleep-walked through their last game against Pacific, only turning on the afterburners in the final 10 minutes. In retrospect, the Bulldogs’ game against the Tigers was a classic look-ahead spot, with BYU posing Gonzaga’s most difficult challenge prior to the WCC tournament next month.
The lackluster effort in the first 30 minutes against Pacific did provide Mark Few with the ammo to grab his starters’ attention.
“They took the fight to us for pretty much that whole first half. We just weren’t playing very smart. Plan A wasn’t working, plan B wasn’t working and we had to hang with it and we finally figured it out with plan C,” Few said.
I view it as a good thing that the Zags nearly covered as a 20+ point favorite despite having an off-night that included foul trouble for Corey Kispert.
Even Gonzaga isn’t immune to the February doldrums, but it’ll be locked in for this nationally televised matchup with BYU in Provo (15-4 SU | 11-6-1 ATS). Keep in mind, this is the same BYU team that handed Gonzaga its last WCC loss, when it dropped the No. 2 Zags by 13 at the Marriott Center on Feb. 20, last year.
For this parlay to hit, I need BYU to do its part from a scoring perspective, which means I need it to withstand the early onslaught from a motivated Gonzaga starting five.
I’m encouraged by BYU’s home performance ATS in recent years (58% since ‘18), its recent success (6-1 SU L7) and the style of basketball it prefers on its home floor (Over 16-7 since ‘19).
If the Cougars can keep things from in the 10-20 point range for the stretch run, Gonzaga won’t take its foot off the gas and should be able to blow past this total en route to a comfortable victory.
Pick: Gonzaga -10.5 & Over 155.5 Parlay (+260)