College Basketball Best Bets for Monday

College Basketball Best Bets for Monday article feature image

Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images. Pictured: Greg Kampe (Oakland)

No ranked teams are in action in college basketball on Monday, but that doesn't mean there isn't plenty of value on the odds board.

Dive in below for college basketball best bets and Monday's Three Man Weave picks, including Oakland vs. Michigan State and more on December 18. Jim Root, you're up!

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.
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.

Oakland vs. Michigan State

Monday, Dec. 18
7 p.m. ET
Big Ten Network
Oakland +16.5

By Jim Root

Monday’s schedule doesn't offer much in the way of marquee games, but a local showdown between Oakland and Michigan State is quietly intriguing.

Two of the longest-tenured coaches in the entire country — Oakland’s Greg Kampe and Michigan State’s Tom Izzo — are quite familiar with each other. The two teams play every season, and Oakland has covered two of the previous three meetings.

The familiarity is amplified by the presence of Rocket Watts, a former Spartan and current Golden Grizzly.

Oakland has been a road underdog three times this year, going 3-0 against the number and covering by nearly 15 points per game. The Golden Grizzlies gave two other Big Ten teams — Ohio State and Illinois — everything they could handle, and they won outright at Xavier.

The environment will not intimidate Oakland.

Kampe’s defensive strategy — keep foes on the perimeter, force them to shoot over the top via a compact zone — should work here. The Spartans have been an awful shooting team this season, ranking 322nd in 3-point attempt rate and 216th in 3-point percentage.

Additionally, this line is slightly inflated by Michigan State’s utter demolition of Baylor this past weekend. In the ultimate buy-low spot for the Spartans, they thrashed the previously undefeated Bears by 24 points.

Repeating a similarly flawless performance in a letdown spot 48 hours later against a scrappy underdog will be a major challenge.

Pick: Oakland +16.5 (Play to +15)

Maryland Eastern Shore vs. Marist

Monday, Dec. 18
7 p.m. ET
Under 131.5

By Jim Root

Two mid-majors that compete and win via defense meet on Monday. I'm banking on those defenses carrying the day here, ideally devolving this low-total game into a grinding rock fight.

While UMES has experienced a more competitive spell under fifth-year coach Jason Crafton, that's almost always been because of the Hawks’ defense.

In his tenure, UMES hasn't ranked higher than 345th in KenPom’s Adjusted Offensive Efficiency rankings. This year’s team sits at 355th in that metric, comfortably in the bottom 10 in the entire country.

Marist’s offense isn't quite that bad, but its defense is unquestionably its strength as well. That's a John Dunne tradition: In 19 years as a head coach, his team’s defense has ranked higher than his offense (per KenPom) in 18 of them.

He's a tremendous teacher and game planner on that end, and Marist's ability to make foes uncomfortable is a clear edge.

Pace-wise, neither is looking to get out in transition. This game should largely be played in the half court, with only Eastern Shore’s press being a potential downfall that could speed the game up.

Pick: Under 131.5 (Play to 130)

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Eastern Washington vs. Cal Poly

Monday, Dec. 18
10 p.m. ET
Under 146.5

By Jim Root

Christmas break is quickly approaching for all college basketball teams, creating some odd spots in the schedule. Eastern Washington heads down the coast to California to take on Cal Poly in one of the final non-conference contests for both squads.

This matchup brings a huge pace battle. The visiting Eagles are an up-tempo squad, typically looking to boost their scoring opportunities via transition. The host Mustangs, on the other hand, attempt to shorten games by grinding in the half court.

For this game to go over the total, Eastern Washington will have to control the tempo. Cal Poly wants to play in the mud, slowing things to a slog.

With a huge in-state showdown looming on Thursday, EWU’s incentive to speed things up on the road might be less than usual.

In addition to a slower pace, shooting regression will hopefully be an ally of this wager. Per ShotQuality, both EWU’s own jump shooting and that of its opponents is due for a downturn — both from 3-point range and in the mid-range.

Cal Poly’s numbers are truer to form, but even some cold shooting on one side of the court could be enough to keep this game under.

Pick: Under 146.5 (Play to 144)

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