Friday’s College Basketball Best Bets

Friday’s College Basketball Best Bets article feature image
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Photo by Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Fran McCaffery (Iowa)

The game of Thursday night came in Lincoln, Nebraska, as the Cornhuskers rallied past the No. 6-ranked Wisconsin Badgers to notch a massive victory.

Tonight, the drama may not reach that level, but that doesn't mean there isn't betting value to be had. Here's our college basketball best bets.


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.
7 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.

Siena vs. Rider

Friday, Feb. 2
7 p.m. ET
ESPN+
Siena +11

By Matt Cox

There’s a long line of Siena backers in today’s betting market.

The early birds picked off the soft openers at +14 and +13, and money continues to pile in on the Saints — and for good reason.

Siena’s disastrous non-conference campaign, pillaged by a MASH unit of injuries, has created one of the premier “buy low” opportunities of the CBB betting market this season.

However, this stock is not a lock, by any stretch. Siena has failed to cover its last two games, directly coinciding with Sean Durugordon’s hamstring injury, which caused him to sit out last weekend’s contests against Iona and Saint Peter’s.

There’s no official word on his status tonight — head coach Carmen Maciariello called him day-to-day this week in practice — but Durugordon was close to playing last weekend. He went through warm-ups and opted to sit out for precautionary reasons.

Fellow perimeter weapon Michael Eley is also on the mend, which could gut Siena of its top two players for a third game in a row.

We’re no doctors here, but logic would imply Durugordon is a slight favorite to suit up tonight against the Broncs, who are 42-53-1 against the spread as a home favorite under Kevin Baggett.

If he does play, this line is 4-5 points too high. If he doesn’t, this price is fair, and your edge shifts to a situational fade of Baggett and his untrustworthy Broncs.

Pick: Siena +11 (Play to +10)


Ohio State vs. Iowa

Friday, Feb. 2
7 p.m. ET
FS1
Iowa -5

By Matt Cox

Death, taxes, Big Ten home teams. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

Big Ten teams are 38-28-1 against the number this season on their home turf, a continuation of an annual tradition that dates back nearly a decade.

The increasing notoriety of this angle has nudged oddsmakers and early bettors to shade these lines toward the home teams, so auto-betting Big Ten home teams is not advised.

However, this matchup is a rare instance in which the market isn’t forcing you to pay a tax for the spot. KenPom projects this as a five-point game, right in line with the market.

Clearly, there’s a distrust of Iowa in the market, and justifiably so. However, pinned against the sharply fading Buckeyes, Iowa’s shaky form suddenly looks appetizing.

The Hawkeyes are off two straight home losses — one at the hands of Purdue and one being a late-game collapse against Maryland. Just before that stretch, Iowa hung 86 and 94 points in consecutive defeats over Rutgers and Nebraska, respectively.

This is a prime get-right spot for Iowa, and one of the few opportunities left this season — presumably — to back a Big Ten home team at a reasonable number.

Pick: Iowa -5

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Fairfield vs. Iona

Friday, Feb. 2
7 p.m. ET
ESPN+
Over 145.5

By Matt Cox

The MAAC can be a death trap for scoring, but the Stags and the Gaels are cut from a different cloth.

Fairfield, the league’s surprising upriser, is built on perimeter speed and long-range shooting, enabled by a deep stable of guards. While physical guards Jasper Floyd and Jalen Leach carry stout defensive reputations, their cohorts — Caleb Fields and Brycen Goodine — are the ones igniting the league’s top offense.

On the other side, Iona’s roller-coaster season has forced Tobin Anderson to curb his preferred tempo — at least for now. Anderson is still committed to manifesting a breakneck pace, just not at the expense of turnovers and wasted offensive possessions ruined by forcing fast breaks.

However, there’s early evidence of the offense shifting into overdrive.

We saw Iona’s offense explode last weekend against Quinnipiac, as the Gaels poured in 87 points. Two nights later, Siena’s quirky zones forced Iona out of transition and into the half-court. Tonight, Iona is once again paired with a favorable “over” partner in Fairfield.

There’s reason to be worried about Idan Tretout’s status — Iona’s lead creator missed last weekend with a sprained ankle — but the matchup edge here overrides that concern.

Plus, Anderson raved about rookie Jeremiah Quigley’s play in his stead, so the loss of Tretout may not cripple the offense to the degree some anticipate.

All in all, this feels like a game in the 150s, regardless of Tretout’s availability.

Pick: Over 145.5 (Play to 148)

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