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College Basketball Best Bets: Our Staff’s 3 Top Selections for Thursday, Including Ohio State vs. Indiana

College Basketball Best Bets: Our Staff’s 3 Top Selections for Thursday, Including Ohio State vs. Indiana article feature image
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Only four ranked teams are in action on Thursday evening in college basketball, but that doesn’t take away from the value that is currently on the board.

Our staff is eyeing three games tonight — including one interesting duel in the Big Ten — to build their betting cards around.

Below you will find the reason for each selection as you try to pad your wallet before the weekend.


Thursday’s College Basketball Best Bets

The team logos in the table below represent each of the matchups that our college basketball staff is targeting from today’s slate of games. Click the team logos for one the matchups below to navigate to a specific bet discussed in this article.

Game
Time
Pick
7 p.m. ET
Indiana -2.5
7 p.m. ET
Vermont -10
8 p.m. ET
Under 124
Specific bet 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.

Ohio State vs. Indiana

Thursday, Jan. 6
7 p.m. ET
FS1
Indiana -2.5

By Mike McNamara

I’ll take the Hoosiers to bounce back at home here after a rough road loss to Penn State their last time out.

The interior combination of Trayce Jackson-Davis and Race Thompson continues to be one of the more formidable in the country, and with Seth Towns and Justice Sueing still out for the Buckeyes, the two should be in line for a big night.

Kyle Young is also questionable for OSU, and if he can’t go, that would be a huge loss for the Buckeyes’ interior.

Chris Holtmann and the Buckeyes are off to another strong start despite the shorthanded roster, and E.J. Liddell is a legitimate Naismith Award candidate. There’s little doubt Holtmann will have his team ready to go on the road, but I think this is a great buy-low spot on the Hoosiers.

When Indiana has struggled, it has been in the half-court on the offensive end. Jackson-Davis should get a touch on every possession, and Woodson’s team needs more consistency from wings Miller Kopp and Parker Stewart.

Assembly Hall will be rocking, and Indiana knows it needs to get it done at home.

Give me the Hoosiers as a short favorite.

Pick: Indiana -2.5 (Play to -3)



New Hampshire vs. Vermont

Thursday, Jan. 6
7 p.m. ET
ESPNU
Vermont -10

By Kyle Remillard

New Hampshire makes its annual trip to Vermont for the yearly tradition of getting its butt kicked. The Wildcats have lost 13 straight to Vermont and won once over their last 19 matchups.

UNH has lost to the Catamounts by double digits in every game since 2016, with an average score of 71-54. The result in the last four matchups that were played in Burlington have ended nearly the same way.

2020 2019 2018 2017 Average
New Hampshire 50 44 58 41 48
Vermont 74 73 71 74 73
Margin of Victory 24 29 13 33 25

Last season, UNH was fortunate to avoid Vermont due to a condensed schedule. But in 2019, the Wildcats went on a scoring drought that lasted over eight minutes in both games.

History aside, this Vermont team is stacked once again, with the offense running through 6-foot-8 forward Ryan Davis, who is putting up 17 points and six rebounds per game. He’s led the offense to the 31st ranking in 2-point field goal percentage, hitting 54%.

The same can be said on the defensive end of the floor, where the Catamounts hold opponents to 42% of 2-point attempts, good for fifth-best in the nation.

UNH is 5-4 on the season, with two of its wins coming against teams ranked 330th or worse and another two versus non-ranked teams.

The group relies on the 3-point line for most of its scoring and has hit at 36% this season. Vermont has been strong at defending beyond the arc this season, and will once again impose its dominance against UNH in this America East matchup.

Pick: Vermont -10 (Play to -12)



UAB vs. North Texas

Thursday, Jan. 6
8 p.m. ET
CBS Sports Network
Under 124

By D.J. James

North Texas is 1-7-1 to the over this season and also plays at the second-slowest adjusted tempo in college basketball, per KenPom. It utilizes, on average, 21.1 seconds per possession on offense and forces opponents to use up an average of 17.3 seconds of their shot clock.

The Mean Green also shoot only 31.5% from 3-point range and 47.4% from inside the arc. Since they have a top-40 defense, all of these signal under.

In addition, UAB holds opponents to an average of 17.5 seconds per possession on defense. This basically says the North Texas possessions will be sluggish.

Now, the Blazers do shoot 37.2% from distance. However, the Mean Green defend the arc extremely well with JJ Murray and Tylor Perry. They allow an average of only 28.1% from 3-point land.

North Texas launches a ton of 3s, so if they don’t fall, it will not be in a strong position for much offense. UAB doesn’t shoot much from downtown, so expect this game to go under the total — as most Mean Green games have.

The market has not quite caught up, so there’s still plenty of value in these unders.

Pick: Under 124 (Under 121)



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