College Basketball Best Bets: Our Staff’s 5 Top Picks for Tuesday, Including Alabama vs. Vanderbilt
Photo by Kevin Langley/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Jaden Shackelford (Alabama)
If you’re looking for power-conference bets to take for Tuesday’s college basketball slate, you’ve come to the right place.
Below, our staff dives into four games — and offers up five top selections — for today’s schedule, including two SEC affairs, a critical revenge game in the Big East and a Big 12 showdown featuring a top-10 squad.
So, get your college hoops betting card set and your week started with a bang with these picks.
Tuesday’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.
|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.|
Arkansas vs. Florida
Arkansas and Florida square off for the first and only time in SEC regular-season play Tuesday night. It’s an important game for both for different reasons.
The Razorbacks are as hot as any team in the country right now. The Hogs have won 11 of their last 12, with the sole loss coming by a point in a tight game at Alabama.
As a result of the winning streak, Arkansas has gone from being in a precarious position to comfortably in the tournament field and inside the top-25.
As for the Gators, this is a big opportunity to put themselves right back in the mix for an NCAA Tournament bid. Things were looking pretty grim in Gainesville until Saturday, when Florida knocked off No. 2 Auburn, 63-62.
I don’t anticipate a letdown spot here for Florida, but rather the opposite. The win over Auburn injected a lot of hope back into this team, and welcoming in another top-20 team to the O’Connell Center is the perfect way to build off of that.
The Gators finally have Colin Castleton back healthy, and he is pivotal for them on both ends of the floor. Castleton should be able to neutralize what Jaylin Williams does at the rim for Arkansas, and he has also been very efficient on the low block.
Arkansas’ recent winning ways are definitely no fluke, but I think the streak finds a bump in the road tonight at the O’Dome.
I’m backing Florida +1.5 in a game I expect the Gators to win, keeping their tournament hopes alive in the process.
Pick: Florida +1.5 (Play to PK)
Oklahoma vs. Texas Tech
By Doug Ziefel
These two teams met not all that long ago, and the outcome of that matchup is almost the exact opposite of what oddsmakers are expecting this time around.
The vaunted Red Raiders defense seemed to be no trouble for Oklahoma’s Umoja Gibson, as he dropped 30 points to lead the Sooners to a 70-55 victory.
While Gibson’s performance was the highlight of the first meeting, the part I’m keying in on is Texas Tech’s shooting performance. It shot 39.6% from the field and was horrendous from deep, going 2-for-17.
This is a Texas Tech team that is usually much better offensively, as it holds an effective field goal percentage of 52.1%.
The Red Raiders were also uncharacteristically unable to get to the free-throw line and out-rebound their opponent. Safe to say, there is positive regression coming for Texas Tech in this one.
I am not expecting a repeat performance by Oklahoma, but if it can perform half as well as it did in the first meeting, that will bode well for the over here. The Sooners drained 49% of their shots and went 13-of-28 from behind the arc.
Combine a fraction of that performance with a much improved Red Raiders offense, and you have yourself an over.
Pick: Over 129.5 (Play to 130.5)
Villanova vs. UConn
Villanova controls its own destiny to win the Big East regular-season crown. The Wildcats will need to defeat Connecticut, Providence and Butler to make that a reality.
Villanova’s offensive attack is simple, utilizing the pick-and-roll offense with a plethora of shooters ready to fire around the perimeter. Providence was unable to slow down that pick-and-roll offense on Feb. 15, and the Wildcats torched the Friars from deep, hitting 48% of their 23 3-point attempts.
Connecticut ranks 37th in defending the pick-and-roll, according to ShotQuality. The group has been stout at shutting down the perimeter, only allowing opponents to take 31% of its shot attempts from beyond the arc.
When opponents bring it inside, they are shut down by the fourth-ranked 2-point defense. Connecticut’s length will present problems for Villanova’s offense to operate the same way it did against Providence.
Offensively, the Huskies will utilize that height to snag offensive rebounds, as they have done at the third-highest rate in the nation. The Huskies shot 50% on the road against Villanova in the first matchup, but it will be the defense that carries them to a victory in the rematch.
Playing a home, this is a perfect revenge spot for the Huskies. The crowd will be rowdy for a top-25 matchup, and a win in this spot will provide momentum for UConn heading into the Big East Tournament.
Pick: UConn -2 (Play to -3)
Villanova vs. UConn
By D.J. James
These are two of the slow-paced programs in the Big East. Yes, these are staple names, but be ready to watch a rock fight.
Villanova ranks 347th, according to KenPom’s adjusted tempo metric. The Wildcats usually occupy 19.5 seconds per possession on offense and boast a top-30 defense.
UConn, meanwhile, ranks 252nd in adjusted tempo — with a top-25 defense — and utilizes around 17.6 seconds per possession on offense and 17.7 seconds per possession on defense.
Now, even if Villanova typically likes to shoot 3-pointers — from which 37.4% of its total point distribution has come — it could potentially lose much of its inside game.
UConn has one of the best 2-point defenses in the country. Opponents are shooting only 42.0% on the season against the Huskies inside the arc.
That said, the Huskies do lack the defensive wherewithal on the perimeter, allowing 34% of 3s to go in. They need to shore that up, but since they are eliminating almost one facet of Villanova’s game entirely, that should count for something.
Also, neither team is particularly elite when it comes to defensive rebounding. Both hold the opposition to around 27% on the offensive glass, so this should tell bettors to expect very few possessions with multiple chances to score.
Finally, UConn looks to get shots in close, and it shoots only 48% on 2-pointers as a team. Unless the ball goes to Adama Sanogo or Isaiah Whaley — two of their more efficient shooters — the Huskies will miss pretty often.
Pick: Under 136 (Play to 133.5)
Alabama vs. Vanderbilt
No. 24 Alabama will be on the road this evening to tip off against Vanderbilt. This is the only scheduled meeting between the two programs this season.
Alabama has been impressive against the total this season, going 17-9-1 for a 65.4% over hit rate. Vanderbilt has been more reliable for Vegas, going 14-12 to the over and hitting the over 53.9% of the time.
Last season, when the two teams met in Tuscaloosa, the Tide walked away victorious by a final tally of 82-78. A combined 160 points were scored in that matchup. However, tonight’s game features an improved Vanderbilt team from last season.
The edge in this game is dual-pronged and hinges on the Vanderbilt offense and defense.
Vanderbilt’s defense ranks 43rd nationally in AdjD, allowing 96.3 points per 100 possessions. The Commodores will have their hands full with Alabama’s top-ranked offense, but they should be able to force enough turnovers and contested shots to keep this game in check.
On offense, Vanderbilt is slightly above average, registering an AdjO of 106 points per 100 possessions. It owns an effective field goal percentage that ranks 209th in the nation at 49.3%.
Lastly, look for Vanderbilt’s slower pace of play to counteract Alabama’s upbeat pace.
The market pricing from a perfect performance from Alabama on the road hasn’t properly discounted what the Vanderbilt defense has done in recent weeks.
Back the Vanderbilt defense to do enough to slow down the Alabama offense in Nashville this evening.
I project the total for this game at 141 points. This represents about 13 points of cushion relative to the stated line.
Pick: Under 154 (Play to 153)
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