College Basketball Best Bets: 5 Picks for Alabama vs. South Carolina, Kentucky vs. Arkansas, More (Tuesday, Feb. 9)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images. Pictured: John Petty Jr.
- Tuesday's college basketball slate brings more intriguing action from a fan and betting perspective.
- Our staff hand-picked four games from the slate and broke down a total of five bets for the night.
- Check out each individual betting breakdown complete with a pick ahead of tonight's tip-offs.
Tuesday is here, and so is more college basketball.
Just like Monday, Tuesday’s slate features intriguing matchups from both a fan and betting perspective.
Their five favorite games to bet for the slate include North Carolina Central vs. Florida A&M, Alabama vs. South Carolina, Bowling Green vs. Kent State, and Kentucky vs. Arkansas.
Check out full breakdowns and picks for all five games 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 Tuesday morning. Specific bet recommendations at the end of each matchup breakdown come from the sportsbook offering preferred odds as of writing on Tuesday morning.
Always shop for the best price using our NCAAB Odds page, which automatically surfaces the best lines for every game.
NC Central vs. Florida A&M
The Eagles and Rattlers met last night, with Florida A&M walking away with a 59-50 victory. To be honest, the low-scoring outcome wasn’t that surprising since these are two of the worst offenses in the country.
North Carolina Central only put up 0.79 points per possession Monday, which is lower than its season average of 0.97 points.
Quite frankly, the only offense the Eagles are able to generate comes from behind the 3-point arc. They shoot more than 38% from deep, but only attempt 3s on 34.9% of their field-goal attempts. Also, Florida A&M boasts one of the MEACs’ best perimeter defenses, allowing only 28.8% in conference play.
In fact, Florida A&M has featured the conference’s best defense this season, allowing under a point (0.89) per possession. So, it’s going to be difficult for North Carolina Central to make a drastic improvement from Monday night’s performance.
Florida A&M’s offense actually overperformed Monday by putting up 0.95 points per possession, which is better than its season average (0.87) in conference play.
The problem is it’s shooting the ball horrendously from everywhere. The Rattlers are hitting only 29.6% of their 3s, 47.1% of their shots inside the arc, and, 60.6% from the free-throw line.
They also have a turnover percentage of more than 22%, plus they’re one of the worst offensive rebounding teams in the conference. So, it’s safe to say that Monday’s performance might have been an outlier, even if Florida A&M did only score 59 points.
I only have 127.89 points projected for this game, so I think there’s plenty of value on the total staying under 135.5 points in this game.
Pick: Under 135.5
Alabama vs. South Carolina
Is it conceivable to take an under in a game where the teams rank top-15 in the nation in tempo?
With a KenPom projection of 152, it’s a good time to take inventory on an Alabama team that is shooting 39.6 percent from beyond the arc in conference play.
The Crimson Tide have not eclipsed their conference 3-point average since a Jan. 23 game against Mississippi State.
In the four games since, Alabama has gone under the total in four consecutive outings. If shots are not falling for Alabama, the under is in play with the SEC’s best defensive efficiency.
South Carolina has not shown the ability to defend the perimeter with respect to SEC peers, but the defense has excelled in turnovers. Alabama is 324th nationally in ball security, with a rank of 344th in offensive blocks, meaning South Carolina should have plenty of takeaways and provide contested shots.
The biggest key to this game going under is the free-throw rate. These teams rank 12th and 13th in SEC play when it comes to getting to the free-throw line.
If Alabama continues to regress from deep while neither team makes it to the line, a surprising under is in the works.
Pick: Under 156.5
Alabama vs. South Carolina
Each sport presents different challenges as you try to grind out wins at the betting window.
For instance, college football requires bettors to put their faith in deeply flawed teams that lose more than they win on the field but provide a handsome return against the spread. Arkansas football (3-7 SU | 7-3 ATS) is a great example of this from this past fall.
On the hardwood, one of the consistent challenges is deciding when to back teams coming off a loss. Recent bias can prove difficult to overcome, but if you want to play quality teams at ideal numbers, you need to look for spots providing the most value. And that usually occurs following a defeat.
Alabama has lost two of its last three games, both coming on the road against ranked opponents.
Aside from the fact South Carolina is a far cry from a ranked team, Alabama has been stellar against the spread following a defeat. This season, the Crimson Tide is 3-1 ATS following a loss and 12-6 in such scenarios since Nate Oats arrived.
South Carolina has been hammered at home recently, dropping games to Auburn and Mississippi State by 23 and 16 points, respectively.
The Gamecocks’ issues have stemmed from their non-existent defense. Teams are scoring at will and shooting very well from long range against them. Alabama fires up nearly 30 three-point attempts per game (fourth-most nationally), so it will attempt to play this strength-vs-weakness card all night long.
The Crimson Tide were a work-in-progress last year but still managed to score 90 points in regulation against this South Carolina team, and I foresee a similar outcome in this spot.
When Alabama has scored 80 points or more this season, it has gone 10-2 ATS, so in my mind, the magic number here is 80 points.
If you think the Tide can blow past that number, this should be one of your top plays.
Pick: Alabama -6.5
Bowling Green vs. Kent State
By Mike Randle
Bowling Green has been a disappointment this season after being predicted to finish first in the MAC preseason poll.
The Falcons have lost five consecutive games, including six of their past seven contests. However, I expect that streak to come to an end tonight when it hostsKent State.
The Golden Flashes are in third place in the MAC but have struggled without starting point guard Michael Nuga (17.8 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 1.5 spg) on the floor.
Kent State has gone 1-1 after Nuga suffered a season-ending knee injury and barely defeated Bowling Green, 96-91, at home with a full roster on Jan. 27.
In that game, the Golden Flashes shot a blistering 13-for-28 (46.4%) from behind the 3-point arc, which is a number likely to regress on the road against the Falcons.
Without their top guard, Kent State totaled 17 turnovers in a 72-61 home loss to Akron last Friday. I expect the Falcons to give a spirited effort against their MAC rival at home, and the loss of Nuga will continue to disrupt the Kent State offense.
With seniors Justin Turner (20.2 ppg) and Daeqwon Plowden (12.7 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 37.3% 3) leading the way, look for the Falcons to end their losing streak at the expense of a shorthanded Kent State team.
Pick: Bowling Green -1
Kentucky vs. Arkansas
Most people will see a 14-5 team as an underdog against a 5-12 team, then jump all over the dog. That will be a losing strategy in this game, as Arkansas might not be the same quality as most 14-5 teams.
When facing opponents who are ranked 50th or worse in the country, according to KenPom, the Razorbacks are 14-0.
They’ve outscored those opponents by an average margin of 23.8 points. However, when facing quality opponents inside the top-50 ranking, Arkansas is 0-5 on the season.
Arkansas has struggled away from home this year. The Razorbacks are 12-1 at home while just 2-4 on the road. Tonight, they face a Kentucky team that has struggled, but feature the individual talent of a top-tier program.
As usual, head coach John Calipari has four of the top 28 freshman recruits — including the fourth- and eighth-ranked players on his roster this year.
Unlike past seasons, Kentucky will need to win the SEC Tournament in order to get into the NCAA Tournament.
The Wildcats were beating 12th-ranked Tennessee by double digits for the majority of the game last time out before fumbling the game away. Kentucky will now look to gain momentum against a less-talented Arkansas team.
That said, tonight will be the night the Wildcats are able to put it together for all 40 minutes and secure a home win.
Pick: Kentucky Pick’Em