College Basketball Best Bets: Three Man Weave’s 3 Top Picks for Monday, Including Albany vs. Boston College
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It’s Monday in December. The slate only has nine lined games. Night off? No way!
Fortunately, we’re not forcing these, as the tiny board actually does offer value.
With that in mind, Jim Root from Three Man Weave has you covered with his three top selections for Monday in college basketball.
Monday’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.|
Sacred Heart vs. Columbia
First up is the Ivy’s resident terrible team hosting a traditionally feisty Sacred Heart squad.
Two vital storylines permeate this handicap. Both teams have a key injury note, and the tea leaves for each side have me thinking under.
For Columbia, big man Ike Nweke returned after a prolonged absence. The powerful forward completely changes the Lions’ dynamic, giving them a true interior anchor on both ends. With him out there, Jim Engles can play a more half court game; Nweke’s absence has forced him to allow his young guards to run.
Nweke also gives the Lions a sturdy interior defender. He’s not a shot-blocker in the traditional sense, but he eats space at the rim and smartly challenges finishes while also cleaning the glass.
On the other side, Sacred Heart is hoping to get point guard Aaron Clarke back from an ankle injury. Clarke is a terrific facilitator and a lethal shooter (44.4% from deep this year).
Though his backup, Joey Reilly, is plenty capable, Clarke is much more of a featured option — his usage is nearly 10% higher than Reilly’s.
To be clear, I expect Clarke to play after a week of rest. It may be in a somewhat limited capacity, though, and if he does happen to sit, that’s a huge bonus.
The combination of Nweke’s impact on the pace and Clarke’s balky ankle offer real value on the under, despite both defenses being awful.
Pick: Under 144.5 (Play to 141)
Indiana State vs. North Dakota State
This matchup consists of two teams I really like going forward. Both teams are well-coached with extremely versatile lineups, and that makes them dangerous on both ends of the floor.
The difference, then, is the health of each squad.
Indiana State has had players in and out of the lineup all season. Most recently, that has been Dearon Tucker, Kailex Stephens and Julian Larry, all of whom have started games this year. Xavier Bledson and Micah Thomas have also dealt with nagging injuries. All could return for this one, but the Sycamores are not a fully operational battle station quite yet.
North Dakota State, on the other hand, is a top-tier Summit squad that finally has its full contingent of weapons.
Sam Griesel missed the first month of the year after abdominal surgery, and his importance as a quasi-point guard cannot be overstated. This will be his third game back, and his work load should continue to ramp up (22 minutes on Friday).
Joining him is Jarius Cook, another starter who missed the Bison’s non-Division I game on December 2. Also, fellow wing Tyree Eady missed the season opener.
With the starting five now intact, expect the Bison to rise from their current KenPom rating (176th) up closer to where they finished last year (139th).
This is largely a number play. I do think NDSU has some matchup edges in how it can prepare for and guard the Sycamores’ clever offense, but it really comes down to the number being too short.
The market is surely aware of the healing Bison. Against Cal St. Northridge on Friday, NDSU took heavy money, soaring from -10.5 to a closing spread of -13.5.
Get in early if you can, as this may rise throughout the day.
Pick: North Dakota State -2.5 (Play to -5)
Albany vs. Boston College
The theme of this slate continues: it’s not glamorous. We head back to the extra board for the third best bet of the night, featuring an ACC cellar-dweller hosting a struggling America East squad.
To that last point — Albany has definitely had a rough go of it so far. New coach Dwayne Killings brought in a bevy of new pieces, both freshmen and transfers, and the team has not fully gelled. Temple forward De’Vondre Perry is a tough cover, but he needs help.
Through nine games, the Great Danes are just 2-7 against the spread. But both of those covers were as road underdogs (at La Salle, at Kentucky), and this spot sets up well for a third.
For one, this is an extremely low total game (currently sitting around 124 as I write this). Boston College lacks explosiveness offensively, making it tough to cover big numbers as a favorite.
That problem is exacerbated by the absence of Brevin Galloway, the Eagles’ most prolific deep threat. He is out until sometime in January after undergoing a knee procedure.
Neither team will push the pace, and that grinding tempo should favor the underdog. BC’s superior talent will have less of a chance to bear out, and to be honest, that talent gap is not as wide as it might seem. New Eagles’ coach Earl Grant pieced together a competitive roster, but this is not a typical ACC squad full of 4-star recruits and high-profile transfers.
T.J. Bickerstaff and James Karnik — the starting frontcourt — both hail from mid-major programs (Drexel and Lehigh, respectively). Freshman guards Kanye Jones and Jaeden Zackery were low 3-star recruits.
So long as Albany plays intelligent defense, this one should avoid turning into a laugher.
All of that is to say — I will take the dogs (Great Danes) as underdogs.