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College Basketball Best Bets: Three Man Weave’s 3 Top Picks for Monday, Including Maryland vs. Iowa

College Basketball Best Bets: Three Man Weave’s 3 Top Picks for Monday, Including Maryland vs. Iowa article feature image

Photo by David Purdy/Getty Images. Pictured: Keegan Murray (Iowa)

Beyond two ranked duels between Villanova and Seton Hall and Baylor and Iowa State, it was mostly a ho hum weekend in college basketball filled with cancellations and favorites notching victories.

But there’s good news ahead as conference play is heating up and many big games are on deck.

While Monday’s slate doesn’t necessarily offer any must-see showdowns, there is plenty of value from a bettor’s perspective. Jim Root from Three Man Weave recognized those three opportunities and made his best bets below.

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.

5 p.m. ET
Under 150
6 p.m. ET
Over 135.5
9 p.m. ET
Iowa -8
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.

Alabama State vs. Mississippi Valley State

Monday, Jan. 3
5 p.m. ET
MVSU Sports Network
Under 150

I cannot resist the allure of a Monday SWAC card, so you might as well come along for the ride.

Both of these teams are coached by names you might recognize: Mo Williams (Alabama State) and Lindsey Hunter (MVSU), both former NBA point guards.

Unquestionably, both coaches prefer an uptempo style, leading to such a lofty total.

That pace preference was also true last year, though, and the two duels between these squads sailed under the total. The first meeting had just 115 points and 62 possessions on a 144.5 total. The second one got closer with 133 points and 68 possessions on a 145 total, but again, it was a comfortable win.

Tempo projections for this matchup are through the roof: KenPom has it slated for 78 trips, a sky-high count for a conference game. That may be overstating things, though.

In particular, MVSU is playing much slower offensively than its overall tempo indicates. Getting blitzed by superior competition has inflated its pace projection, as teams have cut through its flimsy defense like a hot knife through butter.

MVSU has played one game against a team outside the top 250 (North Alabama), and that game had just 72 possessions and 130 total points.

Look, there’s a chance this does turn into a wild track meet. Even then, though, we have a chance based on efficiency. Both of these offenses rank in the bottom 20 in the country in effective field goal percentage, so if nothing else, a chorus of bricks could deliver a winner.

Even with the Delta Devils having (by far) their best chance at a Division I win, this is not a game I would recommend watching. But if last year’s faceoffs are any indication, value exists on the under.

Pick: Under 150 (Play to 147)

Sacramento State vs. Oregon State

Monday, Jan. 3
6 p.m. ET
Oregon State Live Stream
Over 135.5

Don’t look now, but the Beavers might be back.

After starting the season with a dismal 1-10 record, Oregon State won two straight against respectable competition. Most importantly, the offense has woken up recently.

Over their first 10 games, the Beavers cracked 1.0 points per possession just three times. In their last three contests, they have scored 1.07, 1.12 and 1.22 PPP.

Wayne Tinkle’s rim-heavy approach has shown some life, and the Beavers have even flashed the shooting touch that powered their Elite Eight run in the 2021 NCAA Tournament.

Oregon State should find success both inside and out. Sacramento State’s best rim protector, Jonathan Komagum, missed the Hornets’ conference clash on Dec. 30, and he may remain out for this one. Without him, a porous interior defense gets even worse.

On the other end, even with an anemic offense, Sacramento State should be able to score as well.

Oregon State’s defense has struggled to keep guards in front, and the Hornets rely heavily on slashers to score. Bryce Fowler, Zach Chappell and Cameron Wilbon all have routes to points here.

The over should also benefit from shooting regression. Both Sacramento State and their opponents are shooting below 30% from 3-point range, numbers that should tick up toward the national average of 33.2%.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, both teams play faster offensively than their overall tempo numbers would suggest. In a meaningless January non-conference game, expect both to be willing to run — and not to be entirely engaged defensively.

Pick: Over 135.5 (Play to 139)

Maryland vs. Iowa

Monday, Jan. 3
9 p.m. ET
Big Ten Network
Iowa -8

The Big Ten is home to some of the country’s strongest home-court venues, and Iowa is the leader in that category. Per KenPom’s home court advantage estimates, the Hawkeyes rank eighth in the entire country.

So right off the bat, that’s our first edge.

Why is Carver-Hawkeye Arena such a competitive edge? Well, for one — and this is completely anecdotal, but I swear it’s true — the Hawkeyes are frequently a shooting supernova in their home gym.

Fran McCaffery recruits shooting like it’s going out of style, and it shows in how the Hawkeyes “carver” cup the competition (see what I did there?). The fans are consistently raucous, swelling with each splashed triple, fueling those runs.

For more concrete evidence, there’s this: since 2014, Iowa is 68-47-4 against the spread at home — 59.1% (per Team Rankings).

This particular Iowa team is built to take advantage of that massive home edge.

Keegan Murray is a star, a legitimate All-American candidate who has become nearly impossible to guard one-on-one. Whenever he draws a double team, he finds an open teammate, and the Hawkeyes’ surgical ball movement consistently creates great looks.

He and his twin brother, Kris, are deadly inside and out.

You know who could guard this version of Iowa? Last year’s Maryland team. Those Terps were exceedingly switchable at all five positions, helping to negate the Hawkeyes’ terrific screening and ball movement. This Iowa team lacks a physical enforcer like Luka Garza, as well.

Unfortunately for the Terps, this Maryland team is more conventional, with a tiny point guard and a towering center.

In some matchups, that’s beneficial, but last year’s unique structure was a potential antidote to the Hawkeyes’ lethal attack.

Pick: Iowa -8 (Play to -9)

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