College Basketball Best Bets: Three Man Weave’s Top 3 Picks for Wednesday, Jan. 26
Photo by G Fiume/Maryland Terrapins/Getty Image
- Wednesday's college basketball slate is loaded with compelling power-conference matchups up and down the oddsboard.
- Nonetheless, Ky McKeon of Three Man Weave turns to three under-the-radar matchups as his top betting spots of the night.
- Below, you'll find odds and picks for each of today's best bets, including UMass vs. La Salle, Drake vs. Illinois State and Sam Houston vs. Cal Baptist.
There are some must-watch games on Wednesday night in college basketball, including a Big East top-25 showdown between Providence and Xavier, a must-win in the SEC between Texas A&M and LSU and a top-of-the-Atlantic 10 battle between VCU and Davidson.
But, as you know if you’ve been reading this daily piece, we don’t necessarily focus on the biggest games. Instead, our eyes are always on value and the best spots, whether it’s an important or less-meaningful matchup.
Today, Ky McKeon of Three Man Weave dives into three low-tier affairs and offers his best bet for each below.
Wednesday’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.|
UMass vs. La Salle
This is a downright disrespectful line. UMass a dog to La Salle? In what world? Crazy, says I!
To my knowledge, the Minutemen are healthy, which makes this line even more insane. What has La Salle done to earn such honor? The Explorers, like the Minutemen, sit at just 1-5 in A-10 play and are just 3-6-1 against the spread with a -1.4 average cover margin at home.
UMass’s recent 21-point loss to SLU could be influencing this line somewhat, but it really shouldn’t. That game was a home-run spot for SLU after the Billikens lost to UMass the game prior.
The knock on UMass all season has been its atrocious defense, which ranks dead last in the A-10 and 337th overall in adjusted efficiency, per KenPom.
Luckily for the Minutemen, La Salle is one of the worst offensive teams in the conference and won’t be able to exploit UMass’s shortcomings. In its last two outings, La Salle has posted 0.81 and 0.85 points per possession.
Unlike its awful defense, UMass’ offense is excellent and ranks 37th nationally in adjusted efficiency (KenPom). The Minutemen have an endless cupboard of guards to throw on the floor, and all of them can shoot. To date, UMass ranks third in the country in 3P%.
La Salle’s defense has been OK in conference play, but nowhere near the level it needs to be to stop the UMass onslaught. Expect plenty of triples and lightly contested jump shots falling through the net tonight.
Take UMass as a short dog and/or sprinkle the moneyline.
Pick: UMass +2.5 (Play to PK)
Drake vs. Illinois State
Illinois State looks for revenge after falling to Drake two weeks ago.
Drake hasn’t been the juggernaut we saw last season. Last year, the Bulldogs were 21-8 ATS, one of the best marks in the country. This season, they sit at just 4-13.
Tonight, though, oddsmakers have given us a juicy number on a good team that simply hasn’t lived all the way up to market expectations. Drake is still a top-100 team and worthy of being feared.
Illinois State has been chippy in Valley play, but the Redbirds are still among the worst teams in the conference.
Terrible defense has held back a good offensive team. In its first matchup with Drake this season back on Jan. 12, ISU allowed 1.30 PPP. Drake shot 24-of-37 from inside the arc, getting every single thing it wanted to on the floor.
ISU had a couple of players missing in that matchup. It will likely have at least one absence again tonight.
Big man Sy Chatman was injured during ISU’s recent bout with Evansville. He is the Redbirds’ best offensive rebounder and greatest hope of stopping Drake forward Darnell Brodie on the block.
Without him, ISU loses one of its few advantages — the offensive glass — and becomes even more of a sieve in the paint.
Drake’s offense should run circles around the Redbirds’ defense once again in this game. Point guard Roman Penn has no equal on the other side of the ball, Brodie should eat without Chatman and freshman Tucker DeVries might be the most talented player on the floor.
Revenge is a dish best served cold, but Drake takes that cold dish, puts it in the microwave and shoves it down ISU’s throat tonight.
Pick: Drake -4 (Play to -5)
Sam Houston vs. Cal Baptist
Sam Houston has gotten too big for its collective britches.
The Bearkats are an incredible 7-1 in WAC play after suffering through an objectively awful non-conference slate. They’ve done it with defense and slowing down the pace to a crawl. Nobody in the WAC plays slower than SHSU, and the Bearkats rank third in the league in adjusted defensive efficiency.
But some of that defensive success is luck. SHSU’s opponents are shooting just 68.4% from the free-throw line and 29.7% from deep. Both of those numbers are sure to correct to the mean, likely tonight against a team that can really shoot.
CBU has had a rocky start to WAC play. An injury to star freshman guard Taran Armstrong has delayed its success, but the Lancers have plenty of firepower to win this game even without him.
Ty Rowell, Reed Nottage and Tre Armstrong are all snipers from the Land of Plenty slightly underperforming their usual 3-point percentages. Just as SHSU’s defensive shooting fortune is bound to turn, so is CBU’s guards’.
For CBU, it all comes down to stopping Texas A&M transfer Savion Flagg, one of the highest-used players in the country. Flagg is too good for the WAC, but he does have a tendency to take bad shots and hurt his team at times.
No individual on CBU can guard Flagg one-on-one, but head coach Rick Croy is bound to throw some zone at the Bearkats.
SHSU has struggled against zones this season, scoring just 0.853 PPP (30th percentile nationally, per Synergy). A zone will take the ball out of Flagg’s hands and force his lesser teammates to step up.
CBU’s size should overwhelm SHSU outside of Flagg. Save for Rowell, the Lancers’ rotation consists of seven players between 6-foot-5 and 6-foot-9. SHSU’s backcourt is primarily 6-foot-2 and under.
That is good news for CBU’s outside shooting (getting cleaner looks) and CBU’s effort to deter Bearkat shooters on the other end. SHSU relies on the 3-ball to score — CBU’s length should take that away.
Cal Bap gets a chance to take down the current league leader at home and pull within a game of the .500 mark in WAC play. I think it gets the job done.