College Basketball Best Bets | 4 Tuesday Picks
Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Chad Baker-Mazara (Auburn)
The Maui Invitational spotlights Tuesday's loaded Feast Week slate, but we're not just looking at Honolulu for our college basketball best bets.
Below, our staff has Tuesday's four top picks, including Alabama A&M vs. Auburn and more for November 21.
College Basketball Best Bets — Tuesday, Nov. 21
The team logos in the table below represent each of the matchups that our college basketball betting staff is targeting from today's slate of games. Click on the team logos for any of the matchups below to navigate to a specific bet discussed in this article.
Specific betting 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.
Akron vs. Drake
By Doug Ziefel
The Zips suffered their first loss of the season yesterday to Utah State. However, it was a very good showing against a team that's much better than Drake.
Just analyzing the market, it's clear Akron is not being shown enough respect here, as it’s slight underdogs again — but now to a team that’s 10 spots worse than Utah State in KenPom's rankings.
What will get the Zips back in the win column today is the 3-ball. Yesterday, they went 5-for-24 from beyond the arc, but they’re a team that's shot 33% from deep and will face a Drake defense that’s 346th in 3-point percentage allowed.
On the other end of the floor, the Zips also have the size to match up with the Bulldogs and should be able to limit second-chance opportunities if they can consistently contest shots from the perimeter.
So, back the Zips to take this one outright.
Pick: Akron +115 (Play to +100)
Marist vs. New Hampshire
I really like New Hampshire right now.
Entering the year, the Wildcats hired a new coach — Nathan Davis from Bucknell — but returned most of their frontcourt from last year’s squad.
So, New Hampshire can continue to lean on a rock-solid defense – the Wildcats finished third in the AmEast in Defensive Efficiency last season – and potential AmEast POY Clarence Daniels, one of the best three-level scoring forwards and rebounders in the mid-majors.
However, Davis’ main contributions would come on the offensive end. He wanted to push the pace and brought in a brand-new, quick-twitch point guard for that reason (Ahmad Robinson from Western Texas).
So far, these new-look Wildcats look pretty good.
They hung tough with Syracuse, losing by 11 as 14-point ‘dogs, before crushing Brown by 18. They’re 89th nationally in eFG% allowed through four games, and Daniels is dropping 21/8.
However, the real reason New Hampshire has value here is because of its last game.
The Wildcats lost on the road to George Washington by 12 as 10-point ‘dogs, but the score was much closer than you’d think. They went 4-for-31 from 3 and 11-for-17 from the free-throw line, two things that shouldn’t happen.
Based on the “quality” of shots taken and allowed, ShotQuality projects that game as a 10-point New Hampshire win.
Essentially, the Wildcats are undervalued, and I like how they’re playing.
Enter Marist, an overvalued team after an unlikely run to the MAAC Tournament championship game last season.
The Red Foxes are also trying to replace their top scorer from last year’s team, second-team All-MAAC sixth-man Patrick Gardner, who accounted for 19 of Marist’s 64 points per game last season.
Without Gardner, the Red Foxes are 304th nationally in Offensive Efficiency. They picked up wins over Army and UMBC, but those are two teams I’m extremely low on compared to the market – and ShotQuality graded the UMBC win as a nine-point analytical loss.
After that, the Red Foxes went to Binghamton and were promptly blown out, 82-59. That’s closer to where I truly value this Marist team.
From a matchup perspective, it might be tough for New Hampshire to score in transition against a solid Red Foxes transition defense, but I think Marist’s pick-and-roll heavy offense struggles to score against New Hampshire’s solid ball-screen defense.
Ultimately, I’ll take the undervalued Wildcats to soar past the overvalued Red Foxes.
Pick: New Hampshire -3.5 (Play to -4.5)
Alabama A&M vs. Auburn
By D.J. James
Alabama A&M takes on the Auburn Tigers on Tuesday, and Auburn will probably crush the Bulldogs. A&M ranks 348th in KenPom and 334th in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency.
That said, the Bulldogs do have a 20.1% turnover rate on defense through two games. They also rebound at a 40.2% clip on the offensive end and are holding opponents to a 26.7% offensive rebounding rate on defense.
Auburn should control the pace in this one. Yes, Auburn is a fast team (ranked 63rd in Adjusted Tempo), but it holds opponents to 18.7 seconds per possession, ranked 333rd in the country.
The Tigers are also holding opponents to a 43% Effective Field Goal Percentage. Opponents are shooting only 22.9% from deep on them.
Auburn doesn't turn opponents over much (18.4%), but it will play lockdown defense on the Bulldogs. Turnovers will not happen as much as expected with a defense of this caliber, though.
Now, some issues could come into play, as Auburn ranks 250th in defensive rebounding and 54th in offensive rebounding. This could allow for offensive boards on both sides of the floor, which is not conducive to an under.
That said, Alabama A&M could be down by 20 at halftime, at which time, the Tigers will pull back a bit. This will help contribute to an under.
Look for Auburn to limit Alabama A&M to under 60 points and keep a wide distance between the two for much of the game.
Take this under to 150 (-110).
Pick: Under 152.5 (Play to 150)
Kansas vs. Marquette
By John Feltman
This has all of the makings of a Final Four matchup. These are easily two of the best offenses in the entire country, and this very well could come down to the very last possession.
There are a few reasons why I lean towards Marquette in this spot, and it has a lot to do with the Jayhawks’ recent performances.
First off, I admire how explosive Bill Self’s offense has been. But the Jayhawks are shooting a scorching 44% from beyond the arc to start the season, and I have a feeling negative shooting regression is looming.
Secondly, the Jayhawks' defense has struggled to force turnovers. The Golden Eagles do a great job of protecting the ball themselves, and they’re already extremely tough to stop offensively.
Marquette will be the toughest defense Kansas has faced all season, so I’m interested to see how the Jayhawks perform.
I was also impressed with the Golden Eagles’ ability to crack a stingy UCLA defense last night, so they clearly have the chops offensively to keep up in a track meet.
Hunter Dickinson has been tremendous to start the season, but I expect him to have his hands full with Oso Ighodaro inside. This is another area where Kansas has some negative regression coming, considering it’s shooting 67% inside the arc.
The Golden Eagles will have to be better at the charity stripe if they want to keep this game close, but I really love how this offense operates and their ability to protect the basketball.
Shaka Smart’s team will not be intimidated by its opponent, and I expect the Golden Eagles to hang tough with the Jayhawks all evening long.
Pick: Marquette +4.5 (Play to +3.5)
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