College Basketball Betting Breakdown, Odds, Picks: What’s Wrong With Butler, Key Injuries, More

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Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Sean McDermott and Khalif Battle

Breaking down every college basketball game can be next to impossible, making our tools like public money percentages, PRO Systems and Bet Signals helpful in your handicapping process.

Each day, I’m going to highlight a few interesting betting-related storylines from that night’s college hoops slate, some insights and systems from our Bet Labs database and some notes from our betting market data.

Here’s Wednesday’s breakdown.


Odds as of Wednesday at 1 p.m. ET and via PointsBet, where Action Network users can access an exclusive promotion to get a 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150). No strings attached. No rollover required.


1. What’s Wrong With Butler?

In a year without a dominant team at the top, it felt like Butler could work its way into the national title conversation. It got as high as No. 4 in KenPom’s ratings in mid-January.

But the Bulldogs have fallen off after a 15-1 start, losing four of their last six.

It doesn’t tell the whole story, but Butler’s 3-point defense has started to regress. It’s similar to what we talked about with Arkansas yesterday.

Opponents shot a measly 26% against Butler through the first 17 games, and that number has gone up to 40% over the last five games as competition increased against sharp-shooting Big East teams.

Butler is also the No. 71 team in adjusted efficiency over the last 30 days, and No. 16 on the season.

You can see their game scores (via BartTorvik.com) and moving averages decline over the last month. Even their recent wins were below-average efforts compared to early in the season.

Butler Game Scores Chart

Most projection systems make this line Butler -4, so the betting market is accounting for its recent decline with the line at Butler -2.5.

I wanted Nova at +3.5 or better, but Butler’s been so off I can’t fault anyone for continuing to fade the Bulldogs until they prove we shouldn’t.

2. Key Injuries

You can’t anticipate or profit off injuries in college basketball quite like you can in the NBA, but there are a few key ones to note for Wednesday.

Georgetown’s Mac McClung will likely miss the Hoyas’ game against Seton Hall. He’s responsible for 32.2% of their shots, which ranks top 50 in the nation. Last time they faced the Pirates, he scored 20 of their 62 points.

As a result of the news, Seton Hall has gone from -1.5 to -3.5.

Wisconsin (+3) on the other hand is getting a useful piece back against Minnesota. Pesky Brad Davison was suspended for the Badgers’ win over Michigan State on Saturday for a flagrant foul (which has become a theme for him).

The team will still be without double-figure scorer Kobe King, who left the program last week.

3. Heaviest Public Sides

Get up-to-date betting percentages here.

  • Seton Hall -3.5 (87%) at Georgetown
  • Wofford -6.5 (86%) at VMI
  • S. Illinois -3.5 (78%) at Evansville

The aforementioned injury to McClung has bettors all over Seton Hall. The Pirates have become a bit of a public darling in recent weeks after 10 straight wins (though that streak was snapped on Saturday against Xavier).

Evansville also fits a profitable PRO System — fading good ATS teams against bad ATS teams.

4. Biggest Line Moves

  • Central Arkansas +5.5 to +3.5 at Lamar
  • Loyola MD -2 to -5 at Holy Cross
  • Drake PK to -3 vs. Bradley

Bradley is ranked in the top 100 in overall efficiency but is dealing with a number of injuries to key player, including bigs Elijah Childs and Stephan Gabriel. That likely explains part of the line move against Drake.

We tracked a Bet Signal at Drake -2, but haven’t seen any sharp action beyond that at -2.5 or -3.

5. Historically Low Total

If you haven’t kept up with college hoops this season, you won’t be surprised to find out that Virginia still boasts an elite defense and a dreadfully slow pace. But the offensive efficiency from last year’s title team is gone — the Hoos rank 276th in that category.

UVA’s totals have been quite low as a result. Wednesday, the Cavaliers are an 8-point favorite over Clemson with the total at 107.

Underdogs have covered 55.2% of all games with a total at under 110, and the winning percentage and ROI increase as the underdog gets bigger.

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