College Basketball Betting Breakdown, Odds, Picks: On Arkansas’s 3P Regression, Recent Form, More

College Basketball Betting Breakdown, Odds, Picks: On Arkansas’s 3P Regression, Recent Form, More article feature image
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Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Jose Alvarado

Trying to break down every college basketball game can be next to impossible, making our tools like public money percentages, PRO Systems and Bet Signals so important.

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 Tuesday’s breakdown.


Odds as of Tuesday at 12 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. On Arkansas & 3-Point Regression

Arkansas’s opponents are shooting 24.7% from 3-point range against the Razorbacks. That’s No. 1 in the nation and two percentage points clear of the next closest team.

And 24.7% would be the best mark in college basketball in at least 20 years.

While that may be a strength for Arkansas, there has to be some regression looming.

We don’t have access to the same data on open looks and defender distance that the NBA does, so we can’t truly tell how much of this 3-point defensive dominance is good fortune and how much is ability.

But it’s been proven that 3-point percentage has much more to do with the offense than the defense.

Via Ken Pomeroy, whose model says offense controls 83% of the outcome in 3-point shooting, in 2015:

On a game level, there’s a lot of random variance in three-point shooting…It’s simply that a good three-point offense will beat a good three-point defense over the long term. The offense controls most of what can be controlled, but randomness is a huge specter that looms over three-point shooting on a game level.

Coach Eric Musselman did field two units that ranked top 15 in 3-point percentage against in his four years at Nevada. His Razorbacks team is undersized and doesn’t rebound well, but flies to the ball and plays ultra-aggressive defense. So there’s something to Arkansas’ success.

But no 3-point defense is this good, though. Regression will come for Arkansas in the form of a red-hot shooting night from the opposition, whether it’s against Auburn on Tuesday or in the next few weeks.

I wanted Auburn at +2.5 or better, so I’ll pass here.

2. One Up, One Down

College basketball teams get hot and cold. It’s what they do.

But in the case of Georgia Tech-Virginia Tech and Missouri-Texas A&M, we have two extreme examples.

Georgia Tech has been a top 50 team over the last 30 days, ranking No. 41 on Bart Torvik’s efficiency ratings since Jan. 4.

The Yellow Jackets are just 3-5 against Division I teams in that stretch, but all five losses have come by single digits.

Virginia Tech has been the opposite. The Hokies are No. 86 nationally in adjusted efficiency this season, but 131st over the last 30 days thanks to a pair of clunkers against Miami and Boston College.

The same applies in Texas A&M-Mizzou. Missouri has lost seven of nine games, and all but one (to A&M, actually) has come by double digits.

There’s been a big correction in the market to when these two teams last met — Missouri closed -10 at home. A&M as a 1-point favorite in this game means the gap between these two teams has shrunk 4-5 points in the last two weeks.

I’m not buying that big a swing and would have much preferred getting Texas A&M as a 1- or 2-point underdog in a game where points will be at a premium. But I will buy Georgia Tech’s improvement and back the Yellow Jackets at -2 or better.

3. Beware of the Trendy Underdog

Oklahoma is getting more than 70% of bets as a 9-point underdog at Texas Tech. It’s been a good idea to fade trendy underdogs like this.

Favorites in conference play getting less than 30% of bets have covered 53.5% of games for a 4% ROI.

So why all the Sooner love? Two Mondays ago, we saw Oklahoma push No. 1 Baylor to the brink on national TV on a light slate.

But maybe it’s more about Texas Tech hate.

The Red Raiders have dropped three of four games, but have actually risen in most power ratings because those two of those losses (to Kentucky and Kansas) have come by a combined five points.

The line has also moved 1.5 points in Texas Tech’s favor, meaning there’s been no sharp resistance and most of that money on Oklahoma is public.

4. Biggest Line Moves

Spreads:

  • Fresno State +2.5 to -1.5 vs. Colorado State
  • Texas Tech -7.5 to -9 vs. Oklahoma

Our Bet Signals at Sports Insights reveal that sharp action was behind Fresno’s move to -1.5, but that pro money came when the line was at a pick’em and when Fresno was an underdog.

Totals: 

  • Auburn vs. Arkansas (143 to 148)
  • Buffalo vs. Eastern Michigan (137 to 141)
  • Fresno State vs. Colorado State (142 to 139)

Buffalo vs. Eastern Michigan offers a fascinating contrast of styles. Buffalo is one of the fastest teams in the country, while EMU has a horrific offense and top 50 defense.

An SI Bet Signal did confirm sharp action on the over at 141, even though most of the value has been sapped out after opening 137.

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