Wednesday College Basketball Betting Previews: La Salle-Florida, Marquette-Indiana
Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Marcus Howard
We’re only a week into the college basketball season, and the four teams we’re covering today have been a part of key storylines.
La Salle’s A-10 Conference has seemingly regressed into a one-bid league, Florida was smacked by Florida State on opening night and Marquette and Indiana’s offenses appear to be as lethal as advertised.
Meanwhile, Villanova seems to be in position to cover (-7) against Michigan, similar to last season’s national title game. But I’m staying away from that line and eyeing two more attractive options on Wednesday’s betting card.
Betting Odds: La Salle at Florida
- Odds: Florida -16.5
- Over/Under: 142
- Time: 7 p.m. ET
- TV: SEC Network
The Gators (1-1 against the spread) bounced back from their first loss to the Seminoles, cruising past Charleston Southern in Gainesville. Their 3-point struggles continued, though, shooting 26.9% from the perimeter overall. Jalen Hudson — Florida’s top returning scorer — has notched a 22.2% clip after hitting 40.4% of his 3’s last season.
Mike White’s unit should improve versus the Explorers (0-1-1 ATS), who’ve yielded a 38.9% 3-point clip. Cleaning up the glass isn’t one of La Salle’s strengths, either, as it’s given up a 37.7 Offensive Rebounding Percentage. Gators’ forwards Keith Stone and Kevarrius Hayes will have their way that department.
Moreover, Florida point guard Andrew Nembhard controlled the pace in their second affair (6-1 assist-to-turnover ratio), and he’ll have similar success against a backcourt lacking the size to match up with his 6-foot-5, 195-pound frame.
The Explorers are 6-13-1 ATS in the last season-plus after a loss. In their first duel with Florida in 29 years, the Gators will roll.
THE PICK: Gators -16.5
Marquette at Indiana
- Odds: Indiana +6
- Over/Under: 149
- Time: 8:30 p.m. ET
- TV: Fox Sports 1
This game will feature two of the country’s best players — Marquette guard Marcus Howard (26.0 ppg) and Indiana wing Romeo Langford (15.5 ppg).
This contest should be an high-tempo shootout with both teams showcasing their top 30 Adjusted Offensive Efficiency, yet I’m expecting Langford to experience his first struggles at this level. While Marquette (2-0 ATS) doesn’t have a defensive stopper to shut him down, it boasts a sizable lineup that can hedge around the perimeter to disrupt his aggressiveness.
Indiana’s (2-0 ATS) offense isn’t very reliant on 3’s, with 63.0% of its offense coming from inside the arc. On the flip side, Marquette’s 2-point defense is the second-best in the nation (36.8%) despite a two-game sample size, a credit to the additions of freshmen Brandon Bailey and Joey Hauser.
The 5-foot-11 Howard is so polished in his ability to pull up from deep or attack the lane. The junior is also one of the best distributors in Division I with the 13th-highest Assist Rate (49.8%) and plenty of shooting around him.
Howard should find success against the 6-foot-1 Robert Phinisee, who’s been impressive defensively but is only a freshman. As a result, the Golden Eagles will keep things tight throughout — at the least.
THE PICK: Marquette +6 and over 149