Wednesday College Basketball Betting: Marquette-Kansas, Middle Tennessee-Virginia
Duke-Auburn lived up to the hype in the Maui Invitational on Tuesday night, and two more non-conference tournaments look to deliver the same promise on Wednesday.
The NIT Season Tip-Off includes Marquette-Kansas, while Virginia and Middle Tennessee meet in the Battle 4 Atlantis. But which teams are the best bets on Wednesday’s college basketball slate? Let’s dig into this pre-holiday meal.
Betting odds: Marquette-Kansas
- Odds: Kansas -8.5
- Over/Under: 158
- Time: 7 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPN2
Welcome to shooters’ paradise. Although the Golden Eagles (2-2 against the spread) are hitting just 33.6% of their shots from the perimeter, the Jayhawks (1-2 ATS) have allowed a 38.8 3-point percentage through three games — the 59th-worst clip in the nation. Expect Steve Wojciechowski’s unit to get back on track in Brooklyn, with Markus Howard (20.0 ppg) leading the way.
The 5-foot-11, 175-pound point guard has generated a sound 58.5 Effective Field Goal Percentage overall, but the junior is shooting just 3 of 10 from behind the arc in his last two contests. Kansas freshman guard Devon Dotson has a size advantage with his 6-foot-2 frame, but Howard’s quickness should get the best of the Dotson’s inexperience and help produce a bounceback performance.
Once he starts rolling from the outside, it’ll spark the Golden Eagles’ 20th-ranked Adjusted Offensive Efficiency.
Moreover, the Jayhawks have amassed 49.8% of their points inside the perimeter, where Marquette boasts the 10th-lowest opponents’ shooting percentage. Junior forward Sam Hauser should have an impact on Memphis transfer-turned-Naismith Award candidate Dedric Lawson, who’s failed to start off strong with his new team (31.4 eFG%) while matching up against similar-sized bigs.
The Golden Eagles are 8-8 ATS (50%) over the last four-plus regular seasons when getting at least eight points, per Bet Labs. Better yet, Wojciechowski is 2-0 at the Barclays Center in his tenure with the program. They’ll reach a positive mark after facing Kansas for the first time since the 2003 Final Four.
THE PICK: Marquette +8.5; Under 158
Betting odds: Middle Tennessee-Virginia
- Odds: UVA -19
- Over/Under: 132.5
- Time: 9:30 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPN2
Forget about UMBC. The Cavaliers (2-1 ATS) won’t be involved in a dog fight against the Blue Raiders (0-2 ATS), especially because of their stellar pack-line defense. Middle Tennessee has scored 56.4% of its buckets from inside the perimeter, and Virginia has manufactured the 15th-best 2-point defense (39.0 FG%) in Division I.
Tony Bennett’s group has also forced its opponents into a 25.2% Turnover Rate while Middle Tennessee has been plagued in that department with a 24.1% Turnover Rate — the 33rd-worst in college basketball. Virginia should control the tempo via its leisurely pace, ranking No. 263 in Average Possession Length.
Look for Cavaliers’ two-way star DeAndre Hunter to dominate at both ends of the floor with his length, as the Blue Raiders don’t have anyone as athletic to matchup with the sophomore. Hunter has improved his eFG% by 14.1 percentage points from his freshman campaign.
MTSU’s No. 136 Adjusted Defensive Efficiency won’t provide much of a test for Virginia as a whole, either, which is averaging the second-most Points Per Possession (1.30 PPP) in college basketball so far.
According to Bet Labs, the Cavaliers have gone 7-4 ATS (63.6%) when laying at least 19 points in the last four-plus regular seasons. They’ll continue their recent success Wednesday evening.
THE PICK: Virginia -19; Under 132.5