Wednesday’s College Basketball Betting Previews: Minnesota-Illinois, Houston-SMU

Wednesday’s College Basketball Betting Previews: Minnesota-Illinois, Houston-SMU article feature image

Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Kelvin Sampson

Following an enticing evening of college basketball on Tuesday, including Cody Martin’s first 3-pointer in a month to hand Nevada a nail-biting win over Boise State, the action slows down a tad with five ranked teams on the court on Wednesday.

Among them, SMU takes on No. 21 Houston, while Minnesota travels to Illinois, which is winless in Big Ten play.

Which sides present the most value? Let’s break them down.

>> All odds as of Wednesday morning. Download The Action Network App to get real-time NCAAB odds and track your bets.

Betting Odds: Minnesota Golden Gophers at Illinois Fighting Illini

  • Spread: Minnesota -2
  • Over/Under: 147.5
  • Time: 9 p.m. ET
  • TV: Big Ten Network

The Golden Gophers (7-9 against the spread) have covered two of their past three games after whiffing in four consecutive contests. On the flip side, the Fighting Illini (6-10 ATS) just missed winning their third straight affair ATS, failing to do so by two points against undefeated Michigan on Thursday.

Illinois’ ball pressure has been potent, even vs. the Wolverines, turning them over 14 times — their second-highest total this season.

Brad Underwood’s crew owns the 12th-highest opponent turnover rate in the nation, and its defense should be able to generate offense in transition via Minnesota struggling with miscues away from home.

Moreover, the Golden Gophers’ defense has allowed 53.8% of opponents’ scoring from inside the arc — the 59th-most in Division I. While Underwood runs a spread offense, the Illini use plenty of backdoor cuts, especially via rising freshman Ayo Dosunmu (13.6 ppg).

That action should open up their perimeter game, where Minnesota is yielding a substandard 34.4% clip.

Illinois has more promise than its 4-12 straight up mark indicates. Bet on the home squad reestablishing its in-conference success ATS.

THE PICK: Illinois +2

Betting Odds: Houston Cougars at SMU Mustangs

  • Spread: Houston -1
  • Over/Under: 136.5
  • Time: 9 p.m. ET
  • TV: ESPN News

The Mustangs (7-9 ATS) enter this in-state contest with the 33rd-ranked Adjusted Offensive Efficiency (112.0 points per 100 possessions) in the country, but they’re facing the Cougars’ 16th-ranked AdjD (92.2 opponents’ points per 100 possessions).

SMU’s shooting from both sides of the arc is roughly average across DI, but its arsenal has been aided by the sixth-highest offensive rebounding percentage.

Houston (10-6-1 ATS) lacks size in this affair, but it’s one of the top gang-rebounding units around, ranking 64th in defensive rebounding rate. Expect the Mustangs to be challenged on the glass.

At the other end, the Cougars’ 33.4 three-point shooting percentage leaves much to be desired, but their perimeter attack still accounts for 36.1% of their scoring — the 76th-highest rate in the nation.

SMU’s opponents have scored 35.6% of their offense from beyond the arc, so Houston’s offense shouldn’t have much of an issue manufacturing some points from deep.

Kelvin Sampson’s crew notched its only defeat at Temple (-1.5) on Jan. 9, which came down to Houston guard Corey Davis (15.5 ppg) racking up an offensive foul in the final second.

No team is immune to a road upset, and another tight spread shouldn’t scare you from taking the superior team.

THE PICK: Houston -1