Thursday College Basketball Betting: Seton Hall vs. Michigan State, Harvard vs. Siena

Thursday College Basketball Betting: Seton Hall vs. Michigan State, Harvard vs. Siena article feature image

Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Xavier Tillman

The public always wants to bet overs. It is simply more fun to root for a team to exceed their projected total than to underperform.

Fans love scoring.

But over the first four days of the season, unders hit at a 64.1% (107-57-3) rate.

In the last five days? The unders have only won at a 49.6% (112-107-7) rate.

While the market has caught up, the change in the 3-point line combined with early-season injuries still provides ideal under opportunities.

Let’s take a look at two such games on the Thursday slate: Seton Hall vs. Michigan State and Harvard vs. Siena.

Thursday College Basketball Betting

Odds as of Thursday morning 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.

Michigan State at Seton Hall 

  • Spread: Michigan State -5.5
  • Over/Under: 141.5
  • Time: 8:30 p.m. ET
  • TV: FS1

Michigan State star point guard Cassius Winston has been grieving the tragic death of his brother Zachary since last Saturday. Winston showed great courage by playing in the Spartans home game against Binghamton on Sunday, which the Spartans won 100-47. Head coach Tom Izzo expects Winston to play tonight against Seton Hall.

The Spartans, however, are also dealing with the absence of Winston’s backcourt mate, senior guard Joshua Langford. 

In its first game of the season, Michigan State struggled offensively, losing to Kentucky 69-62. The Spartans shot 39.3% (22 of 56) from the field and an abysmal 19.2% (5 of 26) from 3P.  They also turned the ball over 16 times against Kentucky.

This is the same Kentucky that then lost their home opener to Evansville, 67-64.

It certainly is fair to speculate just how good Michigan State is, at this early point in the season.

Meanwhile, Seton Hall will play without star guard Myles Powell who is out indefinitely after suffering a “serious” ankle injury against Stony Brook.

Losing Powell is a huge blow to the Pirates offense, which now only has one active player from last season’s roster that averaged double-figures in scoring (Myles Cale, 10.2 ppg).

Both teams are traditionally strong defensively, and Seton Hall guard Quincy McKnight (1.6 spg) could disrupt Winston with his on-ball prowess.

This game profiles as a defensive battle, with Seton Hall slowing the pace against a Michigan State team that has more depth on its bench. Look for Seton Hall head coach Kevin Willard to rally his team to overcome the loss of Powell and Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo to limit the Pirates’ offense.

I grabbed the under as soon as this line opened, and would take it down to 140.

The Pick: Under 141.5 [In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]

Siena at Harvard

  • Spread: Harvard -12
  • Over/Under: 141.5
  • Time: 7 p.m. ET
  • TV: ESPN+

Siena travels to Cambridge to face a Harvard team it defeated 67-64 last year at home. The Crimson played that game without their three best players, Bryce Aiken, Chris Lewis, and Seth Towns. Again this season, injuries are a major concern for Harvard.

Both Aiken and Towns have yet to play, Aiken averaged 22 points per game last season, and Towns led the team in scoring the year prior. Also, senior guard Christian Juzang sat out the team’s last game.

Without their two best players, Harvard lost 84-79 at Northeastern, and was losing in the second half at home to Maine. Siena will present a much tougher task, with four starters scoring in double-figures in its 78-65 home win over St. Bonaventure.

Harvard always controls the pace, particularly at home. Last season, the Crimson ranked 193rd in adjusted tempo, per KenPom.

The Crimson currently rank 87th in adjusted defensive efficiency and 290th in adjusted tempo. With its injury concerns, Harvard will need to play a slow, deliberate pace and try to limit a Siena offense that looks to push tempo.

Even with their 2-1 start, Siena is only 221st in adjusted offensive efficiency and is shooting a uninspiring 27% (10 for 27) from 3P range.

While unders have evened out in the Vegas books, the line has not adjusted enough to the injury concerns and deliberate pace Harvard wants to play at.

The Pick: Under 141.5 [In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]

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