Sunday College Basketball Betting Odds & Picks: Connecticut vs. Tulsa, UNLV vs. San Diego State
Photo by Loren Orr/Getty Images. Pictured: Head coach Brian Dutcher of the San Diego State Aztecs
After a wild 143-game day of Saturday college hoops, we welcome a more modest 20-game Sunday slate with several important conference matchups.
For our first game, we head to Storrs, Conn. where a reeling UConn team hosts Tulsa in an AAC battle.
Next, we travel to the Mountain West conference where No. 4 San Diego State, the last undefeated team, goes on the road to battle UNLV.
Let’s take a deeper look at these big conference battles.
Sunday College Basketball Odds & Picks
Odds as of Sunday at 8:30 a.m. ET and via FanDuel, where Action Network users get a risk-free bet up to $500.
Connecticut vs. Tulsa
- Spread: Connecticut -5.5
- Over/Under: 126.5
- Time: 12 p.m. ET
- TV: CBS
Connecticut (10-8) has really struggled over the past three weeks. Since the start of 2020, the Huskies are 1-5, including 1-4 in conference play. They have also struggled against the spread (ATS), going 2-4 since the turn of the new year.
Tulsa (13-6) enters Sunday’s battle on a four-game winning streak, including an 80-40 blowout of Memphis on Wednesday. The Golden Hurricanes have won their last two AAC road games, and have covered six of their past seven games, including four games in a row.
While there is an argument to be made that Connecticut is “due” for a big win, the metrics tell a different story. In conference play, the Huskies are dead last in both effective field goal percentage (42.1%) and 3P shooting (26.1%). Even their reliable rebounding prowess has been lacking, ranking 10th among AAC teams in limiting offensive rebounds.
Connecticut has also done itself no favors with a team free-throw shooting average of 69.8%
Meanwhile, Tulsa’s defense has been outstanding since the start of AAC play. The Golden Hurricanes rank first in the conference in each of the following categories: adjusted defensive efficiency, effective field goal percentage and 3P% defense.
In their past five wins, they have allowed an opponent to crest 60 points just once.
Tulsa’s offense has also been strong, with top-four conference rankings in adjusted offense (fourth), effective field goal percentage (third) and 2P% offense (second).
In what projects as a low-scoring game, I am taking the points with the team with the superior conference metrics in Tulsa. I expect Connecticut to come out strong, but the defensive pressure to limit its opportunities and allow the Golden Hurricanes to potentially steal yet another conference road win.
THE PICK: Tulsa +5.5
UNLV vs. San Diego State
- Spread: San Diego State -6.5
- Over/Under: 133.5
- Time: 4 p.m. ET
- TV: CBS
No. 4 San Diego State (20-0) is the last remaining undefeated team in Division I. The Aztecs have enjoyed a wonderful season with an average margin of victory in conference games of 13 points. They are 12-7 ATS, including 5-0 in true road games.
UNLV (11-10) has enjoyed a great start to Mountain West play despite its mediocre record. The Runnin’ Rebels are 6-2 in the conference and a perfect 4-0 at home. Their average margin of victory in those games at the Thomas & Mack Center is an impressive 14.8 points. UNLV is just 11-10 ATS, but has covered five of its last six at home.
Despite their dominance, the Aztecs enter this game with injury concerns. Starting forward Nathan Mensah (6.9 ppg, 6.8 rpg) has been out since Dec. 28 with a blood clot in this lungs. It is possible he does not return for the remainder of the season.
Also, in last Tuesday’s win over Wyoming, forward Aguek Arop left the game after reaggravating a shoulder injury that caused him to miss seven games earlier in the season.
It is possible that UNLV will enter this game fully healthy. Senior guard Elijah Mitrou-Long (12.9 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 3.8 apg) has a chance to return after missing 12 games with a broken thumb. In his last game before the injury, he scored 29 points and shot 5 of 9 from beyond that arc in an overtime loss at Cincinnati.
In conference games, UNLV ranks fifth in 3P% defense and first in 2P% defense, holding opponents to just 43.4%. That includes its 17-point blowout win over Utah State where the uber-efficient Aggies were held to just 17 of 52 (32.6%) from the floor.
Junior guard Amauri Hardy (15.1 ppg) is one of the best scorers in the conference and has improved his 3-point shooting to 34.3%. Sophomore guard Bryce Hamilton (13.5 ppg) is averaging 30.5 ppg over UNLV’s last two contests.
The Runnin’ Rebels rank sixth in the country in offensive rebounding percentage and are first in the Mountain West by a mile.
UNLV’s prowess on the glass and staunch interior defense make for San Diego State’s biggest challenge to date. Combine the Aztecs injuries with the possible return of Mitrou-Long, and this could very well be where the last undefeated team falls.
I’m taking the 6.5 points on a line that is still dropping despite San Diego State receiving the majority of bets and money per the Action Network app. UNLV should cover this spread and could be a tantalizing moneyline bet for brave bettors.
THE PICK: UNLV +6.5