Thursday College Basketball Betting Odds & Picks: William & Mary vs. James Madison, Hofstra vs. Delaware
Mitchell Layton/Getty Images. Pictured: Nathan Knight
Thursday slates in college basketball feature quality mid-major battles with teams auditioning for this year’s title of March Madness “Cinderella.”
Tonight we analyze two battles in the Colonial Athletic Association Conference that highlight a couple schools with all the ingredients for a first-round upset in the NCAA Tournament.
Let’s take a closer look at William & Mary vs. James Madison and Hofstra vs. Delaware.
Thursday College Basketball Odds & Picks
Odds as of Thursday morning and via DraftKings, where Action Network users get a risk-free bet up to $500.
William & Mary vs. James Madison
- Spread: William & Mary -9
- Over/Under: 151.5
- Time: 7 p.m. ET
- TV: FloSports
William & Mary (14-6) has far exceeded preseason expectations. The Tribe were predicted seventh in the Colonial Athletic Association after the controversial dismissal of long-time head coach Tony Shaver. However, former George Mason assistant Dane Fischer has guided the Tribe to a 6-1 conference record and first place in the CAA. They are a robust 13-6 against the spread (ATS) and have covered five of their past six games.
James Madison (8-10) has struggled to meet expectations, sitting at 1-6 in the CAA, just a half-game out of last place. Head coach Lou Rowe’s Dukes have lost four in a row and are just 6-11 ATS, failing to cover in six of their past seven games.
The Tribe are coming off their worst performance of the season, an 84-57 blowout loss at Drexel. In that game, William & Mary’s normally stellar three-point shooting (36.8% as a team) disappeared, as the Tribe shot an anemic 5-of-22 from beyond the arc. They return home to the comforts of Williamsburg where they are 6-0 this season and have covered every game by a spread differential of +46.
The Tribe have enjoyed the dominant play of 6-foot-10 senior forward Nathan Knight (20.7 ppg, 10.6 rpg) who is one of only three players in college basketball averaging more than 20 points and 10 rebounds per game. He should be able to feast against a Dukes defense that allows opponents to shoot 50.9% from inside the arc.
James Madison instills little confidence in a quality road performance when you examine most important metrics. The Dukes rank 303rd in adjusted defensive efficiency, 341st in free-throw percentage (61.9%) and 313th with just 11.9 turnovers forced per game.
While these two CAA rivals are only separated by 180 miles, the Dukes will get an angry William & Mary team ready to bounce back after an embarrassing conference loss. Look for Nathan Knight and a positive offensive regression from three to allow the Tribe to cover the spread at home.
THE PICK: William & Mary -9
Hofstra vs. Delaware
- Spread: Hofstra -7
- Over/Under: 146
- Time: 6:30 p.m. ET
- TV: CBS
Hofstra (14-6) was the preseason favorite to repeat as regular-season CAA champions, and has played up to those expectations with a 5-2 conference record including four road wins. The Pride have won five of their six home games and have a robust 13-6 record ATS.
Delaware (13-7) has experienced mixed results with a 3-4 record in conference play. The Blue Hens have also struggled away from home with a 1-4 record in their last five true road games. They are 10-9 ATS and have only covered three of their last 11 games.
The Pride are a tough matchup for Delaware, especially on offense. Hofstra ranks 92nd in adjusted offensive efficiency and 54th best in offensive turnover percentage. The Pride also shoot 76.9% from the free-throw line, 23rd best in the country. Senior guard Desure Buie (18.7 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 5.3 apg) has been one of the best all-around players in the CAA, and is shooting 42% from beyond the arc.
Delaware has again struggled on defense, ranking 258th in adjusted defensive efficiency per KenPom. The Blue Hens also fail to force turnovers with a 320th-ranked defensive turnover percentage. They will need to shoot well from three to keep this game close, as the Blue Hens generate 32% of their offensive from beyond the arc and shoot a strong 36.4% as a team.
Hofstra has owned a recent advantage of Delaware, winning its last nine regular-season meetings by an average of 15.6 points per game. In their last two meetings in Hempstead, the Pride have won by an average of 36 points per game.
After a brutal three-game road trip which produced wins over Northeastern and UNC Wilmington, Hofstra should have little trouble scoring at home against the Blue Hens. With Delaware creating 70 points in only two of its last six games, it difficult to see them covering the seven-point spread as a poor free-throw shooting team on the road against the defending CAA champions.
THE PICK: Hofstra -7