College Basketball Betting Picks: Our Staff’s 5 Favorite Tuesday Bets
Timothy Nwachukwu/Getty Images. Pictured: Nico Carvacho
Six of the top 10 college basketball teams in the AP Poll are in action Tuesday night, offering bettors plenty of interesting matchups to look at on the 25-game slate.
Our staff has turned its attention primarily to the Atlantic 10 and Mountain West to find betting value.
Here’s what we’re betting on Tuesday night.
Odds as of Tuesday morning and via FanDuel, where Action Network users get a risk-free bet up to $500.
College Basketball Betting Picks
- Odds: St. Louis at UMass +3
- Over/Under: 138
- Time: 7 p.m. ET
- TV: NESN
With an overtime loss on Jan. 5, UMass will be looking for revenge at home against Saint Louis.
The Billikens broke a two game losing streak against La Salle over the weekend. But a painfully poor free throw percentage of 57.9% (second-worst in college basketball) has kept plenty of games close for Saint Louis.
UMass should have success disrupting Saint Louis in transition with a defensive turnover rate in the top 75. The Billikens have been one of the worst in the nation in offensive steal percentage at 265th.
There is an advantage for Saint Louis on the boards at both ends of the court, but the Minutemen did grab more rebounds in their first meeting. UMass is 29th in average possession length on the defensive side of the court, a pace Saint Louis is unaccustomed to when bringing the ball up the floor.
Look for the transition game to favor the home Minutemen, as Saint Louis will just look to pound the ball inside with a point distribution rank in the top 20 from 2-point range.
UMass has out rebounded its opponents on the offensive glass the past four games, and has protected home court in recent games with only a respectable loss to Dayton. The Minutemen should have success in limiting the Saint Louis offense while getting some help from the Billikens missed free throws.
Pick: UMass +3
- Odds: Dayton -3 at VCU
- Over/Under: 143
- Time: 8:30 p.m. ET
- TV: CBSSN
The betting public has been slow to back non-traditional top teams like Baylor, San Diego State, and Dayton. This has continued to provide quality betting opportunities in favor of these current elite teams in college basketball.
These three teams have a combined record against the spread of 46-28 (65%), and I am staying with the Flyers in their toughest Atlantic 10 road game of the season.
VCU (17-8) is only 7-5 in conference play and is coming off two consecutive losses. The Rams lost 77-49 at Richmond on Saturday, which followed an inexcusable 72-67 home loss to George Mason.
The Rams struggle to score without senior Marcus Evans (10.3 ppg, 38.1% 3P), who did not play in the loss at Richmond. He is listed as day-to-day and is a game-time decision against Dayton.
VCU has one of the nation’s best defenses, ranking fifth in defensive turnover percentage per KenPom. However, they will need to find a way to contain Dayton’s Obi Toppin on the interior, who carved up VCU for 24 points and eight rebounds in the Flyers’ 79-65 win at home.
VCU simply hasn’t been its usual dominant self at home, losing to Rhode Island and George Mason already this season. The Rams are only 3-3 ATS in their last six home games.
If Evans doesn’t play, this line is too low, and if he does play, he is unlikely to be at full strength. I’ll take the Flyers to continue their dominant performances against a VCU team that has played less-than-vintage defense this season.
Pick: Dayton -3
- Odds: Kentucky at LSU -2
- Over/Under: 149.5
- Time: 9 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPN
It’s a good time to buy LSU after losing three of its last four, while selling a Kentucky team that has won four straight.
Kentucky is not a great outside shooting team, which is how you can really attack this LSU defense.
Also, LSU does not foul much, which will hurt a Cats team that likes to live at the line. Look for LSU to dominate the glass on both ends and come out with a home win.
Pick: LSU -2
- Odds: Nevada -2.5 @ New Mexico
- Over/Under: 159
- Time: 9 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPNU
The Lobos — 2-4 against the spread in their past six games — have every spot in their favor vs. a hot Wolf Pack team. Not only has New Mexico struggled in their recent stretch, but it was also handed a 22-point loss at Nevada on Jan. 25 without JaQuan Lyle and Vance Jackson. The market is undervaluing the Lobos here.
Expect a desperate Lobos team to have revenge on its mind and come out aggressive on the dribble drive. Nevada is allowing the 43rd-highest free-throw scoring rate across Division I while New Mexico has racked up the 65th-highest scoring from that vicinity. Lyle’s prowess for drawing fouls should pay dividends in this department.
In Steve Alford’s first trip back to Albuquerque since 2013, Paul Weir’s New Mexico team bunch is set up to at least cover as a home dog.
Pick: New Mexico +2.5
- Odds: Colorado State @ UNLV-1
- Over/Under: 147
- Time: 10:30 p.m. ET
- TV: CBSSN
The Mountain West is widely considered to be a two-bid league. San Diego State is close to securing a No. 1 seed and Utah State is on the right side of the bubble, for now. Lost in the mix is the third best team in the conference, Colorado State.
The Rams are 10-2 SU and in their last 12, with both losses coming to Utah State. Colorado State thumped UNLV just two weeks ago, a romp made all the more impressive when you factor in that CSU’s best player, Nico Carvacho, fouled out after just 20 minutes of playing time.
The Rams have already exceeded any and all preseason expectations. They were picked to finish ninth by the media. Back in October, it seemed as though replacing their entire starting backcourt would be too tall an order for third-year head coach Niko Medved.
But doubting the 46-year-old coach has been a foolish proposition since he landed his first head coaching gig back in 2013. Consider the incredible streaking going for him: Medved has improved his team’s win total in eight consecutive seasons.
This season a pair of freshmen guards helped Medved extend that streak. Isaiah Stevens and David Roddy have teamed up to average 25.7 points, 8.8 rebounds and 6.4 assists per night. Their play has taken the offensive pressure off of Carvacho who is asked to do yeoman’s work on the glass.
They should find the sledding pretty easy on Tuesday night against a Runnin’ Rebels defense that is in the bottom third of the conference across the board defensively. UNLV has dropped five of their last seven games, while allowing 77.5 ppg.
As bad as it’s been straight-up, it’s even worse against the spread. UNLV has been in free fall against the number, posting a 1-4 record ATS in its last five. As a short favorite (less than five) UNLV is 0-4 this season. It’s no wonder these teams are so far apart according to KenPom’s rankings (CSU 85, UNLV 127).
T. J. Otzelberger may prove to be a better coach down the line, but in this spot, I love Medved and the Rams. It’s a bonus that they’re actually catching a point.
Pick: Colorado State +1