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College Basketball Betting Picks: Our Staff’s 5 Best Bets for Tuesday Conference Tournaments

College Basketball Betting Picks: Our Staff’s 5 Best Bets for Tuesday Conference Tournaments article feature image

Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Wabissa Bede

  • Betting on Tuesday's conference tournament games? You've come to the right place.
  • Our crew analyzed the matchups offering the most value on tonight's slate, including Virginia Tech vs. UNC.
  • Check out their analysis and picks on tonight's games.

Tuesday, five teams will punch their tickets to the NCAA Tournament. There won’t be any lack of motivation here, that’s for sure.

Our staff has been hard at work cutting down the 18-game card, and came up with one favorite play each. Let’s get to it.

College Basketball Betting Picks

Odds as of Tuesday morning and via FanDuel. Get up to a $500 risk-free bet at FanDuel today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.


  • Odds: Hofstra -1.5 vs. Northeastern
  • Over/Under: 139.5
  • Time: 7 p.m. ET

I generally love to look for reasons to bet unders in conference championship finals, which have hit at almost a 60% clip over the past 20 seasons. I think there’s even more value when the two teams facing each other will only make the tournament with a win as both teams come out a little tight in more of a half court game and ramp up the defense.

Well, that’s the case here as the CAA runner up will not make the NCAA Tournament. Plus, not only have both teams been playing slower of late, this will be the third game in three days for both.

That’s especially important since neither team has much bench, so you could see fatigue play a role on two teams that are very jump-shot reliant. Hofstra and Northeastern are very similar in that both of their backcourts play almost the entire game.

Also, Northeastern doesn’t excel on the offensive glass, which is how you really attack an undersized Hofstra defense that plays a lot of zone and is vulnerable in that regard. Northeastern doesn’t crash the glass on the offensive end and ensures opponents do not get out in transition.

Look, the threes could be falling and/or we get a ton of fouls late by a team trailing in a last ditch effort, but I think this has a decent shot at staying under in a first-to-65 type of game.

Pick: Under 139

Mike Randle

  • Odds: Hofstra -1.5 vs. Northeastern
  • Over/Under: 139.5
  • Time: 7 p.m. ET

Head coach Joe Mihalich has been on record about how disappointed the Pride were after losing last year’s championship game. Yet despite losing the two-time CAA Player of the Year Justin Wright-Foreman to graduation, they find themselves with a great chance to avenge last year’s loss.

Hofstra ranks first in CAA play in adjusted offensive efficiency, effective field goal percentage, and 3P%. The Pride also ranks tenth in the nation in free-throw shooting at 78.2%.

The Pride are led by a pair of superior senior guards in Desure Buie (18.4 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 6.1 apg, 41.4% 3P) and Eli Pemberton (17.4 ppg, 5.6 rgg, 36.6% 3P). Buie was particularly lethal in the pair of wins over Northeastern, with an average of 22.5 points while shooting 45.5% (5 of 11) from 3P.

Northeastern brings the top adjusted defensive efficiency rating in CAA play, but struggles at defending inside the arc. The Huskies rank just 320th in 2P% defense, allowing opponents to shoot a robust 53.7%. They also have been just average against the 3P, and teams in the CAA to shoot an average of 34.1%.

The Huskies also struggled against Hofstra’s pressure defense, averaging 16 turnovers between their two regular-season losses.

I’m siding with Hofstra, and expect them to get one step further than last year and reach the NCAA Tournament. Northeastern only tallied one win in their last five regular-season road games, and I don’t see a third win in three nights against the top-seeded Pride.

Pick: Hofstra -1.5

Eli Hershkovich

  • Odds: Northern Kentucky -4.5 vs. Illinois Chicago
  • Over/Under: 128.5
  • Time: 7 p.m. ET
  • TV: ESPN

Illinois Chicago dominated Wright State from the jump in the Horizon League tournament semifinals, never trailing and covering (+6) with ease. I’m backing the Flames again, as they present similar matchup advantages against Northern Kentucky.

Not only did the Flames take down the Norse (73-43) on Feb. 16, en route to six straight-up wins in their past seven games, but they pounded them on the glass (49-30) in the process.

Steve McClain’s bunch has a major size edge in this one, as they’re generating the highest defensive rebounding rate in conference play. Look for UIC to control the glass and the pace as a result, which should lead to plenty of transition opportunities vs. a Northern Kentucky team yielding the third-highest 2-point scoring rate amid its league slate.

The Flames are adept at scoring inside the arc as well, notching the second-highest 2-point scoring rate in Horizon League play. UIC guard Tarkus Furgeson’s dribble penetration will be key with the Norse failing to have a suitable matchup for him.

Pick: UIC +4.5

Collin Wilson

  • Odds: Virginia Tech +3.5 vs. UNC
  • Over/Under: 141
  • Time: 7 p.m. ET
  • TV: ESPN

To quote Roy Williams — “Virginia Tech made all the big plays down the stretch.” When the North Carolina coach was asked about his team’s losing performance against the Hokies on Jan. 22, Williams mentioned having plenty of defensive breakdowns. The Hokies shot 38% from 3-point range in the double overtime win.

North Carolina has changed in personnel since that game, but the perimeter defense remains the same. The Tar Heels rank 12th in 3-point defense in conference play. Virginia Tech has the top ACC point distribution from 3-point distance, putting North Carolina in a precarious position when defending the arc.

Both teams will have a chance to score points in bunches, as Virginia Tech’s defense is 13th in 2-point percentage within the ACC. The Tar Heels have a clear advantage on the glass on offense and defense, but struggle with an effective field goal percentage rank of 305th in the nation.

Look for Va. Tech super freshman Landers Nolley to continue dominating for the Hokies. He ranks first in the ACC in offensive usage and shot percentage.

Pick: Virginia Tech +3.5

Michael Calabrese

  • Odds: St. Francis (PA) -1 at Robert Morris
  • Over/Under: 144.5
  • Time: 7 p.m. ET
  • TV: ESPN2

The Red Flash enter tonight’s NEC final with as much positive momentum as any team in the country. Winners of 10 of its last 11, SFU boasts a pair of first team All-NEC wings, including NEC Player of the Year Isaiah Blackmon.

The talented wing is averaging 19 ppg, on 42.5% shooting from three-point range. Joining Blackmon on the perimeter is the stat-sheet stuffer Keith Braxton. The 2018-19 NEC POY is averaging an eye-catching 17.5/7.4/3.8 per game.

Despite the offensive firepower, for the Red Flash to make their first NCAA Tournament appearance in 29 years, they’ll need to beat Robert Morris on their home floor in Moon Township, which coincidentally is the last place SFU lost a game.

By the numbers, SFU should have the Colonials outgunned. The Red Flash have the NEC’s top offense by a long shot, and have really improved defensively in their past 10 games, allowing just 67.1 ppg, nearly five points below their season average.

If you’re looking for a key indicator, keep an eye on how both teams are sharing the basketball. Robert Morris is a top-10 team nationally in assists (16.2 apg, 9th) and nearly tripled SFU’s total during their 10-point win back on Feb. 29. Eleven days earlier, SFU beat RMU in the assists department (18-16) and that translated to a 15-point home blowout in favor of the Red Flashes.

Essentially if St. Francis can share the basketball better than RMU, the Flashes should win this one going away.

Expect plenty of St. Francis (PA) students to make the two-hour drive to the Pittsburgh suburbs for this one and for SFU to make it all worthwhile by punching the school’s first ticket to the Big Dance since 1991.

Pick: SFU -1

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