College Basketball Betting Picks: Our Staff’s 5 Best Bets for Tuesday
Sam Wasson/Getty Images. Pictured: Zane Martin #0 of the New Mexico Lobos, Malachi Flynn #22 of the San Diego State.
What college basketball’s Tuesday slate lacks in quantity it more than makes up for in quality.
We’ve got some pivotal mid-major matchups out West, a conference-defining Atlantic 10 clash and plenty of action in the power conferences, as well.
Here’s what our staff is betting on Tuesday night:
College Basketball Betting Picks
Odds as of Tuesday morning and via FanDuel, where Action Network users get a risk-free bet up to $500.
- Odds: St. Bonaventure -8 at St. Joe’s
- Over/Under: 145.5
- Time: 7 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPN+
If not for a concussion sustained by 6-foot-10 sophomore center Osun Osunniyi, the Bonnies could be on a double-digit winning streak.
St. Bonaventure (16-8) has won four in a row and sits just 2.5 games behind Dayton in the A-10. With Osunniyi on the court, the Bonnies’ last loss was at Buffalo on Dec. 30.
St. Joseph’s has struggled mightily under first-year head coach Billy Lange. The Hawks returned just one starter from last year’s team and sit 0-10 at the bottom of the conference. They haven’t fared much better against the spread, with an overall record of 9-13-1, having failed to cover five of their last seven games.
The Hawks have the worst defense in the A-10, ranking last among conference teams in:
- Adjusted defensive efficiency
- Effective field goal percentage
- Defensive turnover percentage
St. Joseph’s has also allowed opponents to shoot 52.6% from inside the arc and 36.1% from 3P.
St. Bonaventure will hold a huge advantage on the glass, ranking third-best in the A-10 in offensive rebounding and first in defensive prowess on the boards. The Bonnies also hold a big advantage on the free throw line, shooting 74% (77th nationally). Their three-headed guard trio of Kyle Lofton (14.8 ppg), Jaren English (11.8 ppg, 42.5% 3P), and Dominick Welch (11.8 ppg, 6.6 rpg) means you can’t take away just one scoring option.
Conference road games are always tough, but a solid post player is always a strong foundation for a traveling offense. Coming of a huge road win at Duquesne, I’ll back the Bonnies at winless St. Joseph’s and lay the big number.
Pick: St. Bonaventure -8
- Odds: UNC at Wake Forest +2
- Over/Under: 150
- Time: 7 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPN2
Pretty simple approach here. I have no idea how a UNC team that doesn’t have much to play for at this point will get motivated for a trip to Wake Forest after the Heels suffered one of the most heartbreaking losses of the season in OT against Duke in what was essentially their Super Bowl.
Wake also suffered a tough loss at Syracuse on Saturday, but I think the Demon Deacons will have a much easier time getting motivated at home against UNC.
Wake has some size to compete on the glass and UNC doesn’t really force turnovers defensively, which is a huge are of weakness for Wake.
I make Wake a small favorite so will gladly take the points here in a great situational spot to boot, as I think the market hs overreacted a touch after seeing UNC hang with Duke on Saturday night. This is still a poor basketball team.
Pick: Wake Forest +2
- Odds: Arkansas at Tennessee -2.5
- Over/Under: 134
- Time: 7 p.m. ET
- TV: SEC Network
Asking a depleted Arkansas team to go on the road and secure a victory may be a bit too much for Eric Musselman’s roster. The injury to Isaiah Joe has been disastrous to a team that is 332nd in bench minutes.
The short rotation has played a part in consecutive losses to both Auburn and Missouri. Each of those games went to overtime, where the Razorbacks did not have enough in the tank to secure victory. The Hogs have now lost five of their past seven games while staring at drop from a projected 10 seed to on the bubble for March Madness.
Tennessee is desperate for a win to get into the bracket picture. The Volunteers have just four wins in Quads 1 and 2, coming up just a couple of possessions short to Kansas and Kentucky in recent games.
The size of the Tennessee roster will play a major role in the matchup with Arkansas. The Hogs have been outsized and out-rebounded the entire season as the Volunteers are 36th in average height and are the top team in the SEC in defensive blocks.
Jimmy Whitt Jr. has been the 2-point jump shooter crucial to an Arkansas victory. The senior is dealing with injury against a Tennessee team that is top 25 in the nation in 2-point defense.
With Isaiah Joe still injured, Arkansas perimeter defense has taken a step back in conference play. The Volunteers have their heaviest point distribution from beyond the arc, and should find success against a depleted Arkansas team. Take the desperate home team against a depleted Razorback squad fresh off two overtime losses.
Pick: Tennessee -2.5
- Odds: Utah State-2 at Colorado State
- Over/Under: 143.5
- Time: 9:30 p.m. ET
- TV: CBSSN
This year’s NCAA Tournament bubble is particularly soft. That means mid-major conferences have a real opportunity to secure multiple bids as we edge closer to Selection Sunday.
The Mountain West should be a multi-bid conference, but only if Utah State can string together a few victories down the stretch. The Aggies, who were once 10-1, are making a late push for an at-large bid, and absolutely need to win out before the MWC Tournament tips in Vegas next month.
In its last six games, Utah State is 5-1 SU, 4-2 ATS and held an eight-point halftime lead over undefeated San Diego State. This run can be attributed to two factors — the improved play of Neemias Queta inside and the overall improvement of the Aggies’ defense. In their five MWC wins over this stretch, Utah State has held opponents to 53.6 ppg, a defensive run that has vaulted them into the top 50 of the following metrics:
- Opp Effective FG %
- Opp Shooting %
- Opp Assists/Game
- Opp Off Rebound %
The Aggies essentially don’t give up easy looks, make it difficult to share the ball, and limit second chance opportunities around the basket.
Colorado State, second in the MWC standings, is an excellent offensive team, which makes this matchup a battle of strength vs. strength. The Rams are the 19th most efficient offense in the country and share the ball better than anyone.
Beyond their assist metrics, four of the Rams’ five starters average double figures, a balance that makes it difficult to game plan against them. There is one metric, however, that plays directly into the hands of Utah State and that’s rebounding. The Rams rarely crack double digits on the offensive glass and average just seven per game (293rd).
The individual matchup of consequence is at center between Nico Carvacho and Neemias Queta. The Rams center has taken a step back in his senior year, but remains CSU’s bully in the paint.
When Carvacho can stay on the floor he’s a double-double machine. He also pulls down 28% of all CSU rebounds, one of the highest percentages of any player in the country, making his availability critical in this spot. If he gets into foul trouble, the rebounding edge goes from problematic to disastrous for the Rams.
This line has shifted three points overnight in favor of Utah State, an indicator of sharp action. Given the importance of the matchup at center, and Utah State’s edge, I’m agreeing with the line movement. I’ll take Neemias to win the battle and the Aggies to win the war here.
Pick: Utah State -2
- Odds: New Mexico at San Diego State -15.5
- Over/Under: 144
- Time: 11 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPN2
The Aztecs closed as a 12-point favorite before handing the Lobos a 28-point thrashing in The Pit on Jan. 29. If you translate that to the current line, it’d be off by roughly by 2.5-3 points.
But New Mexico returned JaQuan Lyle (suspension) and Vance Jackson (knee) in a get-right, 29-point home win over Wyoming on Saturday, snapping a three-game skid. Lyle leads the team in scoring (16.5 ppg) and assists per game (4.8), so his playmaking prowess represents a huge plus. Hence, there’s still a bit of value with New Mexico.
Look for the Lobos to come out of the gate aggressive on the glass while aiming to make SDSU uncomfortable by pushing the tempo. Even without Kansas transfer Carlton Bragg, who was kicked off the team last month, New Mexico presents a size advantage — showcased by their 17 offensive rebounds in their previous meeting.
If Paul Weir’s crew speeds up the pace, it should be able to score on an Aztecs team yielding the fourth-highest 2-point scoring rate (48.6%) in Mountain West play. New Mexico is tallying the highest scoring percentage in that department (53.4%).
San Diego State will be extremely motivated with an opportunity to clinch the MWC regular season title, but expect the Lobos to look to play spoiler in a revenge spot and snap the Aztecs’ three-game cover streak as a result.
Pick: New Mexico +15.5