College Basketball Betting Picks: Our Staff’s 6 Best Bets for Wednesday

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Rich Schultz/Getty Images. Pictured: Myles Powell

College basketball’s Wednesday slate may lack the high-end, ranked matchups from Tuesday, but there’s still plenty to look for.

Our staff has turned to the Big East, Big 12, and even the Summit and Southern to find value.

Here’s what we’re betting on Wednesday.

College Basketball Betting Picks


Odds as of Wednesday morning and via FanDuel, where Action Network users get a risk-free bet up to $500.


Collin Wilson

  • Odds: Iowa State at West Virginia -11.5
  • Over/Under: 144.5
  • Time: 7 p.m. ET
  • TV: ESPN2

Morgantown will host two teams going in separate directions when Iowa State comes to town. The Cyclones have lost their last nine games on the road and eight of 10 overall.

West Virginia has yet to drop a game at home all season, but will look to cover a double digit number on Wednesday. The advanced stats say the Mountaineers are going to get every chance to score points.

West Virginia feasts at the foul line, getting to the charity stripe at the third-highest rate in the nation. On the opposite end, the Mountaineers are almost last in fouls committed on defense with a rank of 350th. There should be plenty of opportunity for Bob Huggins’ squad to get points on the board without running off any clock.

When the clock is moving, Iowa State won’t put up much of a fight on defense.

The Cyclones are dead last in the Big 12 in defensive effective field goal percentage. That includes a cellar rank of 10th against the 3-pointers and No. 9 against 2-point shots.

West Virginia is the No. 1 offensive rebounding team in the nation, a problem Iowa State defenders will have ranking 288th nationally in defensive rebounding.

The Cyclones will probably have to wait until they’re back home at Hilton Coliseum on Saturday against Kansas State to snap this skid.

Pick: West Virginia -11.5

Michael Calabrese

  • Odds: The Citadel at UNC Greensboro-20
  • Over/Under: 145.5
  • Time: 7 p.m. ET
  • TV: ESPN3

The largest favorite of the night has caught my attention. UNC Greensboro is laying 20 points despite the fact that it’s 2-6 ATS as a double-digit favorite this season.

A sizable spread like this, in conference play no less, generally scares off casual gamblers. A commonly held belief is that familiarity between two programs keeps contests like this from going off the rails.

This demonstrates some flawed thinking from the public, particularly against an opponent that is winless in conference play.

In football, offensive explosiveness and an opponent’s ability to limit big plays is generally a good way to measure the potential for a blowout. In the same way, pace and offensive style measured against an opponent’s defensive metrics and preferred pace of play similarly can predict if one team is about to boat-race another.

The Citadel plays at the sixth-fastest pace in all of college basketball, which will translate to extra possessions for a UNCG team that plays at a pace ranked 251st nationally. One thing we know for sure is that UNCG lives and dies by the 3-point shot, attempting 27 treys per game (24th), while connecting on 8.3 (70th).

Only five teams in the entire country allow more three-point attempts per game than The Citadel, so it’ll be bombs away from the opening tip for UNCG.

The only thing worse than the Bulldogs’ defense is their rebounding. They’re buried in the 300s in every rebounding statistic, most notably the amount of offensive rebounds they surrender (10.2 orpg, 321st).

This has been UNCG’s secret weapon this season, particularly in SoCon play. The Spartans collect 11 offensive boards per game, tops in their conference and 22nd nationally. UNCG snagged 13 offensive rebounds at The Citadel on Jan. 15, nearly offsetting a horrific shooting night. The Spartans won by 10 but failed to cover an 11.5-point spread.

A slight improvement in their shooting, an up-and-down track meet brought on by the Bulldogs and more of the same on the offensive glass should translate to a rout for UNGC. This is my play of the week thus far.

Pick: UNCG -20

Eli Hershkovich

  • Odds: Creighton at Providence -1
  • Over/Under: 141.5
  • Time: 7 p.m. ET
  • TV: FSN

Providence is set up for another prime spot tonight, even after tallying an outright win at Butler on Saturday after closing as a 6.5-point underdog.

The Friars will have revenge on their minds after blowing a five-point lead at Creighton with 1:41 left on Jan. 18. Despite allowing the Bluejays to shoot 50% from 3-point land, Ed Cooley’s squad should hold them in check this time around, as its opponents are shooting 19.6% on 3s ever since.

Providence has allowed a below-average 3-point scoring rate (28.7%) overall. Creighton’s performance was a product of playing at its typical uptempo pace at home, but I’m expecting the Friars’ size advantage to play a role in controlling the glass and slowing them down in the process.

At the other end, Cooley’s unit should aim to attack inside the arc more against a Bluejays team that’s giving up the 49th-highest 2-point scoring rate (54.9%) in Division I.

The 6-foot-9 Nate Watson (9.7 points per game) will have his way with a smaller frontcourt if Providence isn’t forced to rely on its perimeter attack.

Pick: Providence -1

Stuckey

  • Odds: Creighton at Providence -1
  • Over/Under: 141.5
  • Time: 7 p.m. ET
  • TV: FSN

I’ll echo what Eli said and make Providence my favorite bet on the board (besides my seemingly obligatory bet on Ole Miss, which has morphed into Providence).

Both teams are coming off road upsets this past weekend, so there isn’t any huge situational edge, although I do think the more desperate PC team at home is less vulnerable to a potential letdown spot here.

But ultimately I just think this is a very good matchup for a veteran Providence team that should give Creighton all kinds of trouble on the glass. The physicality difference should show here.

Plus, Creighton is near the top of my regression list as they now lead the conference in 3P shooting offense and defense. I think the Friars get their revenge from an earlier season loss at Creighton that really could’ve went either way.

Pick: Providence -1

Steve Petrella

  • Odds: North Dakota State -2.5 at Neb. Omaha
  • Over/Under: 143
  • Time: 8 p.m. ET

Despite going a respectable 3-3 in its last six, Nebraska Omaha has been getting worse over the last month.

You can see the steep drop in the Mavericks’ power rating over the last month (via Haslametrics). They rank 271th in the nation over their last 30 days, a big drop from 207th over the full season.

Enter North Dakota State, a senior-laden team with an efficient offense that’s probably due for some favorable 3-point regression. The Bison are No. 11 nationally in free-throw percentage, which correlates somewhat with future 3-point percentage. But their 3-point percentage ranks just 152nd.

Omaha boasted an excellent mid-major offense last year and porous defense. This year, the defense remains just as bad but the offense has taken a big step back.

I’ll take NDSU and its modern offense to cover this short number. I wouldn’t play it beyond -3.

Pick: NDSU -2.5

Mike Randle

  • Odds: Seton Hall -3.5
  • Over/Under: 147
  • Time: 8:30 p.m. ET
  • TV: FS1

Seton Hall (16-5) saw its perfect start to Big East conference play with a surprising 74-62 loss at home to Xavier. However, I expect a solid bounceback at a shorthanded Georgetown team tonight.

Georgetown (13-9) will be playing its second game without leading-scorer Mac McClung (16.4 ppg) who suffered a foot injury in practice. Head coach Patrick Ewing said he hopes to have McClung back for Saturday against DePaul.

Seton Hall fans breathed a sign of relief when an MRI revealed only a knee sprain for senior guard Quincy McKnight (11.5 ppg). He is listed as day-to-day and is actually likely to play against the Hoyas.

Georgetown has struggled mightily on defense in conference play, ranking last among all Big East teams in adjusted defensive efficiency, effective field goal percentage allowed, and 3P% defense. The Hoyas haven’t distinguished themselves on offense either, ranking eighth in the Big East in 2P% offense. The loss of McClung will severely limit an offense that already relies on an already short-bench that now enters this game with only six scholarship players.

They Hoyas dropped four of their last five conference games prior to a miracle 73-72 comeback against St. John’s on Sunday.

Seton Hall already defeated Georgetown by 16 points at home, when McClung had 20 of the Hoyas’ 62 total team points. The Pirates’ All-American candidate Myles Powell (21.4 ppg) was one of four Seton Hall players in double-figures with 15 points, a total he likely exceeds here.

I expect Seton Hall to respond with a big performance on the road against a tired and short-handed Georgetown team. The Pirates cannot afford to drop consecutive games before a road game at Villanova on Saturday. I will lay the small number with the Pirates, who should have McKnight back for a complete starting lineup.

Pick: Seton Hall -3.5

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