College Basketball Odds & Picks: Our Top Mid-Major Bets, Including UNLV vs. San Diego & Grand Canyon vs. Wyoming
Photo by Philippe LOPEZ / AFP) (Photo by PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP via Getty Images
- With every college basketball slate comes plenty of mid-major betting value.
- Keg breaks down his favorite mid-major games to bet on Saturday, including UNLV vs. San Diego and Grand Canyon vs. Wyoming.
- Check out Keg's top mid-major bets for Saturday's college hoops slate below.
Bottom of the Barrel Picks for Saturday, December 3
It feels like Groundhog Day when I type out just how big of a day Saturday is in sports and how easy it is to lose track of these low-tier college basketball games.
But it couldn’t be more true. A lot of casual bettors — or even fans — miss out on early-season college basketball due to college football.
Not to mention everything else going on. Every major pro sport — other than baseball — is in action on Saturday, and that’s without talking about the World Cup, UFC and more.
Not many people are building their Saturday schedule — or their bets for the day — and have the Battle of the Holy City circled on their calendar. I, however, have had a reminder on my phone since the hoops schedule came out earlier this year.
Here’s how I’m betting the Chucktown Showdown and two other games I love on Saturday.
Bottom of the Barrel College Basketball Best Bets (Sat, Dec. 3)
The team logos in the table below represent each of the matchups that Keg is targeting from Saturday’s slate of games. Click the team logos for one the matchups below to navigate to a specific bet discussed in this article.
|Specific bet recommendations come from the sportsbook offering preferred odds as of writing. Always shop for the best price using our NCAAB Odds page, which automatically surfaces the best lines for every game.|
Charleston vs. The Citadel
I don’t know what I love more: the city of Charleston or this Charleston Cougars team. It’s a tight race, to say the least.
The Cougars are 7-1 to start the season, with big wins over Kent State, Colorado State and Virginia Tech on their way to winning their home MTE event.
And while their only loss of the season has come away from home, I don’t see making the trip to The Citadel being too much of an issue. For those that don’t know, The Citadel’s campus is a strong 1.9 miles away from the College of Charleston.
Despite their proximity, though, it will be the first time since 2016 the two teams meet — this being their 98th meeting all-time. Charleston currently holds a 10-game win streak in the series, as well.
There is somewhat of an in-town rivalry factor between the two teams, but I don’t see that being much of a factor with just how good this Charleston team has been.
The Cougars’ defense is lacking, as they’ve allowed teams to put up 75.9 points per game. But I don’t see The Citadel offense — that’s averaging 67.7 points and posting a shooting percentage of 43.1% — taking much advantage of that.
The Bulldogs also play at a pace that ranks outside the top 200 in Adjusted Tempo (per Kenpom), and while their defense has been okay, I think the Cougars’ ability to push the pace on offense can really help them pull away in this one.
Charleston opened as a 10.5-point favorite over The Citadel, and even with it being an in-town game, that’s a few points lower than what I expected.
I’d be comfortable backing the Cougars as high as a 13.5-point favorite here.
What is QuickSlip?
QuickSlip is an Action Network feature that allows users to automatically pre-load their bet slip at FanDuel Sportsbook.
Grand Canyon vs. Wyoming
- Both of these teams have performed incredibly different from what I expected coming into the season.
- The total is listed as if that won’t change anytime soon.
Both of these teams have shot the ball poorly to start the season, specifically Grand Canyon, which ranks outside the top 300 when it comes to shooting percentage.
But that could change in a hurry against a Wyoming defense that is without Graham Ike.
Wyoming, meanwhile, was without Ike and Hunter Maldonado in its last game. And despite it being a loss, the shooting from the players off the bench and those who haven’t played much this season was outstanding. The Cowboys hit 53.2% from the floor and better than 50% from beyond the arc.
Sure, it was against a Santa Clara defense that is lacking, but the Cowboys don’t need to hit 50% every game, and they’ll likely have Maldonado back against GCU.
While these teams do both rank outside the top 300 in pace of play, I still think this total is low given the 3-point potential of both teams. Wyoming and GCU both rank inside the top 75 when it comes to 3-point attempts per game.
The Cowboys’ defense has struggled on the perimeter, as well, and could be the opening the Lopes need to find their rhythm from deep.
I expected the total on this game to open up around 129-133, and I wasn’t even considering it given the unpredictability of both teams so far this year.
But 123.5 is far too low, and that number is almost too good to pass up, in my opinion. I’m comfortable taking the over in this matchup at 128 or better.
UNLV vs. San Diego
One of our last games of the night on Saturday comes between two of the most underrated teams in the country, in my opinion.
UNLV is off to a perfect 7-0 start to the season behind one of the best defensive units in the nation.
San Diego, meanwhile, is 5-3 so far on the year, highlighted by its most recent win over Longwood. The Toreros are stacked with experience and their offense has taken games down to the wire against some solid competition in Utah State and New Mexico State.
The UNLV defense ranks 22nd in the nation, holding teams to an average of just 58.3 points per game. Also, opponents have shot just 38.7% from the field.
Even more impressive has been the Rebels’ ability to create turnovers without fouling. They lead the nation in turnovers forced per game (22.5) and come in at 41st, logging just 14.6 fouls per game as a team.
UNLV’s offense, however, has been a different story. The Rebels rank 262nd in effective field goal percentage and average just 69.8 points per game.
However, I think they’ll have one of their best chances this season to succeed on offense, as the San Diego defense is allowing teams to shoot better than 48% from the floor.
San Diego’s offense has been solid, but no team it’s faced this season has come close to what it’ll face against the UNLV defense.
And with the favorable matchup for the Rebels’ offense, I can see them running away with this one.
UNLV opened as a 2.5-point favorite over the Toreros, but I’d back the Rebels as high as four-point favorite to stay undefeated.
Beverage of the Week Selection
I’ve never been someone who keeps a ton of bourbon around at home. I have mostly tried different bourbons when out, or on trips to distilleries, or at someone’s house.
And I’ve never been very picky when it comes to bourbon. I’m not a big fan of rye, but if you’re offering, I’m not going to turn it down.
So, with the plan of wanting to keep some variety on hand and branch out, I went to Twitter on Friday and asked for help selecting a few.
After a ton of feedback, there was one that stuck out to me that I have yet to try: Penelope Toasted Series.
What stuck out to me most about Penelope was how I could taste the char, and I mean that in a good way. It’s a different taste, but one I enjoyed.
One thing that really peaked my interest in this bourbon was that each batch of the toasted series was made with a unique blend of Penelope’s three bourbons, making each bottle unique and different.
Cheers, and good luck this weekend.