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Mid-Major College Basketball Odds, Picks: How to Bet Louisiana Tech vs. UTEP & More

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  • Another Saturday college basketball slate means there are plenty of mid-major games to bet.
  • Keg broke down three mid-major games for Saturday, including Sam Houston vs. Texas State, Northwestern State vs. Rice and Louisiana Tech vs. UTEP.
  • Read on for mid-major college basketball odds and picks below.

Bottom of the Barrel Picks for Saturday, December 17

It’s been a little over a month since the season began. Each team has played at least seven or eight games, and we’re getting — at the very least — a decent idea of who some teams are.

As I looked down Saturday’s slate, two teams I’ve made note of so far — who are outshining all expectations — caught my eye, along with one game that seems like a match made in heaven for an over.

Only after did I realize that all three games stretch from one end of the same state to the other. So, saddle up because this week’s Bottom of the Barrel heads to the Lonestar State.


Bottom of the Barrel College Basketball Best Bets

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.

Game
Time
Pick
3 p.m. ET
Sam Houston -10 or Better
3 p.m. ET
Northwestern State -3 or Better
8 p.m. ET
Over 145 or Better
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.

Sam Houston vs. Texas State

Saturday, Dec. 17
3 p.m. ET
ESPN+
Sam Houston -10 or Better

Our first game of the day will see two of Texas’ own match up, as the Texas State Bobcats host Sam Houston.

There might not be two teams playing each other this week that are further away when it comes to performance so far.

Texas State is looking to bounce back and avoid falling to .500 on the season. The Bobcats just lost to Mary Hardin Baylor, a Division III opponent — that’s not a typo, either.

Sam Houston, on the other hand, is 8-2 on the season and has pulled off upsets against Oklahoma and Utah. They’re also 5-2 ATS and covering by an average of 11 points per game.

Not only is Sam Houston winning, it’s winning against significantly stronger opponents, per Haslametrics. The Bearkats rank 75th overall when it comes to schedule strength, while Texas State comes in at 307th.

Neither team has been great offensively, as they both rely mainly on their defense and rank outside the top 250 when it comes to Adjusted Tempo. But Texas State is nowhere close to Sam Houston’s league when it comes to talent and ability.

I expect Sam Houston to have a massive impact when it comes to forcing turnovers, as well as finding and making the most of second-chance opportunities. The Bearkats are sixth in the nation in defensive turnover percentage and rank 46th in offensive rebounding percentage.

Back the Bearkats as high as a 10-point favorite over the Bobcats.

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Northwestern State vs. Rice

Saturday, Dec. 17
3 p.m. ET
CUSA.tv
Northwestern State -3 or Better

Our second game on Saturday will feature two teams who have had impressive starts to the season.

The Northwestern State Demons, who are 8-2 so far on the year, will look to extend their seven-game win streak against the Rice Owls.

The Owls, meanwhile, are 7-3, and they nearly pulled off an upset over Texas this past Monday, taking the Longhorns to OT before falling 87-81.

Both have teams been especially bad when it comes to points allowed. The Demons have allowed 72.8 points per game, while the Owls are in the bottom-50 nationally, giving up 79 points per game on average.

The Demons have faced considerably tougher competition and done better against it. Northwestern State even pulled off an upset over TCU earlier this season and has two wins over teams ranked in the top 200.

One major area I think Northwestern State can pull away against Rice will be from beyond the perimeter. The Demons are a top-50 team in the nation when it comes to 3-point percentage, hitting 37.5% of their attempts.

They also rely heavily on deep shooting, with 36.3% of their scoring coming from 3-point range. They rank 80th in 3-point attempts and 40th in made 3s.

Rice, however, ranks outside the top 300 defensively when it comes to 3-point percentage — as well as made 3s — while it’s 243rd in 3-point attempts.

Back the Demons as high as a three-point favorite over Rice.

Pick: Northwestern State -3 or Better

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Louisiana Tech vs. UTEP

Saturday, Dec. 17
8 p.m. ET
CUSA.tv
Over 145 or Better

Our final game on Saturday will see the UTEP Miners and Louisiana Tech Bulldogs open up Conference USA play in El Paso.

The Bulldogs come into this game trying to avoid losing their third game in a row, having lost back-to-back against Stephen F. Austin and Wyoming.

UTEP will be returning home after suffering a 21-point loss at the hands of DePaul. The loss was the Miners’ second in their last three games, with the other coming against New Mexico State (20+ point loss, as well).

Both teams rank outside the top 250 when it comes to opponent points per game, with each giving up 73+ on the season.

They’ve also combined to be 10-4-1 on overs so far this year.

Neither team plays at a particularly fast pace, but with both shooting the ball at 45% or better and struggling on the defensive end, I think we will see this become a shootout in West Texas rather quickly.

I’ll be betting the Miners and the Bulldogs to go over the total at 145 or better.


Keg’s Drink of the Week 

This week’s drink of choice seems like a no-brainer, given the location of all of our games.

Garrison Bros Guadalupe Texas Straight Bourbon

As if a Texas Bourbon isn’t original enough, why not add to it by aging it an additional two years in Portuguese Port Cask after the first four in American oak barrels.

It’s not traditional. It’s not one of the historic Kentucky Bourbon brands, but man is it good. Most Bourbon’s that get above 100 proof have never been “enjoyable” in my opinion, but at 107 proof, Garrison Bros have figured out something special.

The Bourbon is sweet, which bodes well with the high proof. It has a distinct maple/vanilla flavor followed by a taste similar to caramel corn. This Bourbon was recommended to me by someone after discussing dessert wine. And while it’s very much a Bourbon, it works well in place of a dessert wine.

Cheers, and good luck.

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