College Basketball Mid-Major Picks, Odds: Keg’s Bottom of the Barrel Bets for Saturday (Jan. 7)
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Bottom of the Barrel Picks for Saturday, January 7
Saturday’s slate is massive. Now that we’re in the full swing of conference play, we’ll see games from coast-to-coast from 11:30 a.m. ET to our last round of tip-offs at 10 p.m. ET.
And with so many games, it’s easy to miss that extra games tab, which is exactly what the Bottom of the Barrel is for.
Let’s take a look at three games I’m targeting for Saturday’s slate.
Bottom of the Barrel College Basketball Best Bets
The team logos in the table below represent each of the matchups that our 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.|
Milwaukee vs. IPFW
Milwaukee ranks among the bottom three teams in the nation in experience and minutes continuity. But that hasn’t stopped it from rattling off a 4-1 record in conference play so far.
Purdue Fort Wayne, meanwhile, is top-five in experience and minutes continuity, returning most of the team that won a share of the Horizon League regular season championship a season ago.
It’s the defending champ versus the up-and-comer, a tale as old as time. Not to mention, Milwaukee has never beaten the Mastodons, as it’s currently 0-5 in the series all-time.
However, the winner is not what I’m worried about in this game.
It’s a total that’s entirely too low.
The Panthers and Mastodons are two of the top four highest-scoring teams in the Horizon League. Milwaukee is 49th in Adjusted Tempo, and Fort Wayne is by no means a slow-playing team (108th).
Both squads have also been threatening from 3-point range and love to pull up from deep. Milwaukee is third in conference — hitting 35.2% of its shots — while the Mastodons are fifth, cashing in on 35%.
Both teams’ defenses have been solid when it comes to defending 3s, but both have averaged more than 22 3-point attempts a game and average above 71 points per game.
That’s why I was so surprised to see this total open up at 141.
I expected this number to be around 147-149. Getting 141 here — in what I expect to not only be a 3-point-contest, but a battle among top teams in the Horizon — feels like a can’t-miss line.
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Saint Joe’s vs. Fordham
After playing the easiest non-conference schedule in all of college basketball (363rd), it appears the chickens have finally come to roost for Fordham.
The Rams are off to an 0-2 start in conference play and are falling down the A-10 ranks at a blistering pace.
But on Saturday, I think there’s a chance at redemption as they face off against the Saint Joseph’s Hawks.
First and foremost, Fordham will be back at home, where it has won all but one of its first 12 games. The Rams are better at home — there’s no doubt about that.
They also played their first two conference games against tougher A-10 competition in Davidson and Rhode Island.
Saint Joseph’s will be a much more beatable opponent for the Rams, who are even hungrier for a win now after dropping their first two conference matchups.
Since conference play began, Fordham has struggled severely at the offensive end, ranking last in the conference in offensive efficiency and effective field goal percentage.
Against a Saint Joseph’s team that’s third-worst in defensive efficiency in conference play, I think the Rams can bounce back in a big way.
In addition to that, I think this line is decently off due largely to Fordham’s tough start to conference play. I would back the Rams as high as an eight-point favorite, and getting a line that’s almost half that feels insane, in my opinion.
UNC Wilmington vs. North Carolina A&T
The UNC Wilmington Seahawks hit the road looking to add onto the nation’s second-longest win streak.
They’ll do so against the North Carolina A&T Aggies.
The Seahawks and Aggies are second and third in the CAA, respectively, when it comes to scoring, behind only Charleston.
North Carolina A&T’s last game actually came against Charleston, a matchup in which the Aggies were blown out. They were down by as many as 30 at one point before garbage time scoring led them to just a 13-point loss.
UNC Wilmington has one major difference from Charleston — it’s much better on defense. The Seahawks rank second in the conference, holding teams to just 63 points per game.
I think their defense — especially on the perimeter — will be huge against North Carolina A&T.
The Aggies are 15th in the nation when it comes to point distribution from 3-pointers, while UNCW has been the third-best team in conference play when it comes to defending the 3.
I don’t think this one is close, and I really don’t think this line is large enough. Outside of its defensive advantage, UNCW is also one of the best teams in the nation when it comes to drawing fouls, forcing opposing teams into 18.8 per game. It also averages 20.5 free-throw attempts per contest.
Back the Seahawks to handle the Aggies in this one
Keg’s Beverage of the Weekend
I’ll be westbound as I’m headed to Sin City. One of the few stops on my list that doesn’t list odds on the wall will be a Nevada Bourbon Distillery that has impressed me each time I’ve tried it.
Smoke Wagon Bourbon
Smoke Wagon hasn’t been around for long, but it’s a Bourbon that didn’t take long to gain popularity after winning double goal at the World Spirits Competition in 2020.
This Bourbon has a high rye mash bill, which is something I don’t usually like. But the honey and caramel taste really compliments it well and has made it one of the few rye’s I will go out of my way for.
Cheers and good luck.