College Basketball Best Bets | Friday’s Top Picks, Including Iona & Oakland (Jan. 27)

College Basketball Best Bets | Friday’s Top Picks, Including Iona & Oakland (Jan. 27) article feature image
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Photo by Bryan Bennett/Getty Images. Pictured: Jalen Moore (Oakland)

  • Looking for the college basketball picks to make on Friday night? You've come to the right place.
  • NCAAB betting analyst Matt Cox of Three Man Weave delivers his top 3 picks for today's slate, including Iona vs. Siena and Oakland vs. Youngstown State.
  • Check out all three college basketball best bets for Friday, Jan. 27, including which sportsbook offers preferred odds (as of writing).

Before we dive into Saturday's slate — which features the SEC/Big 12 Challenge — there's betting value to be had on Friday.

Three Man Weave's Matt Cox provides three best bets for three different mid-major games, including two Horizon League clashes.

So, dive in below and get the top college basketball odds and best bets for Friday evening.


Three Man Weave's NCAAB Best Bets for Friday

The team logos in the table below represent each of the matchups that Matt is targeting from Friday'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 (ET)
Pick
7 p.m.
Iona 1H -3.5
7 p.m.
Purdue Fort Wayne +4
9 p.m.
Oakland +9
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.


Iona vs. Siena

Friday, Jan. 27
7 p.m. ET
ESPNU
Iona 1H -3.5

By Matt Cox

Iona was the toast of the mid-major kingdom in November and December. Now, Rick Pitino’s Gaels look gimpy.

The injury bug bit hard — the extended loss of Quinn Slazinski is notable — which forced Pitino to make adjustments on the fly.

It’s still been a bumpy ride through the MAAC. Early losses to Quinnipiac and Rider swung the doors wide open for other hopefuls to make a charge at the regular season crown.

None are more opportunistic than Siena, which plays host tonight in a battle for outright first place.

Iona’s last four games don’t exude optimism for tonight’s tough road tilt in Albany. It nearly lost to Manhattan last Friday, escaping with an eight-point win in overtime. In fact, the Gaels are 0-4 in their last four contests against the number.

A recurring theme of “build early lead” then “squander said lead” is haunting Pitino. In Iona’s last two games, the Gaels led by 12 and 11 points at the half, respectively, before a desperate opponent came roaring back in the second half.

The difference maker last game was Walter Clayton, who clocked 40 productive minutes in his second game back in the rotation to help push Iona over the top.

Clayton’s absence for the start of league play is reason to believe the Gaels' recent woes offer a rare value point.

Additionally, the first half betting markets allow us to pounce on Iona’s recent in-game trendline — that is, establish dominance early.

As a motivated road favorite, expect the Gaels to come out guns blazing, especially off a full week idle.

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Purdue Fort Wayne vs. Cleveland State

Friday, Jan. 27
7 p.m. ET
ESPN+
Purdue Fort Wayne +4

By Matt Cox

Under Dennis Gates, Cleveland State relished in the underdog role — a mindset that quickly flipped the Vikings into the top dog in the Horizon.

Daniyal Robinson, the first-year head honcho, knew he had big shoes to fill when Gates departed for Mizzou this summer. A product of Iowa State’s demon-ish defensive staff, Robinson brought that same blueprint — along with a few big-time transfers — with him to Cleveland.

The Vikings could very well be 7-0 in their last seven games. A one-point loss to Northern Kentucky and an overtime loss to Milwaukee are the only two blemishes on their conference resume, save an early loss to Youngstown State.

We’re targeting a subtle revenge angle with the Mastadons.

Cleveland State beat Purdue Fort Wayne two weeks ago at home by double digits despite the ‘Dons holding a four-point lead early in the second half.

That game closed with Purdue Fort Wayne as a 5.5-point favorite, a 10-point swing from tonight’s line of +4.5 / +4.

As well as the Vikings are trending, that’s simply too much of an overreaction in such a short time span. The Mastadons were touted as the preseason favorites in the Horizon League this year and deserve more respect than this number implies.

A subtle X-Factor tonight could be Quinton Morton-Robertson, a 5-foot-8 jitterbug who’s been a key contributor since returning from a minor injury.

Don’t be scared by the spot, either.

Purdue Fort Wayne just played on Wednesday, so CSU will have the rest advantage heading into tonight’s showdown. However, per Action’s BetLabs, this angle has amounted to nothing historically.

Fading teams with only one day off versus teams with two or more days has been a losing system every year dating back to 2016.


Oakland vs. Youngstown State

Friday, Jan. 27
9 p.m. ET
ESPN2
Oakland +9

By Matt Cox

The boys of Youngstown are quietly laying waste to their Horizon brethren. This line will seem sky high to many, but it’s important to contextualize why the oddsmakers opened this at 10 — granted, it’s not rocket science.

Simply put, the Penguins are climbing the analytic charts at an incendiary pace.

Despite a letdown loss to Milwaukee over the weekend, YSU is knocking on the door of the KenPom top 100. Part of the bump was fueled by a 16-point win against Oakland in the Motor City two weeks ago.

Don’t let that lopsided result scare you from backing the Grizzlies tonight.

Oakland’s crop of talent is finally healthy (well mostly) after a dreadful non-conference showing, especially Jalen Moore, who is fresh off a sterling performance against crosstown rival Detroit on Monday.

Moore struggled in the first meeting against the ‘Guins, but he’s getting better and better with every game after laboring through an injury to start league play.

Oakland has proven it's not scared of anyone, anywhere in this league. The Golden Grizzlies already knocked off Northern Kentucky and Wright State on the road this year, and will have revenge on the top of their minds tonight when they arrive in Youngstown.

Greg Kampe’s postgame interview after the Detroit win underscored how enticing this Oakland team is.

He raved about how locked in defensively this team is, and the offensive upside is now within grasp thanks to Moore’s brilliance.

Against Youngstown’s brittle defense, Oakland should have no issue keeping pace thanks to its dynamite offense.


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