NCAAB Best Bets | Three Man Weave’s Top Picks, Featuring Kent State vs Akron, More (Friday, Feb. 3)

NCAAB Best Bets | Three Man Weave’s Top Picks, Featuring Kent State vs Akron, More (Friday, Feb. 3) article feature image
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Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Kent State Golden Flashes home basketball court.

Before another loaded Saturday slate featuring many ranked matchups, Matt Cox of Three Man Weave breaks down Friday's college basketball schedule with three best bets.

It's mid-major night, so dive in now to get a good understanding of the games and lock in your college hoops card with our top odds and best bets.


Friday NCAAB Best Bets from Three Man Weave

The team logos in the table below represent each of the matchups that Matt Cox of Three Man Weave 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
6:30 p.m.
Eastern Michigan +11
7 p.m.
Columbia +14.5
9 p.m.
Kent State +1
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.


Eastern Michigan vs. Ball State

Friday, Feb. 3
6:30 p.m. ET
CBS Sports Network
Eastern Michigan +11

By Matt Cox

Here come Emoni Bates and the boys of Ypsilanti.

The punchline of the MAC are quietly winners of two straight and now travel back down to Ohio to take on the Ball State Cardinals.

Bates made national headlines a week and a half ago with a near upset over Toledo, a game in which he scored 27 straight points to close out the first half.

That inspirational performance marked a turning point in the Eagles' season. Since, EMU seized an outright road win at Miami (OH) and a convincing double-digit win at home over Ohio.

There’s still major holes in the Eagles’ defensive armor, but the last three games proves there’s still plenty of heart in this talented squad.

Structurally, Stan Heath still has work to do, but there’s value rooted in the fact that this team is still trying and competing on every possession. Hey, it’s translated into three straight covers, two of which were by substantial margins.

Tonight’s tilt is nationally televised, another reason to bank on a big effort from the road Eagles.

Keep an eye on two key role pieces, too, who could buoy this mini-run even higher.

Talented guard Kevin-David Rice notched his first start of the season last time out — presumably the healthiest he’s been in some time — while freshman big man Legend Geeter returned after missing the three games prior.

For this porous defensive club, both are relative assets on that end, and offer additional scoring outlets to Bates and his Robin — Noah Farrakhan — on the offensive side of the ball.

The extreme volatility of EMU sets up for a potential moneyline swing, but there’s no need to get greedy.

Even if the Eagles revert back to old habits tonight, the gargantuan spread offers a wide open back door opportunity for Bates and Farrakhan in garbage time — though, let’s hope we don’t need that contingency plan.

Pick: Eastern Michigan +11 (Play to +10)

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Columbia vs. Penn

Friday, Feb. 3
7 p.m. ET
ESPN+
Columbia +14.5

By Matt Cox

Since 2016, Ivy League double-digit road underdogs are 32-21, per Action’s BetLabs.

That’s a strong foundational starting block for this wager, which backs the dreadful Columbia Lions.

In fact, much of that sample is attributable to last year’s Columbia team, which was outstanding in this exact spot against unsuspecting or apathetic Ivy challengers.

Despite finishing in the basement of the Ivy standings — and only six spots away from the bottom of KenPom’s national rankings — the Lions finished 7-7 against the number in league play and an impressive 9-4 against the spread away from home.

Could we see a rerun of last year’s movie? Well, it helps that Columbia is priced like a garage sale giveaway fresh off six straight double-digit losses at the moment, but that’s precisely why it’s time to buy.

Columbia has a right for improvement, too, with versatile Liam Murphy back in action.

Murphy is a pivotal veteran presence and a useful jack-of-all-trades type player. Granted, he's not a world beater by any stretch, but it doesn’t take much to move the needle on this talent-starved, baby-faced roster.

Penn’s immensely talented, but the Red and Blue are still battling a myriad of minor injuries, which could prompt head coach Steve Donahue to rest one or more critical cogs tonight — or at least manage their minutes, especially with a looming date against first-place Cornell tomorrow.

Pick: Columbia +14.5 (Play to +13)


Kent State vs. Akron

Friday, Feb. 3
9 p.m. ET
ESPNU
Kent State +1

By Matt Cox

How is Kent State a dog in league play?

That might be a common gut reaction to the Golden Flashes opening as a short road dog tonight at Akron.

After all, this is the same team that nearly beat Houston in Houston, only lost by seven to Gonzaga in The Kennel and came a bucket shy of beating the recently-ranked Charleston Cougars on the road.

However, there’s nothing "fishy" about this line. KenPom projects this as a one-point Kent State win, close to on mark with the current price.

The Zips, shockingly, hold a half-game lead over Kent in the MAC standings at this juncture, fueled by a seven-game win streak dating back to early January.

Still, don’t be scared of the "stink."

Kent State is as road-tested as any team in America and won’t be bothered by a mini road trip to in-state MAC brethren Akron, especially with the stakes sky high.

Oh, and bear in mind this is the same Akron team that rudely ended the Flashes’ season in the MAC Tournament championship game last year.

Veterans Sincere Carry, Malique Jacobs and Giovanni Santiago will be bloodthirsty for vengeance against the team that spoiled their 2022 NCAA tournament hopes and dreams.

The key for Rob Senderoff’s group is containing Xavier Castaneda, who’s been a one-man wrecking ball since returning from injury in early January.

Castaneda scored 30+ points three times over his last four games, but he hasn’t seen a defender of Carry’s caliber during that span.

Carry — who laid an egg against Akron in last year’s MAC title loss — should be especially fired up to put that performance to bed and make an emphatic statement that he’s the best guard in this league.

In short, we’re backing the better team as a motivated road dog in a favorable spot with plenty to play for.


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