College Basketball Odds & Picks: Our 3 Best Bets for Friday’s Early Conference Tournament Games (March 11)
Dylan Buell/Getty Images. Pictured: David DeJulius.
The weekend starts early today, just like the college basketball action.
Games start as early as 11:30 a.m. ET in the Big Ten on this fine Friday, and the action rolls through 11:30 p.m. ET in the Pac-12, Big West and WAC.
Our college basketball staff is determined to start the day on a high note, so they came up with three best bets for Friday’s early games: Davidson vs. Fordham in the Atlantic 10, Louisiana Tech vs. North Texas in Conference USA and Cincinnati vs. Houston in the AAC.
Be sure to stop back later, too, because the Action Network’s college hoops staff will have even more best bets from the early evening games and the late-night set.
Friday College Basketball Best Bets
The team logos in the table below represent each of the matchups that our college basketball staff is targeting from today’s slate of games. Click the team logos for one of 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.|
Fordham vs. Davidson
By Alex Hinton
Davidson swept the season series against Fordham and went 1-1 against the spread in those games. The Wildcats are again big favorites on Friday at -11.5, but I have my eyes on the total.
Davidson is tied for second in the Atlantic 10 in scoring at 75.8 points per game. It ranks 10th nationally in adjusted offensive efficiency, 10th in 3-point percentage and 11th in effective field goal percentage. Davidson’s offense should hold up its end of the bargain.
If we have to sweat this one, it will likely be because of a Fordham offense that ranks in the 320s nationally in adjusted offensive efficiency, effective field goal percentage and 3-point percentage.
However, Davidson is 177th in adjusted defensive efficiency and 231st in 3-point percentage defense.
The first two meetings this season both went under. However, there were 135 points in the first meeting when the total was set at 137 points. The second meeting had 111 points with Fordham shooting 24.5% from the field and Davidson shooting 37.9% from the field and 5-of-27 from the 3-point line.
If there’s a little bit of positive shooting regression, the teams should combine for 135 points again, which would cash this over. After all, we only need 131.
Pick: Over 130.5 (Play to 133)
Louisiana Tech vs. North Texas
Thursday may be Louisiana Tech’s third game in as many days, but I think it has the ability to at least keep this game close, if not win.
North Texas boasts one of the best defenses in the country, ranked 20th in adjusted efficiency on defense. However, the Bulldogs offense ranks 101st in the nation in adjusted offensive efficiency.
The Bulldogs also have Kenneth Lofton Jr., who leads Tech with 16.5 points and 10 rebounds per game.
LT’s depth will be one of its biggest advantages against a North Texas team that has three players averaging over 30 minutes per game.
I think the Bulldogs can hold their own against the Mean Green defense, which they’ve already seen twice this year. Back Louisiana Tech as low as a four-point underdog.
Pick: Louisiana Tech +4.5 (Play to +4)
Cincinnati vs. Houston
Cincinnati hopes to keep its season alive as it matches up with Houston in the AAC Tournament quarterfinals.
The Bearcats survived East Carolina in the first round by hitting 10-of-26 from 3-point territory while holding the Pirates to 25% of its 20 attempts.
Houston makes its living off of creating extra possessions through forcing turnovers and snatching offensive rebounds. That’s not easy to do against a Cincinnati offense that rarely coughs up the basketball.
The Bearcats are going to clog the paint to limit the offensive rebounds and dare Houston to beat them with its outside shooting. Houston’s offense has connected on just under 32% of its 3-point attempts since entering conference play.
The chink in Houston’s armor is its horrid free-throw shooting. Kelvin Sampson’s group has connected on just 66% from the charity stripe, which is good for 333rd in the nation. Cincinnati’s top two scorers both convert at over 76% at the free-throw line. That could be an important factor, as both defenses rank worse than 275th in sending opponents to the line.
Cincinnati will be able to do enough to keep this game within striking distance with its season on the line.