College Basketball Best Bets for Thursday: 4 Top Picks, Including Arizona State vs. San Diego State
Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images. Pictured: Matt Bradley (3) of the San Diego State Aztecs basketball team.
- Arizona State taking on San Diego State and Rutgers facing DePaul highlights Thursday night in college hoops.
- Charlotte also faces App State and UAB vs. South Carolina offers value, as well.
- Our staff breaks down those four games.
With early-season college basketball tournaments tipping off today, we’ve got plenty to bet on this afternoon. However, we can’t forget about today’s evening slate, which features valuable betting spots in four games.
Our staff breaks down those four matchups — including Rutgers vs. DePaul in the Gavitt Tipoff Games and Arizona State vs. San Diego State — and offers up their best bets.
Thursday’s 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 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.|
Charlotte vs. Appalachian State
By Doug Ziefel
This is a matchup where there is definitely a case to say that the wrong team is favored.
While the Charlotte 49ers may not have the name value that the Appalachian State Mountaineers have, they are the better team.
The 49ers will have a sizable advantage on the offensive end, as they outrank App State 138 to 174 in adjusted efficiency.
Junior guard Jahmir Young has been the unquestioned leader for Charlotte, as he leads the team in points, rebounds and assists. He is not alone, though, as forward Robert Braswell has emerged as a factor off the bench. He’s averaging over 12 points per game with a 73% field goal percentage.
The shots from inside the arc should fall at a heavy rate for the 49ers, as the Mountaineers rank 325th in opponent two-point field goal percentage.
On the other end of the floor, the Mountaineers may struggle and their opportunities could be few and far between. Charlotte will have the advantage, as its 144 adjusted defensive efficiency ranking significantly outranks the App State offense, which is 205th in adjusted offensive efficiency.
The 49ers will also be able to limit the Mountaineers’ second and extra chances, as they are 43rd in opponent rebounds per game and 46th in assist to turnover ratio.
The market has begun to hit this line hard but there should still be value on it as Bart Torvik has App State as only a one-point favorite. This is a game that could easily be decided by one possession, but Charlotte certainly has the ability to come out on top.
Pick: Charlotte +4.5 (Play to +3)
UAB vs. South Carolina
By Mike Randle
UAB is again flying high under head coach Andy Kennedy, as its off to a perfect 3-0 start.
The Blazers now travel to South Carolina for their first road game against the Gamecocks. UAB returns four starters from last year’s 22-7 (13-5 in C-USA) season.
The Blazers are relentless on defense, ranking in the top 20 in turnovers forced per game and the top six in defensive steal percentage.
On offense, they are incredibly efficient, producing a 62.6% rate from 2P to join a top-15 overall effective field goal percentage.
UAB added a ton of transfers to its returning core and have addressed its only glaring weakness on offense: 3-point shooting. UAB is currently shooting 39% from deep, a top-60 number in the country. The Blazers ranked outside the top-250 teams in 3-point accuracy the past two seasons.
Frank Martin’s Gamecocks are off to a 2-1 start, but don’t have the offensive firepower of years past. They are only shooting 23.6% from deep and continue to struggle from the foul line (67.9%). They have struggled with offensive turnovers after losing key players from last year’s team, a bad harbinger against UAB.
I’m backing the Blazers to earn a nice road win at South Carolina. I’m laying the 2.5 and I would be comfortable up to UAB -3.
Pick: UAB -2.5 (Play to -3)
Rutgers vs. DePaul
The DePaul roster looks much different than it did last season, and that may not be the worst thing for a group that finished 5-14 overall. COVID played a pivotal role in the disappointing year for the Blue Demons, as they didn’t start their season until December 23rd and played just two non-conference games.
DePaul lost five players to the transfer portal and Romeo Weems, who is on the Memphis Grizzlies’ G-League roster. The Blue Demons brought in a slew of players from the transfer portal that will hopefully help the offensive woes from last year.
The group owned the 257th-ranking in offensive efficiency last year, while ranking 307th in effective field goal percentage. DePaul turned the ball over on 22.1% of its possessions and rarely made it to the free-throw line.
The Blue Demons are 2-0 on the season so far, but have only matched up against two teams that rank outside the top 300 in the nation.
The Rutgers Scarlet Knights will be the first true test for the DePaul group of transfers.
Rutgers finished last season 16-12, which earned them an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. Geo Baker returns for his fifth year, along with Ron Harper Jr., forming a dominant one-two punch for the Scarlet Knights.
The Knights ranked 12th in defensive efficiency last season and will be able to lean on their dominant defense in this matchup. Rutgers held Merrimack to just 35 points in its second game of the season.
Though Rutgers hasn’t shot the ball well in its first two games (22% from 3-point, 43% from 2P) this is a great breakout opportunity for the program.
DePaul has allowed opponents to hit 42.2% on 3-point attempts, which ranks 312th in the nation. The Blue Demons have played at an extremely fast pace in their first two games and Rutgers will slow this down to a possession-by-possession grind.
Rutgers is the more experienced unit that will control the pace and win this game on the defensive side of the ball.
Pick: Rutgers -2.5 (Play to -3)
Arizona State vs. San Diego State
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
The Sun Devils are broken, but fading them is not. Arizona State is 0-3 against the spread (ATS) this season, having already lost outright to UC Riverside — albeit on a last-second miracle from beyond half-court, but the point remains.
Bobby Hurley had to replace over 60% of his minutes from last season, including three starters and their top-two scorers in Remy Martin and Alonzo Verge Jr.. Well, the inexperience and discontinuity is showing.
Marreon Jackson was brought in from Toledo to replace Martin at the point. The high-volume MAC scorer has averaged just seven points on 33%/30% splits through three games. The whole offense has posted an effective field goal mark under 50% (150th).
I don’t know how ASU will score on this Aztecs defense. ASU will want to play fast-paced (top-80 in tempo for five consecutive seasons) but SDSU is elite at forcing long offensive sets that end in tough shots.
Last season, SDSU allowed the fewest shots at the rim of any team (22.8%), while forcing the 12th-longest average offensive possessions (19.6 seconds).
Meanwhile, ASU should get shredded on defense. The Sun Devils are undersized at almost every position and their perimeter defense has been pathetic so far this season. ASU is 266th in 3-point defense (36.8%) and ranks in the 11th-percentile in spot-up shooting defense (1.1 PPP).
SDSU took over 40% of its shots from beyond the arc last season, making them at a 36.8% clip. Look for the Aztecs to fire away confidently and have success doing so.
All signs point to a double-digit loss for Hurley and Co., which is why I’m willing to play this number up to -9.5.