College Basketball Odds & Picks: 5 Ways To Bet Friday’s Games, Including Colorado State vs. Nevada
John McCreary/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: David Roddy.
- A weekend full of college basketball betting is officially upon us.
- Our staff broke down five games on Friday, including Miami vs. Boston College, Jacksonville State vs. Belmont and Colorado State vs. Nevada.
- Check out each individual pick complete with a full betting breakdown below.
The end of the week is finally here, which means it’s time to watch college basketball uninterrupted for the next 48-plus hours.
While conference tournaments are going on, we also have meaningful regular-season action for the conferences that haven’t yet started their postseason.
Check out each of the five picks below, and feel free to navigate to any game by using the table below.
College Basketball Odds & Picks
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Note: All photos below are via Getty Images.
Miami vs. Boston College
By Mike Randle
Boston College has lost its best player in Wynston Tabbs (13.3 PPG, 39.7% 3P), who is transferring to East Carolina for next season. It lost starting guard Rich Kelly (11.1 PPG, 37.2% 3P), who recently entered the transfer portal. Lastly, head coach Jim Christian was fired, resulting in the appointment of interim coach, Scott Spinelli.
The Eagles now travel to Miami and face a Hurricanes team they inexplicably beat, 84-62, at home on Jan. 12. Since that game, they have won just once, a rivalry win over Notre Dame. I see Miami holding an advantage in every aspect in this matchup, with a line that is only 3.5 points.
This is senior night for a Hurricanes team that has continued to battle despite playing almost the entire season without start point guard Chris Lykes. They still have sophomore Isaiah Wong (17.4 PPG, 5.2 RPG), and seniors Kam McGusty (11.6 PPG, 3.6 RPG) and Elijah Olaniyi (11.4 PPG, 4.9 RPG), who will certainly be motivated after a disappointing season.
In their first meeting, Kelly scored 27 points on 7-of-12 shooting from 3-point range, and Boston College shot 51% (18-of-35) from deep as a team. The Eagles will be hard-pressed to find that outlier level of production.
This is a battle of two metrically-challenged ACC teams. I’m backing the team with the better talent, better coach, and less drama with the Hurricanes at home. I would bet this line up to Miami -4.5.
Kent State vs. Buffalo
Buffalo has been scoring points in droves this month. In addition to its scoring spree, the Bulls have spent the better part of the season in the top 10 nationally in tempo, and the Golden Flashes, while not as inclined to play an up-and-down game for 40 minutes, still crack the top 100 in tempo.
Strap in for some wide-open basketball in the Queen City.
Both teams have enjoyed relative COVID-19 peace, with just two cancellations between them in the past five weeks.
Buffalo has used this scheduling consistency to its advantage, winning four in a row straight up by an average score of 89-72. Kent State has won 5-of-6 SU but has done it with defense. Aside from its low-scoring win over BGSU, each victory has come against the absolute dregs of the MAC.
So, I believe Kent’s defense, which ranks 152nd nationally, is in for a rude awakening, particularly from long range, where it allows opponents to connect on 34.8% of their attempts (239th).
Buffalo will be motivated to avoid a potential semifinals matchup with Toledo, the only team in the MAC that easily dispatched the Bulls this season (80-70).
So if it comes down to giving up early or fouling down the stretch on their home floor, I see UB holding out hope until the final seconds. That always has the potential to aid an over.
Cal Poly vs. UC Santa Barbara
Say hello to Cal Poly, one of the worst offenses in the entire country.
It ranks 350th in offensive efficiency, per KenPom and is dead last in the Big West in pretty much every offensive statistic. It’s averaging only 0.87 points per possession in conference play, shooting under 30% from 3-point range and under 42% from inside the arc.
The Mustangs are 3-17 on the season, and in all of their 17 losses, they have failed to break the 70-point mark. In fact, at one point in the season they were held under the 60-point mark for seven straight games.
To make matters worse they’ll be going up against the best team in the conference in UC Santa Barbara, which at one point won 17 straight games in Big West play. The Gauchos have played solid defense all season long, allowing only 0.96 points per possession, so I have a hard time seeing how Cal Poly comes even close to scoring 60 points.
UC Santa Barbara’s offense has been humming all season long and is the main reason it’s 17-4. The Gauchos average 1.08 point per possession and have been dominating opponents down low, shooting over 52% from 2-point range and 64% on shot attempts at the rim, per Hoop-Math.
However, going inside is not the way to beat Cal Poly’s defense. Despite being one of the worst offenses in the country, the Mustangs have played surprisingly good defense, especially inside, allowing only 46.9% from 2-point range. So, UC Santa Barbara won’t be able to score at will inside.
Cal Poly plays a below average tempo, while UC Santa Barbara plays one of the slowest in the country, ranking 315th in adjusted tempo, per KenPom. So, take one of the worst offenses in college basketball combined with one of slowest tempos, and you have a perfect recipe for an under.
I only have 125.27 points projected for this game, so I think there’s some value on under 130 points and would play it down to 129 points.
Jacksonville State vs. Belmont
Top-seeded Belmont does have the advantage of an extra day of rest and prep, but I do like the Gamecocks catching anything north of 7.
Belmont swept the season series by margins of seven and four in two totally different games. The first was a shootout in the 90s, and the second was a grinder that Belmont came back to win in despite a horrid shooting day from 3.
After starting 18-0 in conference play, Belmont actually dropped its final two games of the regular season. Why? Well, the Bruins’ best player, Nick Muszynski, whom everything runs through in the post, missed both with an injury.
He did suit up in its victory over SIUE in the first round but only played 18 minutes. He did look fine in those limited minutes from what I saw, but I have to build in at least a tiny discount for that injury concern.
Even if he is healthy, JSU actually has the bodies inside in Brandon Huffman and company to at least battle “Moose.” I also like the athleticism advantage it’ll have on the perimeter with a group of upperclassmen in Darian Adams (who really found his game late last night), Kayne Henry, Demaree King and Jalen Finch.
I expect head coach Ray Harper to grind this game to a screeching halt as he did in the second meeting and let his guards work late in the shot clock against a Belmont team that wants to play fast. Jax State can also do work on the offensive glass to help prevent run-outs for Belmont’s elite transition game.
This is an extremely underrated Jax State team with one of the most underrated coaches in the country in Harper. I think the Gamecocks can hang around and will have a great shot at the outright win if Muszynski isn’t 100%.
If he is, the Belmont offense is a machine and we will have to hope our guards show up, but I at least expect Jax State to shorten this game, which will help.
Colorado State vs. Nevada
It’s been quite the season for Niko Medved’s Colorado State Rams, who set a school record for conference wins after going 14-3 in Mountain West play.
The Rams are on a five-game win streak against some of the bottom feeders in the conference but won by an average margin of 15.6 points. Colorado State is sitting on the right side of the bubble, as BracketMatrix has it in the tournament in 88.7% of the simulations. But a loss to Nevada would be a crushing blow to its tournament hopes, so it should consider this a must-win game.
The Rams hit 58.3% of their field goal attempts, good for first in the conference. They shoot the second-highest percentage from the 3-point line and can lock opponents down from outside.
Colorado State almost saw the program’s first triple-double Wednesday night when David Roddy put up 12 points, 14 rebounds and nine assists. He’s the offensive leader for the deep Rams team that has four players who average double-digit points.
The Wolf Pack have clinched the 5-seed in the Mountain West Tournament and don’t have much to get inspired about in this game.
Nevada sits at 14-9 on the year and comes into this game having lost two in a row to Utah State. It plays an aggressive style of basketball that involves more trips to the free-throw line than any other Mountain West team. That should play into the hands of the Rams, who embrace that playing style.
This is the first meeting between these two teams, and it comes at a time when they’re trending in opposite directions. Colorado State seems to be firing on all cylinders heading into the Mountain West Tournament and should be dancing as long as they don’t slip up against the Pack.