College Basketball Odds & Picks: Best Bets for Sunday, Including Penn State vs. Maryland & Oregon State vs. Oregon (March 7)
Soobum Im/Getty Images. Pictured: Ethan Thompson (left) and Gianni Hunt (right).
- It's the last day of the regular season, so naturally, we have picks.
- Our staff broke down three games on tonight's slate, including Penn State vs. Maryland and Oregon State vs. Oregon.
- Check out each pick with a breakdown below.
The last day of the regular season is here. Time to make the most of it.
Our staff broke down five games before they head into the postseason on a high note, ranging from two power conferences that will start their tournaments soon to games from the Summit League and Sun Belt Conference Tournaments.
Check out each pick. and feel free to use the table below to navigate to any specific game.
College Basketball Odds & Picks
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Note: All photos below are via Getty Images.
Oral Roberts vs. North Dakota
This Summit League Tournament game will feature a ton of offense, primarily from the Oral Roberts side.
The Golden Eagles average 82 points a game thanks to their offensive style that relies heavily on shooting from 3-point territory. That spells doom for a North Dakota team that is 339th in the country in 3-point defense. Head coach Paul Mills runs an offense that relies on 3-pointers to account for 42% of Oral Roberts points, the eighth-highest point distribution from deep in all of Division I basketball.
There are ways to beat Oral Roberts, as the Golden Eagles are the worst defense rebounding team in the Summit. North Dakota cannot expose that aspect, ranking eighth in offensive rebounding, relying on junior Filip Rebraca for the majority of the workload inside the paint.
The Fighting Hawks second-best big man Gertautas Urbonavicius has not played in four consecutive games. Expect Oral Roberts to pelt the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls with plenty of 3-pointers on its way to the Summit Semifinals.
Pick: Oral Roberts -7
Penn State vs. Maryland
Penn State is way better than it’s shown this season.
The Nittany Lions have somewhat struggled offensively in the Big Ten, averaging 1.02 points per possession, but they still rank in the top 35 in terms of offensive efficiency, per KenPom.
Penn State flat-out lives and dies by the 3-point shot. It shoots 3s on almost 42% of its field goal attempts but only hits 34.1% of them. However, that is much better than its performance from inside the arc, where it’s shooting only 45.9%.
One thing the Nittany Lions do well is crash the offensive glass. They have the highest offensive rebounding rate in the Big Ten and grabbed 13 offensive boards in their 55-50 win over Maryland in Happy Valley back in early February. So, I expect Penn State to have plenty of second-chance opportunities on offense.
Maryland’s offense has been really below average during Big Ten play, averaging an anemic 0.99 points per possession.
It’s been really average shooting the ball all season long, but where it really struggles is crashing the offensive glass. The Terrapins have the worst offensive rebound rate in the Big Ten and grabbed only five offensive rebounds in their first meeting with Penn State.
I only have Maryland projected as a -3.87 point favorite, so I think there’s some value on the Nittany Lions at +6.5 and would play them down to +5.5.
Pick: Penn State +6.5
Oregon State vs. Oregon
By Mike Randle
I have loved Oregon all season, and it enters this game with a chance to win the outright Pac-12 regular-season title.
If the Ducks lose, USC would win the Pac-12 title and the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament. Everything is in Oregon’s favor, but I am backing Oregon State at home as a six-point underdog.
Playing in Corvallis is a difficult task, and covering when the Beavers are a home underdog is even tougher. Under head coach Wayne Tinkle, Oregon State is covering at a 55.7% rate as a home dog.
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This season, the Beavers are 11-4 ATS at home including covering four of their past five home games. Overall, Oregon State has covered their last seven consecutive games.
The Beavers won their earlier meeting at Oregon, 75-64, although the Ducks were without Chris Duarte, LJ Figueroa, and Will Richardson. However, the Beavers were also not playing as well as they are now.
The biggest statistical advantage lies at the 3-point line. Oregon shoots 37.9% from 3 in conference and generates the second-most points from deep in the Pac-12.
However, the Beavers rank first in the Pac-12 in limiting opponents from beyond the arc, only allowing 30.1%. In their first meeting, the Ducks only shot 27.6% (8-of-29) from 3, a low number even without Duarte (43.4%) and Figueroa (38%).
Oregon State is also one of the best free-throw shooting teams in the nation, averaging 76.4% from the charity strips (32nd-best).
This has always been a very close intrastate battle, with Oregon State actually winning four of the past five meetings. The Beavers have also won the four of the last five games in Corvallis. I firmly expect Duarte to lead the Ducks to a victory and the 2021 Pac-12 title, but the line is too high.
I would wait on this line as it has already climbed from 5.5 to 6 points and could get closer to 7. But regardless, I’ll take the Beavers as the home dog for a chance to play spoiler in a huge rivalry game.
Pick: Oregon State +6
Sun Belt Tournament: Appalachian State vs. Coastal Carolina
By Ky McKeon
Conference tournaments can be like reset buttons for teams and players alike. In Justin Forrest’s case, the Sun Belt postseason soiree has re-awoken his inner scorer.
Forrest is App State’s senior leader, a preseason Sun Belt Player of the Year candidate, and the school’s 4th all-time leading scorer (and climbing). But Forrest struggled for much of the 2020-21 season, averaging just 13.0 PPG in conference play while his Mountaineers sputtered to a 7-8 Sun Belt finish. Now, Forrest has hit the reset button on his season.
In App State’s two conference tournament contests thus far, Forrest is averaging 26.0 PPG and shooting a sizzling 9/17 from outside the arc. Tourney settings are where leaders — especially guard leaders — shine, and Forrest has done just that by putting his team on his back and willing App State to the semi-finals.
It might be enough to just rely on Forrest, but App State likely needs to check a few more boxes to stay within five points of the Chanticleers tonight. For starters, the Mountaineers need to box-out and compete on the glass. Coastal is the best offensive rebounding team in the league, and App State is just so-so on the boards. Thankfully forward James Lewis returned for the tournament after missing two games due to injury; he adds a little more muscle inside, and 6’9” sophomore RJ Duhart was solid in a non-typical 32-minute stretch against Texas State.
App State will also need to control the pace. Coastal wants to run, run, run — the Chants rank 32nd in the country in percentage of initial field goal attempts in transition, and that ranking skyrockets to 5th when isolating situations following a defensive rebound. The Mountaineers have been great at controlling tempo all season; they rank 315th in the country in pace and the vast majority of their games settle in the mid-60s possession-wise.
Finally, App State simply needs to hit shots. The Mountaineers are an extremely well-coached team and they get good shots, ranking 83rd in FGA% near the rim and 50th in FGA% from behind the arc (takeaway: they don’t shoot a lot of inefficient mid-range jumpers).
Coastal has been the benefactor of insane shooting luck in league play — the Chants rank second-to-last in 3PA rate allowed, yet lead the league in 3P% defense allowing opponents to shoot just 30.5% from deep. This stat is heavily skewed by playing poor shooting teams like Troy, Georgia Southern, and Georgia State a whopping 11 times.
App State is shooting over 40% from 3 in the Sun Belt tourney — that remarkable shooting defense will be put to the test.
Pick: Appalachian State +4.5
Summit League Tournament: UM Kansas City vs. North Dakota State
By Jim Root
I thoroughly enjoy watching games at the Sanford Pentagon (that parquet floor is beautiful), but for around two and a half hours tomorrow, that gym will become a torture chamber.
Kansas City and North Dakota State will almost certainly play a brawl of a game (hence the total of 119 points), and both teams are tremendously well-coached. The idea of either team blowing out the other feels like an impossible task, so taking the points with the underdog is the logical approach.
The two previous meetings between these two teams offer plenty of encouraging signs for the Kangaroos. Granted, they were in KC, but the ‘Roos lost the first game by four and won the second leg, doing so despite an extremely short-handed roster.
Star guard and Summit Defensive Player of the Year Brandon McKissic, Honorable Mention forward Josiah Allick, and potent scorer Marvin Nesbitt missed both meetings; all three should be healthy for the postseason.
Allick’s return is crucial, as he gives Coach Billy Donlon a solid matchup for NDSU’s skilled 6-10 center Rocky Kreuser. The ‘Roos’ frontcourt is tiny beyond Allick, and he also gives them a chance at easier buckets inside.
Kansas City has the best defense in the Summit, and NDSU is more than happy to play in the half court with the ‘Roos. That makes +6 (down to +5) an appealing wager.
Pick: UM Kansas City +6