Friday College Basketball Betting Odds & Picks: Our 3 Best Bets for Regular-Season Games
Mitchell Layton/Getty Images. Pictured: Grant Golden.
- The weekend is here, which means it's time to bet some college basketball.
- Two of our writers are aligned on St. Bonaventure vs. Richmond, while one other sees betting value on Ohio vs. Northern Illinois.
- Check out all three of our best bets for Friday's regular-season college basketball games below.
The weekend is finally here. And what better way to celebrate than rattling off some college basketball bets?
While conference tournaments are starting to settle in at a consistent pace, there are still plenty of quality regular-season games. Our staff found two of them to bet for Friday, and two of our writers are aligned on St. Bonaventure vs. Richmond.
Check out our A-10 and MAC bets for Friday’s college hoops slate, and be sure to check back tomorrow for a full set of Saturday bets.
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.|
Richmond vs. St. Bonaventure
No team is more reliant on its starting lineup than St. Bonaventure. The Bonnies rank dead last in the nation in bench minutes, so any time an injury occurs, it proves to be even more costly.
Starting center Osun Osunniyi is dealing with an ankle injury he sustained against St. Joseph’s on Saturday. He appeared to be in significant pain, and even if he gives it a go in this matchup, it’s unlikely he will be 100%.
The Bonnies’ seven-game win streak was snapped by VCU in their first game this season without their big man.
Osunniyi averages 11 points and eight rebounds per game. But his loss was felt more on the defensive end of the floor as he’s the reigning Atlantic 10 Defensive Player of the Year. VCU shot 64% on its 2-point attempts in that matchup with St. Bonaventure missing its only true rim protector.
Now, the Bonnies welcome in a Richmond squad that has had an up-and-down season. The defense has proven to be exploitable, but offensively, the group is strong. The Spiders rank top-10 in turnover percentage and convert on 53% of their 2-point shot attempts.
Richmond will be able to expose the Bonnies’ lack of interior presence, especially if Osunniyi is out.
This game is closer to a pick’em, according to ShotQuality, and I’m going to continue to fade the Bonnies until Osunniyi is back at full strength.
Pick: Richmond +4 (Play to +2)
Richmond vs. St. Bonaventure
By D.J. James
Both St. Bonaventure and Richmond are on the outside looking in for the NCAA Tournament coming into Friday’s matchup. These two teams are virtually neck-and-neck.
Neither can guard the 3-pointer. The Bonnies allow opponents to shoot 34.5%, while the Spiders allow 35.2% of 3s to fall for the opposition.
The difference between the two is shot selection. Per ShotQuality, Richmond ranks 73rd in spacing and 59th in shot selection. In these very same categories, St. Bonaventure ranks 114th and 260th, respectively.
This is quite the wide discrepancy, and much of it has to do with Richmond’s slightly better 2-point offense. Richmond averages 52.8% on shots inside the arc, while St. Bonaventure comes in at 50.9%. However, this is not the only difference.
Richmond loves to launch 3s. Of the Spiders’ total points, 34.9% have come from deep this season versus only 25% for the Bonnies. Given how both struggle to guard deep shots, this will leave plenty of open deep shots for Richmond.
In addition, Richmond has a slight advantage from outside, shooting 34% compared to 32.1% for the Bonnies.
Lastly, Osun Osunniyi is questionable for St. Bonaventure. He’s its main source of defense down low. If he’s out or even somewhat hobbled, Grant Golden will have a big day for the Spiders. Much of the Bonnies’ interior defense is from Osunniyi, and he is also a strong offensive option when needed.
Pick: Richmond +4 (Play to +2.5 if Osunniyi Plays | +1.5 if Osunniyi is Out)
Ohio vs. Northern Illinois
Ohio is now out of the picture for winning the MAC regular-season title, but this game means a lot for it in terms of seeding.
The Bobcats are a half-game up on Buffalo and a game up on Akron. If they drop out of the No. 3 seed, they’ll have to play Buffalo or Akron, but if they hold onto that 3-seed, they’ll most likely face Miami (Ohio) — a much better matchup for them.
Only eight teams make the MAC Tournament, so this game means absolutely nothing the Northern Illinois.
When these two met earlier in the season, Ohio won at home, 74-62. But that final score is a little misleading in terms of how the game actually went. Ohio led, 70-42, with seven minutes left to go, and Northern Illinois finished the game on a 20-4 run to actually cover the 18.5-point spread.
The Northern Illinois offense is so unbelievably bad. It’s 350th in shot selection, 330th in open 3-point rate and 305th in PPP on shot attempts at the rim and behind the arc, which are the two most valuable shots in half-court offense, per ShotQuality.
Ohio’s offense is incredibly efficient in the half-court, ranking 59th in PPP, while Northern Illinois is 10th in PPP allowed in the half-court on defense.
Plus, Ohio is top-two in the conference in turnover percentage on both offense and defense, while Northern Illinois is ninth in the MAC in turnover percentage on offense, per KenPom.
This game matters to Ohio, so I like the Bobcats at -10.5 in DeKalb on tonight.
Pick: Ohio -10.5 (Play to -11)
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