College Basketball Betting Picks & Updated: Our Staff’s Favorite Thursday Bets for NC State vs. St. Louis, Wyoming vs. Omaha

College Basketball Betting Picks & Updated: Our Staff’s Favorite Thursday Bets for NC State vs. St. Louis, Wyoming vs. Omaha article feature image
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Soobum Im/Getty Images. Pictured: Marcus Williams

  • The college basketball schedule is beginning to heat up as teams near the end of the non-conference slate.
  • Our college hoops staff broke down three non-conference matchups on Thursday and shared a betting pick for each.
  • Below, find each of our staffer's three favorite picks for Thursday, December 17.

It’s Thursday. The weekend is inching closer. There’s NFL football on tonight. There’s college basketball on tonight. It’s a day to rejoice for a number of reasons.

In that spirit, our college hoops staff shared a betting pick for three of their favorite games on Thursday’s slate, including Saint Joseph’s vs. Drexel, NC State vs. Saint Louis, and Wyoming vs. Omaha.

Check out each pick with complete analysis below. And most importantly, enjoy the night — because it’s going to be a good one.



How to Bet Thursday’s College Basketball Slate

Here’s a rundown of our favorite betting spots on Thursday’s slate of games:

Tip Time
Matchup
6 p.m. ET
Saint Joseph’s vs. Drexel 
8 p.m. ET
NC State vs. Saint Louis
9 p.m. ET
Wyoming vs. Omaha

All listed odds have been updated as of Thursday morning and via DraftKings. Specific bet recommendations at the end of each matchup breakdown 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.


CLICK THE DROPDOWN ARROW TO EASILY NAVIGATE TO ANY GAME
Tip Time
Matchup
6 p.m. ET
Saint Joseph’s vs. Drexel 
8 p.m. ET
NC State vs. Saint Louis
9 p.m. ET
Wyoming vs. Omaha

Saint Joseph’s Moneyline (+120) vs. Drexel

by Mike Calabrese


Saint Joseph’s Odds +2.5 [BET NOW]
Drexel Odds -2.5 [BET NOW]
Moneyline +120 / -143 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 146.5 [BET NOW]
Time 6 p.m. ET
TV NBC Sports Philadelphia
(Photo Credit: Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images).

The Hawks will make the 15 minutes drive to the Daskalakis Athletic Center on Thursday for an intracity matchup with the Drexel Dragons. 

St. Joseph’s is coming off of a horrid 6-26 campaign, while Drexel is in pursuit of its first winning season since 2014. The Dragons are off to a promising 3-2 start, while the Hawks put up valiant efforts against Auburn and Kansas.

This is my favorite time of year to pick moneyline winners because non-conference disparities can mask a program’s true quality in the early going. 

Drexel has collected a pair of wins against Quinnipiac, a Bobcat program that checks in at 272nd in the KenPom rankings. Its other win came against one of the worst 3-point shooting teams in the country in Coppin State (332nd in KenPom). Needless to say, these victories don’t really move the needle for me. 

St. Joseph’s, meanwhile, has demonstrated the ability to fill it up against high-major competition.

Taylor Funk pumped in 28 points against Auburn, helping the Hawks take the SEC power to OT. St. Joe’s even held a second-half lead against Kansas before Ryan Daly’s foul trouble derailed its upset hopes.

The point being, I’m much more comfortable backing a Hawks team that’s proven capable of hanging with nationally-ranked opponents than a Drexel team coming off of a 10 home loss to La Salle (176th in KenPom).  

In addition to the moneyline play, I’m also advocating for a SJU double-result. If you play St. Joe’s to lead at halftime and win the game, you get a nice boost into the +215 range. The Hawks scored 36 points in the first 20 minutes against both Auburn and KU, and I think they’re capable of dropping 40+ against a Drexel defense that hasn’t come up against an offense with a pulse yet in 2020.


Bet the Saint Joseph’s moneyline now at FanDuel and get a $1,000 risk-free bet.

CLICK THE DROPDOWN ARROW TO EASILY NAVIGATE TO ANY GAME
Tip Time
Matchup
6 p.m. ET
Saint Joseph’s vs. Drexel 
8 p.m. ET
NC State vs. Saint Louis
9 p.m. ET
Wyoming vs. Omaha

NC State +4.5 (-105) vs. Saint Louis

by BJ Cunningham


NC State Odds +4 [BET NOW]
Saint Louis Odds -4 [BET NOW]
Moneyline +155 / -190 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 143 [BET NOW]
Time 8 p.m. ET
TV FOX Sports Midwest
(Photo Credit: Jaylynn Nash/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images).

The Wolfpack will make the trip to Saint Louis to try and get a resume-building win on Thursday night. 

NC State had to say goodbye to its best player from last season in Markell Johnson, but it has a ton of talent coming back. Three other starters return to the lineup, and the WolfPack added a top-70 recruit in Cam Hayes, who should run the point.

When Kevin Keatts arrived at NC State, he brought with him an “in-your-face” pressure defense that led him to so much success at UNC Wilmington. So far in his second year, it’s doing wonders, as the WolfPack rank 45th in defensive efficiency and are turning opponents over at a ridiculous rate through their first two games (32.8%). 

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The key for NC State this year, though, will be on the offensive end of the floor. It ranked inside the top 120 in effective field goal percentage and 2-point field goal percentage. With a lot of production returning on the offensive end of the floor, NC State should be an above-average offense in the ACC. 

The Billikens are the exact opposite of LSU, as Travis Ford’s group is one of the best defensive teams in the country. They return all of their main contributors, including leading scorers Jordan Goodwin, Javonte Perkins and Hasahn French.

The Billikens’ defense projects to be one of the best in the country. KenPom has the Billikens projected as the 35th-best defense in terms of efficiency. The offense has been humming through the first five games, but St. Louis hasn’t played a team even close to NC State’s level, so I think Thursday may be a wake-up call for the Billikens. 

I have the Billikens projected as only -1.89 favorites, so I think there’s some value on NC State at +4.5. 


Bet NC State to cover +4.5 now at PointsBet and get $250 FREE.

CLICK THE DROPDOWN ARROW TO EASILY NAVIGATE TO ANY GAME
Tip Time
Matchup
6 p.m. ET
Saint Joseph’s vs. Drexel 
8 p.m. ET
NC State vs. Saint Louis
9 p.m. ET
Wyoming vs. Omaha

Wyoming (-10.5) vs. Omaha

by Mike Randle


Wyoming Odds -10.5 [BET NOW]
Omaha Odds +10.5 [BET NOW]
Moneyline -670 / +460 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 146.5 [BET NOW]
Time 9 p.m. ET
TV Mountain West Network
(Photo Credit: Soobum Im/Getty Images. Pictured: Marcus Williams #1.)

Wyoming has taken a solid step forward this year on offense, led by the explosive guard trio of freshman Marcus Williams (18.3 ppg), sophomore Kenny Foster (15.8 ppg), and junior Hunter Maldonado (15.5 ppg). 

Williams has been one of the most unheralded freshmen in the nation, contributing 3.5 rebounds, 5.8 assists, and 1.8 steals per game. He scored 30 points in an 83-61 win over Denver, shooting 3-of-7 from beyond the arc. 

Foster was already named Mountain West Player of the Week after averaging 20 ppg and shooting a blistering 75% from 3-point range in wins over Incarnate Word and at Oregon State. 

The Cowboys protect the basketball, ranking in offensive turnover percentage, per KenPom. They balance that with a 57% effective field goal percentage (ranked 26th), 38.8% 3-point mark (48th), and a 56.2% 2-point percentage (48th). Their offense is operating at a superior early-season level. 

The Cowboys face an Omaha team that is on the second day of a back-to-back schedule after getting crushed at Colorado by 32 points. They are playing their sixth consecutive road game, and have lost five of their last six contests overall. 

The Mavericks have allowed opponents to shoot 40.7% from deep, a bad sign against Wyoming. They also rank 281st in the country with 16.7 offensive turnovers per game. Throw in their putrid 26.9% mark from 3-point land and 41.2% from inside the arc, and this translates to a comfortable Wyoming home win. 

I’m taking the Cowboys -10.5 to cover against Omaha with a line that opened at -9 and has continued to rise. I would take it up to Wyoming -11.5.


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