College Basketball Odds & Picks: Our Staff’s 5 Best Bets for Tuesday, Including Temple vs. Vanderbilt
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Even on a light Monday evening, the college hoops landscape brought some drama as 0-7 Texas Southern cruised past No. 20 Florida on the road.
What fireworks will Tuesday’s slate bring? That’s to be determined, however, for all the bettors out there, plenty of value is being offered.
Our staff dove into four games and offered up five best bets as part of tonight’s window of action.
Tuesday’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.|
Michigan vs. Nebraska
By D.J. James
The Michigan Wolverines and Nebraska Cornhuskers come to a head in their first matchup of the season.
Michigan has yet to live up to its preseason hype, while Nebraska was going to have another rebuilding season.
The Wolverines will possibly be without Moussa Diabate due to illness, and Trey McGowens is out for the Cornhuskers. This takes two dynamic scorers off of the floor.
In addition, Michigan has the 12th-best defensive efficiency in the country, according to KenPom. Eli Brooks and Hunter Dickinson lead the charge in that regard. This provides the Wolverines backup in both the frontcourt and backcourt, when Nebraska’s stars — Alonzo Verge Jr. and Bryce McGowens — slash to the hoop. Michigan will not turn over Nebraska all too often, but it will make stops.
Nebraska also slows the ball down on defense, averaging 18.2 seconds per possession. Seeing how the Wolverines play among the slowest tempos in college basketball (267th), this looks to be a nightmare for over backers.
Finally, Nebraska struggles immensely from behind the arc. It’s only hitting 27.1% of its 3-pointers, and Michigan excels at stopping the 3, holding opponents to 27.2% from downtown.
The Wolverines also have their own issues hitting outside shots, so the likelihood of last-second 3-pointers falling for either team is low.
Take the under in this game.
Pick: Under 140.5 (Play to 138.5)
Michigan vs. Nebraska
Michigan looks to continue to find offensive success after cracking the code to the vaunted San Diego State defense in its last game out — a unit that ranks ninth in the nation in AdjD, per KenPom.
Hunter Dickinson has slowly improved on his numbers from last year, while guard Eli Brooks looks to play more of a key role in spacing out the floor for Dickinson to do work on the block.
If star freshman Caleb Houstan can start to round into form and prove he is another go-to option, then this offense will start to look like the 2020 Wolverines all over again.
The free-throw numbers have dramatically dropped early on, a statistic they will look to improve upon. This has been a major thorn to their lack of scoring, as the free-throw percentage is 13% lower than last year. Dickinson is down 10% just himself.
Nebraska comes into its Big Ten home opener in the midst of a two-game losing streak. Both losses were the result of shooting ice cold from the field in games it was more than capable of winning.
The Cornhuskers rely on the guard duo of freshman Bryce McGowens, who is averaging 17.3 points and 6.9 rebounds per game, and Alonzo Verge Jr., who is averaging 15 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.6 assists per game.
Other than that tandem, Nebraska has yet to show anyone else stepping up as another scorer. With limited offense, the lack of shooting hurts more than ever. This is a team that’s averaging 27.1% from deep. This team relies on steals and constantly upping the tempo.
With limited offensive threats and the ability to slow the game to its style of play, Michigan can focus on taking out McGowens and Verge and dare the rest to shoot.
By negating the Cornhuskers’ offense, I expect Michigan to roll as it starts to get into a groove.
Pick: Michigan -7 (Play to -8)
Texas Tech vs. Tennessee
Texas Tech started the season undefeated, winning its first six games — an impressive feat. But those six victories all came against competition that ranked outside the top 240 in the nation on a neutral or homecourt.
You learn a lot about a team when it gets tested on the road, and Texas Tech’s performance in Providence spoke volumes. Texas Tech jumped out to a 25-13 lead in the first 10 minutes before losing all continuity within its offense. The Red Raiders committed 18 turnovers and 29 fouls, sending the Friars to the free-throw line 38 times.
Now, they duel a top-10 program in Tennessee, which owns the third defensive efficiency rating in the country, according to KenPom.
Texas Tech crumbled when Providence’s (mediocre) defense pressured it, and it hasn’t seen anything close to the likes of Tennessee to this point. The Volunteers average 10.3 steals per game and rank 26th nationally in turnover rate.
Much of Texas Tech’s stats are being boosted by such a soft out of conference schedule to date, but they will come back to reality now that the competition is beginning to stiffen.
The Red Raiders should be in store for a long night at MSG.
Pick: Tennessee -3.5 (Play to -4.5)
Temple vs. Vanderbilt
This Vandy team won’t inspire much confidence once SEC play rolls around, yet it should cover against a wounded set of Temple Owls.
Most notably, Aaron McKie’s leading scorer, Khalif Battle, has been sidelined for the season with an injury. Battle was averaging over 20 points per game and taking 29% of Temple’s shots when he was on the floor. He was the focal point of the Owl offense and leaves them in a bind looking for answers.
The Owls survived Battle’s absence against Penn, winning and covering thanks to a 27-point outing from Damian Dunn.
Vanderbilt is better suited to keep Dunn in check. For starters, Penn was facing a team without its top option and no tape on how McKie would handle life without Battle. With some time to prepare and the Penn game in the books, Jerry Stackhouse should have a better sense of how to defend this Temple lineup.
Fun fact: the two head coaches in this game, Stackhouse and McKie, were on opposite sides of a trade between the Sixers and Pistons in December 1997.
The Commodores should be able to ride Scotty Pippen Jr. and home-court advantage to a win and cover on Tuesday night.
Pick: Vanderbilt -8 (Play to -8.5)
Loyola Marymount vs. Tulsa
By Mike Randle
I expect a strong effort from Tulsa at home coming off two straight road losses. The Golden Hurricane lost two close road games at Oral Roberts and at Boise State but also had a strong neutral-court win over Rhode Island.
They bring an aggressive style of defense that traps in the halfcourt and forces turnovers. Tulsa has produced a top-20 turnover rate in Division I. That is bad news for a Loyola Marymount team that has struggled with offensive turnovers all season.
The Lions produced 15 turnovers in a loss at Grand Canyon and a close home win over Prairie View A&M. They cannot win if that happens again at Tulsa. I don’t trust the Lions to win this game, which always leads me to lay the points.
Loyola Marymount’s defensive metrics are concerning, particularly allowing 37.5% from 3, 308th in the country. It’s also a below-average rebounding team, which is a critical weapon in attacking Tulsa’s zone defense.
This line moved to Tulsa -3.5 and is now climbing. I am not comfortable going past the 3.5, but I will lay the small number with a Golden Hurricane team that is always tough at home in a perfect bounce-back spot.