College Basketball Odds & Picks: Calabrese’s 2 Best Bets for Monday, Feb. 14

College Basketball Odds & Picks: Calabrese’s 2 Best Bets for Monday, Feb. 14 article feature image

Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images. Pictured: Luka Brajkovic (Davidson)

Each week, to coincide with the release of the Monday edition of the Big Bets On Campus college basketball podcast, I’ll be sharing my top two plays.

And in honor of Valentine’s Day, the two plays I’m most smitten with on this day of love come from the A-10 and SWAC.

SWACtion is slowly sweeping the nation, one Facebook Live watch party at a time.

Duquesne vs. Davidson

Monday, Feb. 14
7 p.m. ET

Last year, Duquesne was a tough out in the A-10. Marcus Weathers and Michael Hughes were great on the glass, and as a team, the Dukes held opponents to just 67 points per game, while ranking 63rd in effective field goal percentage defense.

This year, mainly due to severe roster turnover, the Dukes have fallen apart. They’re now allowing 71.5 points per game, but have fallen all the way to 285th in eFG% defense.

Losers of nine straight, there’s not much to say about this program right now, other than the fact that the Dukes are in free fall. They've lost eight straight by eight points or more, and during this nine-game skid, they’ve failed to hit 58 points on six occasions.

Davidson, meanwhile, has been in a shooting slump of its own. The Wildcats spent most of the season in the top five in both 3-point percentage and shooting efficiency before this recent cold spell.

They’ve hit 36% or better from 3 just once in the past month, and they shot their way out of the game on Saturday against Rhode Island (7-for-28).

Hyunjung Lee, one of the nation’s best mid-major players, has been off for weeks. He was 0-for-5 from long range against URI, and was saddled with foul trouble to boot.

What this game against Duquesne represents for Davidson is a chance to reboot its offense.

Duquesne is easily one of the worst 3-point defenses in all of college basketball (3PT 39%. 352nd), allowing open looks all game long.

The Dukes also allow teams to share the ball without much pressure being applied. This is why they allow more assists per game than any team in the A-10.

The only benefit to their matador defense is they rarely put teams on the line. This potentially hurts squads that rely upon free throws to score, but Davidson isn’t in that category.

I’ve been waiting for Davidson to have a true “neck crack” game, and returning home to face a lifeless team like Duquesne following a loss is the perfect spot to grab the Wildcats.

Pick: Davidson -13 (Play to -15.5)

Florida A&M vs. Alcorn State

Monday, Feb. 14
7:30 p.m. ET

Alcorn State has repeatedly been favored in SWAC play, and the Braves continue to drop games at the betting window.

Alcorn has now lost six straight games as a conference favorite, and doesn't have the kind of offense synonymous with runaway victories.

Here are just a few key metrics where the Braves check in at 295th or worse nationally:

  • Points Per Game (64.9, 295th)
  • Assists Per Game (9.7, 347th)
  • Effective FG% (45.7%, 328th)
  • Two Point % (44.7%, 332nd)
  • Turnovers/Game (14.3, 297th)

They’re not a team that can put runs together, they never make 3s in bunches and they’re sloppy with the basketball.

They also have feasted on bad teams as of late, with three of their last four wins coming at the hands of SWAC opponents with losing records. This includes single-digit wins over the 353rd (Ark-PB) and 356th (MVSU) ranked teams, according to KenPom.

Florida A&M slithers into town on an 8-2 SU run, and has the likely conference player of the year in MJ Randolph. The senior wing is averaging 19.2/6.4/3.6.

He carried the Rattlers in the previous meeting against Alcorn State, dropping 21 points, five assists and five rebounds. He also iced the game late with a pair of critical free throws in the closing seconds.

This team is sitting at first in the SWAC East because of Randolph, and it absolutely needs to win this game to keep its regular season title hopes alive.

I’ll be sprinkling some money on an outright upset, but as far as my official recommendation goes, catching five is too good to pass up.

Pick: Florida A&M +5 (Play to +3.5)

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Nick Sterling
May 26, 2024 UTC