College Basketball Odds & Picks: How to Bet Penn vs. Columbia on Friday


Mitchell Leff/Getty Images. Pictured: Penn Quakers

This time of year, the Ivy League elbows its way into the national spotlight. At least on Friday nights, which are notoriously lean in terms of college hoops action.

A smattering of mid-majors are playing tonight, plus we get a ranked Big Ten tussle in Champaign, but I have my eyes on a matchup from the Ancient Eight that is off by four to five points according to my power ratings.

Here’s how I’m playing the Quakers and Lions in Manhattan tonight.

Friday College Basketball Odds & Picks

Odds as of Friday morning and via PointsBet, where Action Network users can access an exclusive promotion to get a 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150). No strings attached. No rollover required.

Penn at Columbia

  • Spread: Penn -5.5
  • Over/Under: 141.5
  • Time: 7 p.m. ET
  • TV: ESPN+

The quirks of the Ivy League schedule are well known. The Ivy remains the only college basketball conference that intentionally schedules back-to-backs for each league member during the regular season.

Travel and fatigue have created uneven performances and led to unlikely upsets over the years. As a general rule of thumb, I try to avoid playing road teams in the backend of back-to-backs for this very reason.

In this spot, however, you can grab a Penn team that is significantly discounted on the frontend of a back-to back. The Quakers, winners of three straight in Ivy League play, have proven their mettle on the road this season. They have two truly impressive road wins SU against Alabama and Providence. They’re 4-3 ATS as an away team, and have covered three straight.

Beyond their ATS resume, the Quakers sport the two best players in this contest. AJ Brodeur, a four-year starter, is the highest rated player in the Ivy League (14th in NBA Efficiency) and is averaging nearly 16 and 10 this season.

Interestingly, the 6-foot-8 power forward has increased his assists per game average every year in University City, and the offense essentially runs through him this season (4.7 apg).

The Robin to Brodeur’s Batman is true freshman Jordan Dingle. It’s easy to track how the combo guard has impacted UPenn this season. When Dingle is dialed in from long range, the Quakers have quite been profitable for gamblers.

In games in which Dingle has shot 33% or better from 3-point land, Penn is 4-2 SU and 6-0 ATS. Columbia’s opponents shoot 34.9% from three, and bury 7.7 treys per game (251st).

I have this line significantly higher, so jump in before it gets steamed up to 6/6.5. Columbia is a measly 6-12-1 ATS on the season, and that will continue on Friday.

Pick: Penn -5.5

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