College Basketball Odds & Picks: Our 8 Best Bets for Tuesday (Jan. 18)
David Becker/Getty Images. Pictured: The Utah State Aggies.
When it comes to the college basketball schedule, Tuesdays are always an incredible reminder of what our next three months will look like.
Tuesday’s college hoops slate features a number of stellar conference matchups, and our staff is taking advantage of what the board has to offer.
From early ACC action and a couple of mid-major matchups to evening Power Five battles and an 11 p.m. ET tip, our staff has tonight’s docket covered with eight of their favorite bets.
Be sure to check out all eight of their top picks below.
Tuesday 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.|
North Carolina vs. Miami
The Miami love has gone too far.
After benefiting from standing out in a weak middle-tier ACC, Miami has been looked at as a challenger to rival Duke come March. Let’s not forget we were one Duke win away, and a million less turnovers, from not even mentioning Miami this time around.
Alas, I should thank Miami. Because of their incredible rise in some fans’ eyes, I will be hammering UNC tonight.
“Oh, Kody, shocking homer pick, blah blah blah.” With some clear advantages over the Hurricanes, this is the spot for UNC to remind everyone it’s the closest rival to Duke this season.
North Carolina has been one of the best shooting units in the ACC and top of the conference in scoring. With Miami’s 198th ranking in AdjD, UNC will once again benefit from open looks all game for another potential outpour of scoring.
The Tar Heels’ defense is not ideal either, but it’s worth noting the metric has been steadily improving as the season has progressed.
Where one of the biggest advantages comes in the Tar Heels’ favor is rebounding. Over the years, North Carolina has built an identity on attacking the boards and starting out fast. It has been no different this year, as UNC is once again leading the ACC in rebounding, averaging nearly 10 more boards per game than Miami, which is dead last.
Even if North Carolina starts off cold on the road, it will benefit from numerous second-chance points with its size advantage.
Armando Bacot will once again look to have a monster game, as he deserves serious consideration for ACC Player of the Year at the pace he has been playing. Miami may be in for a long night if he is once again locked in, grabbing every rebound in sight and creating second-chance opportunities.
North Carolina also fouls at one of the lowest rates in the league, limiting charity stripe opportunities for the Hurricanes. That’s a hard factor for Miami to overcome, as the Canes will need to find scoring any way they can.
With the potential for Miami to get bullied and shot out of the gym, I will comfortably take the Tar Heels in a statement game to take over the top spot in the ACC.
Pick: North Carolina -2 (Play to -4)
Dayton vs. St. Bonaventure
By D.J. James
The St. Bonaventure Bonnies have been underwhelming lately, to say the least. They are now 4-9 against the spread and head to Dayton to clash with the Flyers. As of now, the line sits at Flyers -2.5, but this is a bit low.
Although the Bonnies beat VCU in their last outing, they went to overtime with La Salle and struggled immensely with Virginia Tech and UConn in games before that. However, in their defense, they had three games canceled or postponed.
Still, they do not match up well with the Flyers on the road.
Dayton crashes the glass on both offense and defense (top-50 on each side of the ball). The Bonnies rank 79th in defensive rebounding but 171st on the offensive end, so this gives an advantage to the Flyers.
Toumani Camara and DaRon Holmes look poised to have a strong showing in this one. Since the Bonnies basically only have Osun Osunniyi as a consistent frontcourt threat, he can only guard one man at a time. This will also play into the Flyers’ hands on offense. Dayton already ranks 16th in the nation in 2-point percentage (56.5%).
In addition, Dayton has some sharpshooters. Koby Brea, Mustapha Amzil, Elijah Weaver, Kobe Elvis, and R.J. Blakney can shoot when called upon.
St. Bonaventure uses a relatively short bench, so Jaren Holmes, Kyle Lofton, Dominick Welch, and Jalen Adaway will have their hands full.
Pick: Dayton -2.5 (Play to -4.5)
Richmond vs. Fordham
This is a great bounce-back/desperation spot for Richmond, which has lost three of its last four, including a heartbreaker at home against Davidson last Friday night.
Richmond, offensively, is very versatile in the fact that it’s good in transition and in the half-court. The Spiders are in the top 25% of college basketball in points per possession and effective field goal percentage in both transition and the half-court.
Fordham is a solid defensive team in the half-court, but it struggles defending in transition, allowing 1.03 points per possession. Richmond is also a very fundamentally sound offense, as guards Nick Sherod and Jacob Gilyard have their team ranking sixth in turnover percentage allowed.
While the Fordham defense is solid, its offense is atrocious. The one way to beat Richmond’s defense is from behind the arc, as the Spiders are allowing 36.1%. That’s what Davidson did on Jan. 14, going 13-of-27.
Fordham is not that team, ranking 296th in 3-point field goal percentage. The Rams are also in the bottom 25% of college basketball in points per possession in both the half-court and in transition, so I have a hard time seeing how their offense is going to keep pace with the Spiders.
I love the Spiders -7.5 on the road in a get-right spot against an inferior opponent.
Pick: Richmond -7.5 (Play to -8.5)
Iowa State vs. Texas Tech
One of the best spots of the week features the Red Raiders coming off a loss at Kansas State in a revenge spot against an Iowa State team fresh off an emotional home win over Texas.
When these two teams met earlier this month in Ames, Texas Tech did not have either Kevin McCullar or Terrence Shannon available. Behind some Hilton Magic, the Clones jumped out to a 19-6 lead but still had to hold on for dear life in an eventual four-point victory after scoring just two points in the first 10 minutes of the second half.
In fact, Texas Tech had only seven players total available for that first meeting, and two eventually fouled out. With a shell of a roster that shot 3-of-17 from 3 and 6-of-15 from the line, the Red Raiders still had a lead with two minutes to go in regulation.
Well, McCullar has since returned, and Shannon got his first game action in a while under his belt on Saturday. I expect him to look much better after shaking the rust off in Manhattan.
Unless Gabe Kalscheur goes bonkers from 3 again as he did against Texas, I don’t see many paths to consistent success for this Iowa State offense in the half-court.
Iowa State does possess an excellent half-court defense, but it’s also been quite fortunate from a shot quality perspective. Opponents won’t continue to shoot 27.1% from beyond the arc, which ranks 10th in the country.
The Cyclones rank in the 99th percentile in points per possession allowed on open jumpers despite ranking 287th in the percentage of unguarded jumpers allowed, per Synergy.
In a matchup of two elite defenses, I’ll take the slightly better offense that’s now at full strength in a good situational spot in Lubbock with one of the nation’s best home-court advantages.
Pick: Texas Tech -7.5
Iowa State vs. Texas Tech
This game features a battle of two of the nation’s best defenses.
Neither is a particularly flashy brand of basketball, relying on pressure and transition baskets. Instead, both are solid defenses that can manufacture stops throughout the course of a game.
Texas Tech, in particular, has been primed to keep opponents off the scoreboard and control the tempo of the game. Six of the Red Raiders’ past eight games have stayed beneath tonight’s total of 130.5.
Mark Adams has his team playing diligent basketball, ranking 310th in the nation in tempo. Eight of Tech’s last 10 games have gone under the total, including a loss to lightning-quick Gonzaga, where even the Zags couldn’t manage 70 points.
If you’re worried about Tech being due for an over, Iowa State brings the opposite trend into this game, with four of its last six going over the total. Those results have been due to some hot shooting luck by the Cyclones’ opponents, with Baylor, Texas, and Oklahoma combining to shoot 22-of-51 (43%) against Iowa State.
That should normalize tonight against Texas Tech. The last time these teams met we saw a “First to 55” type of rock fight. This game should be a little smoother but not enough to hit 130.5.
Pick: Under 130.5
Duke vs. Florida State
The Noles have quietly won three in a row and are starting to play like a typical Leonard Hamilton team on the defensive side of the floor.
With a down ACC in 2021-22, there are minimal opportunities for teams to pick up big resume wins in conference play. There’s no better chance than tonight for Florida State to notch a needle-moving victory with the No. 6 Blue Devils coming to town.
It’s important to note that Malik Osborne will likely miss this game, but I believe his absence is baked into this number at 5.5.
Duke obviously possesses the more talented and deeper roster but this will only be the third true road game of the season for Coach K’s bunch due to some COVID-19 cancellations.
Duke won at Wake Forest in its most recent road outing but lost in Columbus to the Buckeyes in a game in which the Blue Devils really struggled in the half-court offensively.
Ultimately, I think 5.5 is too many points for a young Duke team that has been relatively untested on the road. Florida State has momentum from its current three-game winning streak, and I believe you’ll see an inspired effort from FSU to keep that mojo rolling.
The Seminole faithful don’t always show up in large numbers at the Tucker Center, but when Duke or Carolina come to town, they are there and they are loud. Give me FSU and the points.
Pick: Florida State +5.5 (Play to +5)
Wisconsin vs. Northwestern
Northwestern is amid a three-game stretch against teams that are ranked in the AP Top 25.
It ended a four-game skid with a win over Michigan State while missing its leading scorer in Pete Nance. Now, it will match up with the 14-2 Badgers who have had the third-toughest strength of schedule this season.
Wisconsin is rolling with six victories in a row while starting Big Ten play 5-1, including wins over Purdue, Iowa, and Ohio State. The offense is led by Johnny Davis, who has emerged as the potential National Player of the Year. Davis has put up 22 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 1.4 steals per game this season.
Northwestern ended a four-game Big Ten drought with its win over Michigan State. But the Wildcats didn’t play particularly well, shooting just 35% from the field and 59% from the charity stripe. It was a letdown by Michigan State that handed Northwestern the victory.
Nance is questionable again with an ankle injury. If he’s out, Northwestern will have no offensive weapons to match Wisconsin’s defense.
Wisconsin has owned this series, winning six straight games against Northwestern, with four of those victories coming on the road.
History is set to repeat itself in this matchup. In a game that screams trap, I am taking the cheese with the Wisconsin Badgers.
Pick: Wisconsin -2 (Play to -3.5)
Fresno State vs. Utah State
By Mike Randle
Fresno State (12-4) is off to its best start since the 2018-19 season under head coach Justin Hutson.
The Bulldogs are 2-1 in Mountain West play, coming off a solid 73-68 road win at UNLV. Junior forward Orlando Robinson (19.8 PPG, 8.4 RPG) has dominated the interior, and his 31 points against the Runnin’ Rebels are the most scored by any player in a Mountain West game this season.
However, I think Fresno State is overvalued in the market against Utah State.
The Aggies will be able to slow down the 7-foot Robinson with their own pair of big men in 6-foot-10 Brandon Horvath and 6-foot-7 Justin Bean.
Both are skilled offensive bigs who can shoot well from 3-point range. The Aggies are also top-44 in defensive rebounding efficiency, which should limit Fresno State’s second-chance opportunities.
Utah State is also looking for some positive regression at the free-throw line, where opponents are shooting a blistering 77.1%, 349th in the country.
The loss of senior Jemarl Baker (8.6 PPG, 3.6 RPG) is critical for Fresno State. The former Arizona and Kentucky guard is out for the season with a knee injury. The Bulldogs were 4-1 in games he played this season.
The Aggies are also without guard Brock Miller (8.8 PPG), who will miss his fourth-straight game due to a back injury, and backup point guard R.J. Eytle-Rock due to COVID-19 protocols.
Utah State is a good 3P shooting team (35.2%) that has struggled of late, only making an abysmal 19% from beyond the arc in Mountain West play. I project some positive regression tonight and project the Aggies to slow down the dominance of Robinson on the interior.
I’ll grab the 2.5 points on a line that could get over three as we approach tip-off.
Pick: Utah State +2.5 (Play to -2)
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