College Basketball Best Bets: Our Staff’s 3 Top Picks for Friday’s Games

College Basketball Best Bets: Our Staff’s 3 Top Picks for Friday’s Games article feature image

Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images. Pictured: Colin Castleton (Florida)

  • Welcome to Friday's college basketball slate, featuring two top-25 showdowns and much more.
  • But for the focus of this best bets piece, our staff is targeting three particular games on Friday.
  • Dive in and formulate your college basketball betting card now.

Just like last week, Friday's slate in college basketball is very much superior to Saturday's.

Last week, we had Gonzaga taking on Michigan State on an aircraft carrier.

This week, we have two top-25 battles in the Continental Tire Main Event, Indiana facing Xavier in the Gavitt Games, a rivalry duel in Florida and multiple early-season tournaments continuing or beginning their events.

Our staff has three games you should be targeting on Friday as they provide three best bets for your college hoops card.

Friday'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.

1 p.m. ET
Drake -10.5
6 p.m. ET
Indiana -2
8 p.m. ET
Under 146.5
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.

Buffalo vs. Drake

Friday, Nov. 18
1 p.m. ET
Drake -10.5

By Kyle Remillard

“Love the Drake!” Especially in this matchup.

Drake faces off against a Buffalo program that is struggling to adjust with its new roster. The Bulls returned only 12% of their roster from last season, and the new faces haven’t caught up with the up-tempo style.

Buffalo ranks first in the nation in tempo through its first three games. But that fast pace has led the Bulls' offense to the 313th-ranking in turnovers.

Meanwhile, Drake’s offense has turned the ball over at the 68th-best rate in the country.

The Buffalo defense has allowed opponents to shoot 58% on 2-point attempts this season, which ranks 311th in the country. The Bulls also send opponents to the charity stripe at the 345th rate.

The Bulldogs have dominated the paint this season, hitting 67% of their 2-point field goals, which is the sixth-best mark in the country.

Tucker DeVries and Sardaar Calhoun have been a dynamic duo, with each averaging 18 points per game. The two guards should be in for a big game due to the up-and-down tempo that’s expected.

Drake's offense has scored 80 points in its first two matchups against two opponents that play with a pace outside the top-300 nationally.

The offense has a chance to hit triple digits in this matchup against the fastest pace-of-play in the country.

Pick: Drake -10.5 (Play to -12)

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Indiana vs. Xavier

Friday, Nov. 18
6 p.m. ET
Indiana -2

By Mike McNamara

We have one of the premier matchups of the Gavitt Games on Friday night in Cincinnati. Indiana makes the short road trip east to take on an Xavier team that has plenty of expectations in year one of the Sean Miller era.

I think the Hoosiers are simply the better and more polished team in this matchup, and I expect them to cover this number as a short road favorite.

Indiana has been razor sharp in its first two games of the year, and even though those matchups came against inferior competition, I really like the look this team has early on.

Mike Woodson can comfortably go 10 deep without any real drop off, and the shooting on this roster is much improved from a year ago.

I like the long-term prospects of this Xavier team, but on Friday night, I question how the Musketeers will be able to contain Trayce Jackson-Davis and Race Thompson on the inside.

Additionally, Indiana should control the glass, and Xavier Johnson has been doing a great job of quarterbacking this team from the point guard spot, resulting in quality shots for IU on most trips down the floor.

Give me the Hoosiers to get it done at the Cintas Center.

Florida vs. Florida State

Friday, Nov. 18
8 p.m. ET
ACC Network
Under 146.5

By D.J. James

Florida and Florida State match up for an in-state rivalry on Friday night.

Florida dropped a tough one to Florida Atlantic the other day, while Florida State is in, let’s say, a rebuilding season. The Noles are 0-3 going into this game.

However, the side on this game is not intriguing. It's the total that's intriguing.

Florida has a solid defense and one of the best units in the SEC. It ranks 46th in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency despite giving up 76 points to FAU. The Gators excel in defensive rebounding (16th in the NCAA), and opponents are only shooting around 41% on 2-pointers against them this season.

Colin Castleton is a huge reason why. The Seminoles do not really have the talent to get by both him and Alex Fudge.

FSU, however, does slow teams down on the defensive end. It ranks 357th in defensive time of possession at 20.1 seconds on average. The Noles are abysmal when it comes to defensive rebounding, so this is a little bit of a concern against Castleton.

FSU is holding opponents to around 44% on 2s, so it can at least defend those second chances for Florida.

Another area of concern is from beyond the arc. FSU has scored 31.5% of its points from downtown and has shot 40.4% on those shots. Florida is letting the opposition shoot 36.2% from deep.

Florida will have to shut down the Noles' inside game and limit their opponent's trips to the free-throw line if those 3s are falling.

Take the under in this game.

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