College Basketball Odds, Picks: Our Staff’s 3 Best Bets for Thursday’s Slate (Dec. 8)
Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images. Pictured: Niko Medved (Colorado State)
There’s only 11 games on the college basketball slate on Thursday, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t betting value on the board.
Our staff has three best bets to help you formulate your card, including a Big Ten game in Columbus and two in-state rivalries.
Dive in below!
Thursday’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 Thursday’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.|
Rutgers vs. Ohio State
The Scarlet Knights held an Indiana team that had been filling it up to just 48 points in its most recent outing last Saturday.
Steve Pikiell’s team checks in at sixth nationally in AdjDE, and a big reason why is the rim protection from Clifford Omoruyi. The junior is also a high-level rebounder and has been cleaning up the glass all season.
Ohio State is not the greatest outside shooting team, and that’s where you need to beat the Rutgers defense. I expect the Buckeyes to have to really work for every bucket they get in this game.
On the other side of the floor, Caleb McConnell’s return has given Rutgers a big boost offensively. The veteran guard can create his own shot and also get in the lane and find the open man.
I think this will be a very competitive game throughout, so I will gladly back Rutgers getting 6.5 in this spot.
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Iowa State vs. Iowa
By D.J. James
Iowa runs at an exceptionally fast pace — averaging 15.2 seconds per possession — but the Cyclones hold opponents to 17.4 seconds per possession on defense. This should mitigate the Hawkeyes’ ability to attack the rim.
In contrast, Iowa State has the 261st-ranked Adjusted Tempo (per KenPom) while utilizing 18.1 seconds per offensive possession on average. Iowa shockingly forces the opposition to use up a ton of clock, too, averaging 18.5 seconds per possession on the defensive end.
In addition, Iowa State has a renowned defense. The Clones own the highest turnover percentage in the nation (30%) while Iowa ranks first in offensive turnover percentage. These two should even each other out.
The Cyclones also hold opponents to 46.7% on 2-pointers, which is where Iowa gets the majority of its points. The Clones have the height inside with Osun Osunniyi, Robert Jones and Aljaz Kunc.
Now, Iowa is not too shabby defending both 2s and 3s. It holds opponents to 32.3% outside and 46.2% inside the arc.
One area of concern for under-backers in this game is how often the Cyclones foul. They rank 317th in free-throw attempt percentage on defense and Iowa draws a fair amount of fouls. Expect Iowa to be at the strike often, but the Cyclones will hold the rest of their offense in check.
With so many other areas of the Hawkeyes’ offense restricted, an under is in play. Both defenses should thrive in this rivalry.
Colorado State vs. Colorado
It’s a rebuilding year for the Rams after the program reached the AP Top 25 and earned a six seed in the NCAA tournament a season ago. Niko Medved’s squad has been up and down in non-conference play and is fresh off a home loss to Northern Colorado.
Colorado also struggled in non-conference play, with losses to Grambling State and UMass. Those struggles carried over into conference play last week, with losses to both Arizona State and Washington.
As for this game, the return of Isaiah Stevens should massively help the Rams’ offense. Colorado State was one of the best shooting and ball protection offenses last year and is looking similar this year.
Colorado has the length to get its points from the inside, but won’t get enough offensive rebounds or second chances to pull away from the Rams on Wednesday night.
The Buffaloes also don’t apply enough ball pressure or guard the perimeter well enough to take Medved’s offense out of its motion and ball-screen rhythm. If the Rams space the floor and force the Colorado bigs to guard the perimeter, I think that’s an advantage for the Rams.
Given that these two teams are evenly matched, I’ll take Colorado State at +4 or better.