College Basketball Odds & Picks: Our Staff’s 4 Best Bets for Tuesday, Including Wisconsin vs. Indiana
Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images. Pictured: Trayce Jackson-Davis (Indiana)
If you’ve been following this daily piece all season, you know we don’t typically back the biggest of games unless there’s true value from a betting perspective.
On Tuesday night, we have both massive matchups and nice spots to back a certain side in each of those games.
While Kentucky vs. Tennessee is missing from this list, our staff still made their best bets for Wake Forest vs. Duke, a top-10 showdown in the Big East, a key Big 12 duel and Wisconsin vs. Indiana.
Tuesday’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.
|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.|
Wake Forest vs. Duke
When these two teams squared off earlier in the year in Winston-Salem, Paolo Banchero went for 24 in a game the Blue Devils won comfortably. Wake shot 2-of-16 from the 3-point arc in what was one of the Demon Deacons’ worst offensive performances of the season.
In the rematch tonight, I expect the Deacs to be much more competitive, despite this one taking place in Cameron Indoor.
Duke has actually arguably been a better team away from home thus far this year. The Blue Devils have losses to Miami (FL) and Virginia on their home floor, and were also tested by Virginia Tech and Clemson.
Wake is a balanced group with very similar offensive and defensive efficiency ratings, and after a tough home loss to Miami, this road test will have its full focus.
Duke can overpower a lot of opponents with the sheer size of Mark Williams, Banchero and A.J. Griffin, but Wake has the bodies and length to hold its own on the interior.
With this line currently hovering at 10/10.5, I’m buying the Demon Deacons to keep this within single digits. Duke’s defense allows plenty of good looks from deep, and I expect Wake’s guards to shoot it much better than they did in the first meeting.
Expect the Dukies to do enough to win the game, but I don’t see them running away with this one.
Take the Deacs with the points.
Pick: Wake Forest +10.5 (Play to +10)
Villanova vs. Providence
The Dunkin’ Donuts Center will be rocking for the biggest regular season game in Providence College history. The Big East is down to a two-horse race, as the Friars sit two games ahead of Villanova in the loss column.
Providence is having its best season in program history — starting out 21-2 — and it continues to get disrespected. The Friars have been perfect at closing out close games, winning all nine of their matchups decided by five points or less.
Providence’s 6-foot-10 Nate Watson has been a monster all season. The fifth-year center is averaging 14 points and six rebounds per game while shooting over 55% from the field.
Last season, Villanova had Jeremiah Robinson-Earl to match up with Watson, but he’s now in the NBA. Jay Wright will be throwing the young Eric Dixon at Watson, and Dixon will have his hands full.
This game should turn into a grind, as both offenses play at an extremely slow tempo. Points will be at a premium, and the difference could come down to free throws.
Providence gets to the line at the 10th-highest rate in the nation. The rowdy crowd at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center should only help that statistic.
The last time we saw Villanova play in a rowdy environment it was crushed by Marquette.
This game is slated to be a close one down to the stretch. I’m taking the points with the home dog that has been perfect in close-game situations this season.
Pick: Providence +4.5 (Play to +4)
Iowa State vs. TCU
Iowa State (16-9, 3-9) hits the road to face TCU (16-6, 5-5) this evening as it looks to right the ship in the Big 12 standings. TCU was the victor in the first meeting between the two schools in Ames, Iowa this season, 59-44.
The Cyclones’ offense has been led by the outstanding play of senior guard Izaiah Brockington. Brockington averages 17.0 points per game and leads the Big 12 in double doubles this year with seven to date.
Iowa State ranks 151st in AdjO, scoring 103.7 points per 100 possessions. This compares to a TCU squad that ranks 94th in the same measure with 106.8 points.
Where Iowa State will be able to distance itself from the Horned Frogs is on the defensive end of things.
Brockington has been an excellent rebounder for the Cyclones, leading the team with an average of 7.7 boards per game. Freshman guard Tyrese Hunter leads Iowa State in steals this season with 48 and is on the watch list for the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year.
Iowa State boasts a ranking of seventh in the nation in AdjD by allowing only 89 points per 100 possessions. The Clones allow so few points because of their ability to force turnovers. The Cyclones rank fourth nationally in defensive turnover rate, forcing a change of possession on 25.1% of plays.
Look for Iowa State – which allows just 61.8 points per game and has held opponents to just 42.2% shooting from the field – to keep this game very close.
I’m projecting Iowa State as 2.36-point underdogs tonight in Fort Worth. I recommend taking the points for a 1-unit play.
Pick: Iowa State +3.5 (Play to +3)
Wisconsin vs. Indiana
I have to admit, watching Indiana against Michigan State was painful. I’m no athlete myself these days given the copious amounts of drinking and fast food I consume with little to no exercise, but even I could have injected some offense into the Hoosiers.
Same story, different game, as the Indiana defense mustered all it could to keep the Hoosiers within the number, while the offense went into lulls, shooting enough bricks to build a barn.
After closing as a +5 underdog in their last game out against the Badgers, I was very curious as to why they opened as a favorite this go round. That was until I realized Indiana is a potential bad matchup for the Badgers.
The sad reality is that Wisconsin just may not be as good as the public eye makes it. KenPom agrees, as he barely has the Badgers ahead of Indiana in AdjEM.
The Badgers are balanced on both ends, but they don’t really excel at an elite level on either side of the ball. They have greatly benefited from the luck factor, per KenPom.
In its last game out, Indiana cruised to a big lead, only to squander it with its offensive woes.
In what is expected to be a bounce-back spot on top of a revenge spot, I see this playing out differently. Indiana’s defense is one of the best in the country, a unit that will surely look to lockdown the Badgers’ duo of Brad Davison and Johnny Davis, who is one of the best players in the country.
On the other end, Wisconsin struggles against size, opening up a possible monster game opportunity for one of Indiana’s very few sources of offense in Trayce Jackson-Davis.
If TJD can command attention down low and free up the perimeter for more open looks, Indiana will have a better shot of putting some much needed points on the board.
If TJD can stay out of foul trouble, I see Indiana controlling much of the game flow and putting Wisconsin in a frenzy. If TJD picks up early fouls and the Indiana offense goes into a lull, look to buy out or hedge a small piece off with Wisconsin.