College Basketball Odds & Picks: Our Staff’s 4 Best Bets for Tuesday, Including Missouri vs. Vanderbilt
Photo by Matthew Maxey/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Scotty Pippen Jr. & Rodney Chatman (Vanderbilt)
If you need a preview for Championship Week or March Madness, Tuesday is a perfect slate to get your popcorn ready.
Three top-25 duels — Marquette vs. UConn, Wisconsin vs. Michigan State and Illinois vs. Purdue — take center stage for what is a loaded schedule in college hoops.
While we’ll touch on the Big East matchup between the Golden Eagles and the Huskies, there are three other major conference affairs that are off of the national radar that offer value from a betting perspective.
With that in mind, our staff’s four best bets for Tuesday are below.
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.|
Marquette vs. UConn
When Shaka Smart is catching points on the road, it’s an auto bet for me.
He’s now covered in five straight road dog opportunities as the Golden Eagles’ head coach. And while it’s not the best spot for Marquette — coming off of a win over Villanova while UConn has lost two straight — I’ll take Shaka to stay within the number one more time.
I also believe in the Marquette defense, especially against this UConn offense.
UConn is an imposing, interior-oriented basketball team (250th in 3-point rate) that lives on the offensive boards.
But Marquette can counter that.
The Golden Eagles have size advantages at almost every position and rank highly in some key interior metrics, like 2-point defense (45.1%, 22nd nationally), defending the pick-and-roll (.616 PPP allowed, 90th percentile), cutters (.977 PPP allowed, 94th percentile) and in post-up situations (.776 PPP allowed, 71st percentile).
And while Marquette isn’t a good rebounding team, it ranks in the 88th percentile in PPP allowed on offensive rebounds and put backs (.949).
Connecticut needs this win, but I have total faith in Shaka’s Golden Eagles to keep it within two possessions.
Pick: Marquette +7 (Play to +6)
LSU vs. Texas A&M
I love this spot for the Aggies in basically a do-or-die situation following their recent skid. Texas A&M won its first four conference games and was off to a fantastic start, sitting at 15-2 overall.
Since then, the Aggies have dropped their last six despite holding second-half leads in most of those games.
One loss during that stretch was to the same LSU team they’ll host tonight. A&M led in Baton Rouge for most of that night before giving it away in the final minutes.
LSU enters this contest on a losing streak of its own. The Tigers have lost three in a row and six of their last seven, with the lone win coming over the Aggies.
The Tigers have been atrocious in the half-court offensively. Plain and simple, if this team does not get out in transition, it really struggles to score the ball.
Expect an inspired Texas A&M effort tonight to get off the schneid. Also, the Aggies will want to exact a little bit of revenge on an LSU team that beat it earlier in the year, and has also won the last nine matchups in this series.
I’m taking A&M +2 and would play it all the way to a pick’em.
Pick: Texas A&M +2 (Play to PK)
Syracuse vs. Boston College
Jim Boeheim is hoping his program catches fire the final month of the season to keep any hopes of an NCAA Tournament bid alive.
The Orange have won three straight, which is the longest winning streak of their season. They look to make it four in a row with a trip to Chestnut Hill against a slumping Boston College program.
The Eagles have won just three of their last 12 games and are building for the future. Now, they match up against the patented Syracuse 2-3 zone defense.
The Syracuse defense hasn’t lived up to typical expectations this season, but it forces opponents to utilize ball movement and hit outside jump shots — two areas in which Boston College struggles.
Boston College ranks outside the top-300 in the nation in 2-point and 3-point percentages this season. Over their last six games, the Eagles have connected on just 27-of-115 (23%) attempts from beyond the arc.
BC ranks 254th in the country in assist rate and second-to-last in the ACC with 11 assists per game. The offense relies on its playmakers to go one-on-one and make a play. That strategy won’t work against the zone defense.
Offensively, Syracuse is thriving, averaging 90 points per game during its three-game winning streak. The Orange have been dynamite from outside, shooting 38% on the season. Now, they match up against a BC defense that ranks 313th nationally in defending the perimeter.
This is a horrible matchup for Boston College, and I anticipate a wire-to-wire victory for the Orange to make it four in a row.
Pick: Syracuse -4 (Play to -5.5)
Missouri vs. Vanderbilt
The Vanderbilt Commodores (12-10, 4-6 SEC) host the Missouri Tigers (9-13, 3-6 SEC) for a showdown between SEC bottom feeders in Nashville. This will be the first meeting between the two programs since the 2019-20 COVID-19 season.
Vanderbilt comes into tonight’s game after knocking off No. 25 LSU at home on Saturday.
Missouri enters the contest after an outright win over Texas A&M as nearly double-digit underdogs.
Junior guard Scotty Pippen Jr. leads a Vanderbilt offense that has an AdjO of 105.1. Pippen, an All-American candidate, is tied for the SEC lead in points, averaging 18.8 per game this season.
Where Vanderbilt stands out is on defense, posting an AdjD of 96.0 season to date, which ranks 51st nationally. The Commodores have been very effective at forcing turnovers, generating a defensive turnover rate of 22.3% to rank 30th nationally.
Pippen has led the way defensively with 38 steals this season. Senior forward Quentin Millora-Brown anchors the defensive frontcourt, averaging 5.6 rebounds and 1.22 blocks per game.
Look for Pippen and Millora-Brown to take advantage of Missouri’s vulnerabilities on offense.
Defensively, Vanderbilt will look to capitalize on Missouri’s sloppy ball-handling. The Tigers rank 328th in the nation in offensive turnover rate, turning over the rock on 21.5% of plays.
On offense, Vandy will look to exploit the boards, where Mizzou ranks 296th in offensive rebounding.
I am projecting Vanderbilt as 10.39-point favorites based on the Commodores’ ability to separate themselves from Mizzou in terms of AdjEM.
Take advantage of this discrepancy driven by the Commodores’ better defensive play.