College Basketball Odds, Picks: Our Staff’s 4 Best Bets for Tuesday’s Slate (Jan. 10)
Photo by Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images. Pictured: Ben Vander Plas (Virginia)
College football is in the rearview mirror, which means college basketball is stepping up to the plate to shine nationally over the next couple of months.
Our staff has been locked in since the season began in November, though. And we continue our road to March with three best bets for Tuesday’s slate.
So, dive in immediately and get the top college basketball odds and picks for Tuesday.
Tuesday’s 4 College Basketball Best Bets
The team logos in the table below represent each of the matchups that our college basketball staff is targeting from Tuesday’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.|
Ball State vs. Ohio
Both of these teams have been carried by their offenses this season, averaging just under 80 points per game.
On the defensive end, both of these teams have struggled, ranking outside the top 230 in adjusted efficiency.
This defensive struggle is the result of both teams being unable to defend the 3-point line effectively so far this season. Ball State and Ohio rank 252nd and 247th in 3-point percentage defensive, respectively.
This will be an issue, as both offenses rank inside the top-60 nationally in 3-point shooting.
In addition to both teams having success from outside, this will be a game that Ohio will look to make into a track meet. The Bobcats have the 60th-shortest average offensive possession time nationally at 16.4 seconds.
I love the value on the over in a game that features two teams that have been dependent on their offenses to get the job done so far this season.
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Texas Tech vs. Iowa State
There’s a great buy-low, sell-high spot in Ames on Tuesday night.
The Red Raiders badly need a win, as they are still winless in Big 12 play following an overtime loss to Oklahoma on Saturday night.
Meanwhile, Iowa State returns home after a dramatic last-second victory at TCU in which Gabe Kalscheur hit a step-back 3-pointer with a hand in his face to give the Cyclones the win.
Mark Adams’ team can still defend at a high level, and aside from an 11-point loss to Creighton back in November, every game Texas Tech has lost has been tight and down to the wire.
On the flip side, Iowa State is still a mediocre offensive group that has relied on its defense to get off to this fast start in Big 12 play.
The Cyclones will have a difficult time consistently getting good looks in the half-court, and Tech’s pressure should also be able to force some turnovers.
Ultimately, this is too many points in a game that should be nip-and-tuck throughout, especially with the Red Raiders in desperation mode.
Air Force vs. Colorado State
The stingy Falcons defense will be called upon to slow down the Colorado State offense. Fortunately, defense is the strong suit of Air Force.
Air Force will rely on excellent effective field goal defense (EFGD) to slow the Colorado State offense. Currently, Air Force ranks 48th in the nation in EFGD, allowing opposing offenses to score on just 46.4% of attempts.
The vast majority of Air Forces’ EFGD comes from its ability to defend shots from beyond the arc. The Falcons rank an impressive 18th in the nation in 3-point defense.
The Air Force offense is equally competent, but will be slightly out matched by the Colorado State offense. However, I expect the defense to do enough to slow down the Rams and keep this game close.
I am projecting Air Force as five-point underdogs in this conference game and see strong value relative to the line of nine points.
Lastly, I’d be remiss if I didn’t touch on the fact that the Air Force is a service academy and those schools typically travel very well, highlighting the discipline associated with the military.
I like Air Force at nine points or better this evening, and I expect the defense to show up ready to stand its ground. I recommend playing this to 7.5.
North Carolina vs. Virginia
North Carolina has played better as of late. The Heels took care of business against Notre Dame and Wake Forest and posted back-to-back Big Ten wins against Michigan and Ohio State.
However, I don’t know if I’m ready to trust these Tar Heels.
Were any of the recent North Carolina wins that impressive? Ohio State on a neutral floor isn’t bad. On the other hand, I’m not impressed by Michigan, Wake Forest or Notre Dame.
Meanwhile, Virginia must improve, as the Cavs have failed to cover in four of their last five games. The Cavaliers are 3-10 ATS overall and 1-9 ATS as a favorite this season.
But this feels like a solid buy-low Tony Bennett spot. Remember that Bennett is one of the most profitable ATS coaches of all-time, and he’s 43-29-3 as a conference favorite in the five seasons before this one.
From an on-court standpoint, the matchup is fine for Virginia.
The Cavs run a glacial pace, which should bother the Heels’ up-tempo style while keeping them out of transition.
Offensively, Virginia will run plenty of perimeter sets, including spot-ups, off-screen action and cutting action. Meanwhile, North Carolina is a below-average defense against those sets, and the Heels refuse to pressure ball handlers (329th in defensive turnover rate).
Also, look out for Jayden Gardner, Kadin Shedrick and Ben Vander Plas in the pick-and-roll game. For all of Armando Bacot’s two-way excellence, the Heels are a surprisingly poor roll-man defense (1.190 PPP allowed, 11th percentile).
Ultimately, this handicap mostly comes down to coach Bennett against a North Carolina team I don’t believe in. The Cavs haven’t covered much this season, but the Heels are 0-3 ATS as an underdog.
The line seems right from a number standpoint, but I like the spot. I probably wouldn’t play the Cavs any higher than they are now, but I think UVA wins convincingly.