College Basketball Best Bets: 4 Top Picks for Tuesday’s Slate
Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images. Pictured: Keshad Johnson (San Diego State)
- Get set for college basketball on Tuesday evening, as our staff dives into two games and provides four picks.
- We start with a Big East-Big 12 Battle clash between Baylor and Marquette.
- Then, our staff agrees that one play should be targeted in UC Irvine vs. San Diego State.
While those two conference clashes take center stage, our staff is searching for value elsewhere, as well.
Below, we’re featuring one best bet from Baylor-Marquette while three other staff members are keying in on the same pick from the same game out west.
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 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.|
Baylor vs. Marquette
I pretty much auto-lay it with Shaka Smart when he’s catching points. He’s 72-49-3 ATS as an underdog in his career, good for a 59.5% clip with a 15% ROI.
That includes 2-0 this season, as Shaka’s Golden Eagles covered +8 against Purdue and +3.5 against Mississippi State.
Shaka now hosts a Baylor squad playing its first true road game of the season following Feast Week matchups against Virginia and UCLA.
Baylor’s backcourt has the goods, but Marquette’s perimeter defense is nothing to scoff at. The Eagles are top-60 in defensive turnover rate and pick-and-roll points per possession allowed, which should make freshman Keyonte George shake in his boots a bit.
But no matter the matchup, Shaka always keeps these games within three possessions. I’ll bank on him to do it again.
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UC Irvine vs. San Diego State
As we know, the San Diego State defense is one of the best in the country, holding teams to an effective field goal percentage of 40.7%. UC Irvine is a strong defensive unit in its own right, holding opponents to just 61.6 points per game so far this season.
UC Irvine also relies heavily on shots from beyond the arc, with 36.4% of its scoring coming from 3-pointers. The Aztecs, meanwhile, have held opponents to just 28.8% from 3-point range; the Anteaters are even better, holding teams to just 24.3%.
The Anteaters rank in the 68th percentile when it comes to defending shots at the rim — holding teams to just 59.1% — and are even better in the paint overall, where they rank in the 94th percentile, holding teams to just 28.9%.
That should definitely have an impact on an Aztecs team that has 44.4% of their shots coming from either in the paint or at the rim.
Most importantly when it comes to this number, I think it is simply too high.
San Diego State’s defensive numbers are somewhat inflated due to the strong offensive units the team faced at the Maui Invitational. Sure, the Aztecs are still great on defense, but I think they are even better than what they look like on paper.
I fully expected this line to be around 130-132, and still planned to take the under there. Getting this total at 137 is an opportunity I won’t be passing up, and I would feel comfortable taking the under here at 132 or better.
By D.J. James
San Diego State had a rough go of it in the Maui Invitational, dropping two hard-fought games to Arizona and Arkansas. The Aztecs look to bounce back at home against UC Irvine on Tuesday night, though.
UCI prospers on the defensive end. It ranks 53rd in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency, which is why it comes into this game with a 6-1 record and a win over Oregon.
The Anteaters are holding opponents to 24.3% from 3-point range and 43.3% on 2-pointers this season. With how aggressive they have a tendency of playing, they do foul a ton, so this is one hindrance to betting the total.
Even still, this should be a strong defensive battle with San Diego State.
SDSU is the 17th-ranked KenPom team for a reason. The Aztecs thrive on the defensive end, ranking 16th in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency.
In year’s past, they would run at a much slower tempo. This year, they rank 105th at the moment, but this could mostly be due to playing Arizona and Arkansas — two notoriously quick teams — in back-to-back affairs.
Expect them to regress back to their own pace, as they will control the tempo of this game.
The Aztecs also have a tendency to foul opponents out of aggression, but they are also holding the opposition to 28.8% on 3-pointers.
Since Nathan Mensah can match up with UCI’s seven-footer (Bent Leuchten), SDSU should be better suited for a defensive-oriented battle inside the arc, as well.
The Aztecs ranked seventh in defensive 2-point percentage (43.5%) last season, and there is no reason they cannot perform similarly the rest of this season.
Again, their 53.4% defensive 2-point percentage this season is due to playing Arkansas and Arizona in Maui.
Expect SDSU to bounce back and keep this game at its preferred pace.
UC Irvine matches up with San Diego State late Tuesday night in what is going to be a defensive showcase.
So far this season, San Diego State has shown a high-level of competence on the defensive end, ranking 15th nationally in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency (89.6).
For UC Irvine, which ranks 53rd in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency (94.4), this is a perfect matchup stylistically.
The Anteaters rank ninth nationally in effective FG% defense (40.7%), 3P% defense (24.3%) and offensive rebound% defense (19.8%).
San Diego State ranks outside the top-100 offensively in all of these stats.
This total has likely been inflated due to the high pace that San Diego State has played at so far this season (15.3 seconds per offensive possession), but does not account for the areas UC Irvine will be able to exploit defensively.
I expect this game to finish in the high 50s, so I will gladly take the under at the current number.