College Basketball Odds & Picks: Our Staff’s 4 Best Bets for Tuesday, Including Yale vs. Saint Mary’s
Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Augustas Marciulionis (Saint Mary’s)
Cancellations have taken over college basketball over the last two weeks, forcing us into smaller slates and limited options from a betting perspective.
Tuesday’s schedule was originally supposed to feature 29 games. Instead, at the time of writing, 14 showdowns have been either postponed or canceled.
Our staff is looking to capitalize on the limited affairs, as they offer up four best bets below for four different games.
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.|
Notre Dame vs. Pitt
It’s gotten to the point in college hoops where conference games around the holidays that actually end up getting played should be celebrated. That’s where we’re at with Notre Dame heading east to take on Pittsburgh on Tuesday night.
These two teams have already combined for 12 losses between them, as the ACC continues to look like potentially the worst Power 5 league in the country.
All of that said, these two teams are not exactly equals. Pittsburgh has lost to the likes of UMBC, The Citadel and Monmouth, among others. Notre Dame’s defeats have all come against quality opponents, and the Irish have been competitive in most of those games.
I think Notre Dame is the far better team here, and I expect the Irish to win this game somewhat handily. In an effort to avoid a shutdown because of holiday travels, the Notre Dame team spent Christmas at Mike Brey’s house
I think you’ll see this squad very motivated to come out strong on the road and earn its first ACC win of the season. Notre Dame’s weaknesses lie on the interior, where the Irish are extremely thin. I don’t see a player on Pitt’s roster that can really take advantage of that.
On the other side of the ball, I think Notre Dame should be able to get plenty of quality looks, and I still believe the Irish are due for some positive shooting regression.
Give me the Irish to cover this number and win comfortably on the road against a reeling Panthers program.
Pick: Notre Dame -4 (Play to -5.5)
Lehigh vs. Maryland
There isn’t too much from a statistics perspective here. Lehigh is a brutally bad basketball team, and one that’s 1-9 this season.
But Maryland is still trying to build chemistry, sitting at just a mediocre 6-4 and looking ahead to conference play. Plus, Danny Manning and the Terps love to play down to their competition.
Maryland is just 1-6 ATS as a favorite this season. The Terps have lost outright three times as favorites so far, to Northwestern (-5.5), Virginia Tech (-1) and George Mason (-9.5).
Plus, when Manning-coached teams are catching more than 15 points at home, they’ve gone a perfect 0-5 ATS.
Meanwhile, Lehigh and head coach Brett Reed tend to play up to competition. This team is awful, but it took Rutgers to overtime and kept it within 20 against Virginia — both of those games were on the road.
The past few seasons have been a rollercoaster given the pandemic circumstances. But Reed’s teams are 3-2 ATS as a road dog this season. And between 2011 and 2018, Reed’s Hawks went 13-2 ATS as a road dog.
In terms of actual basketball: there’s reason to believe this won’t be a blowout. Maryland has been brutally inefficient on the offensive end, and Lehigh has been decent with its interior defense.
The Hawks have the lowest defensive 3-point rate in the nation (24.4% 3PA/FGA), but are top-30 nationally in 2-point defense (43.7%).
With little perimeter offense and inefficient interior offense, it’s going to be hard for Maryland to get across this number. Plus, history is on Lehigh’s side.
Give me the Hawks at anything higher than 20.
Pick: Lehigh +21.5 (Play to +20)
Fresno State vs. Boise State
Boise State puts its six-game win streak to the test as it welcomes Fresno State.
Boise State opened the season 3-4 — including some bad losses to UC Irvine and Cal State Bakersfield — but the Broncos have found their offensive groove recently, averaging 75 points per game over their last six contests.
They’re a well-rounded offensive group, with five players averaging over nine points per contest. They have connected on 49% of their field goal attempts, but have struggled shooting from behind the arc.
Much of that is due to leading scorer Abu Kigab, who has hit only 8-of-33 from downtown this season. However, he’s improved his shot selection recently, hitting three of his six attempts over the last five games.
Fresno has had a strong start to the season, going 10-3 in its out-of-conference schedule. The Bulldogs have relied on seven-foot junior center Orlando Robinson for much of their offensive production.
Robinson has averaged 18.5 points and 8.2 rebounds per contest this season. He’s converted on over 51% of his field goal attempts and is a monster inside the paint.
The Bulldogs also have six other players who are averaging above six points per game.
Both teams have been strong defensively, boasting top-40 efficiency rankings. But the total in this game is the lowest of the season for each program at 118. Boise State’s average over/under has been 134 this season, while Fresno games have closed at an averaged 130.
This total is an overreaction to the recent results from Fresno, and I make this number closer to 125.
Pick: Over 118 (Play to 120)
Yale vs. Saint Mary’s
The Saint Mary’s Gaels will host the Yale Bulldogs at University Credit Union Pavilion on Tuesday night.
Yale has struggled offensively so far this season, as it is averaging just 71.6 points per game. The Bulldogs are also shooting just 40% overall from the field, a number that puts them 267th in the country.
Meanwhile the Gaels own one of the best defenses and are one of the slowest-paced teams in the country (313th in adjusted tempo, per KenPom). Opponents are averaging just 59.5 points per game, and the Gaels have been even better at home, where opponents average just 58.2 points per night.
The Gaels are also a more experienced team than the Bulldogs, as well as being considerably taller on average. I think Saint Mary’s will be able to impose its will against a Yale team that already struggles on offense. The Gaels will slow this game down to their pace at home.
Unders are 9-4 on the season for Saint Mary’s.
I was able to grab this line at the opener of 132 and I would feel comfortable with it all the way down to 129.