College Basketball Odds, Picks: Our Staff’s 5 Best Bets for Tuesday (Dec. 20)

College Basketball Odds, Picks: Our Staff’s 5 Best Bets for Tuesday (Dec. 20) article feature image

Photo by Samuel Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Isaiah Wong (Miami)

Christmas and New Year's are fast approaching, which means college basketball is only going to heat up as we get closer and closer to March.

On Tuesday, we have a sneaky slate, featuring a ranked matchup in Coral Gables, a potentially entertaining tilt in Providence and Duke traveling on the road in ACC play.

Our staff provides five best bets below for Tuesday's slate, including one for each of the three games mentioned above. Dive in now to get your top college basketball odds and picks for the day.

Tuesday's 5 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.

6:30 p.m. ET
Under 141.5
6:30 p.m. ET
UConn -23
7 p.m. ET
Marquette +1.5
7 p.m. ET
Dayton 1H -11.5
8:30 p.m. ET
Miami +4
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.

Duke vs. Wake Forest

Tuesday, Dec. 20
6:30 p.m. ET
ACC Network
Under 141.5

By Patrick Strollo

No. 14 Duke (10-2, 1-0) will travel to Winston-Salem to play Wake Forest (8-4, 0-1) for its first away game of ACC play.

The Blue Devils have one of the best defenses in the country, ranking 21st in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency by allowing just 90 points per 100 possessions.

Having played one of the toughest schedules in the country thus far, Duke's defense has been excellent, holding every opponent below its season scoring average.

Tonight’s matchup should follow the same storyline as the Blue Devils get a Wake Forest offense that ranks tied for sixth (75.1 PPG) in ACC scoring offense.

Meanwhile, the Demon Deacons will be getting a less potent version of the Duke offense than they’ve seen in recent years.

Duke ranks just ninth (73.2 PPG) in conference scoring average and has struggled from beyond the arc, ranking just 260th in the nation in 3-point field goal percentage.

Duke has been playing at one of the slowest paces in all of Division I, with an Adjusted Tempo of 66.1 possessions (287th) per 40 minutes. That's compounded some of the scoring issues.

As a result of the slow tempo, Duke has been a cash machine against the total this season, hitting unders at a 66.7% clip.

My model is projecting the total for this game at 135.5, which is above Duke’s season total average of 131.8 points per game, but still well below the actionable line of 141.5.

Where Duke could falter — and what I expect to be the edge in this game — is this being the first true road test for the Blue Devils after playing a schedule of home and neutral-court games.

Duke will come out running its slow offense and look for its shutdown defense to do what it does.

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Georgetown vs. UConn

Tuesday, Dec. 20
6:30 p.m. ET
UConn -23

By D.J. James

The Connecticut Huskies enter Tuesday with an undefeated record and the No. 2 ranking in the latest AP Poll.

Fortunately, their opponent in this Big East tilt will be Georgetown.

The Hoyas have been awful this season. They have the 265th-ranked Adjusted Defensive Efficiency (via KenPom) and own zero wins over teams in the top 215 of the rankings. Whenever the Hoyas have faced a viable opponent, they have lost.

On the season, Georgetown is allowing opponents to shoot 35% from deep and 51% from 2-point range.

UConn is a prolific 3-point shooting team (over 37%) while hitting around 57% of its shots inside the arc. The Huskies also can get to the free-throw line when they hit a cold spell from deep.

These numbers do not bode well for the Hoyas.

In addition, Georgetown ranks 313th in preventing offensive boards. Meanwhile, UConn ranks 13th in offensive rebounding and sixth in defensive rebounds. The Huskies will win the glass battle by a margin of 10 or more, so Adama Sanogo should have a field day.

Defensively, the Huskies may foul often. This is where the Hoyas will probably manufacture points.

Otherwise, UConn can defend inside and out. The Hoyas do not launch many 3s, so they will look to get the ball inside, where 57.2% of their points have come from on the season.

UConn is holding opponents to 41% on 2s this season, so unless it fouls, Georgetown won’t score inside consistently enough.

The Huskies are not the tallest team, but they have length on the wing, which will provide an added bonus over the Hoyas.

Marquette vs. Providence

Tuesday, Dec. 20
7 p.m. ET
CBS Sports Network
Marquette +1.5

By Shane McNichol

This early-season Big East tilt will serve as a major measuring stick for these two teams.

Marquette enters with some momentum, winning six of its last seven games, including victories over Creighton, Notre Dame and Baylor.

The win over Baylor, a 26-point drubbing, was one of the most impressive performances nationwide this season and opened some eyes to the potential of these Golden Eagles.

Shaka Smart has built a roster on the development of returning young players, many of whom have shown strides beyond expectation this season.

Meanwhile, Providence hasn’t shown much of anything yet this year. The Friars are 9-3, with just one win over a top-200 opponent. KenPom ranks Providence’s non-conference schedule 348th in the nation. Yikes.

The Friars did open Big East play with a road win at Seton Hall, potentially showing they're ready for the rigors of conference play. I’m more skeptical, and I think that game said more about a struggling Seton Hall team than it did about Providence.

Marquette isn’t going to play every game like the win over Baylor, but if that’s the ceiling, this team should be able to take care of business in a road Big East game against a lesser team.

I think Smart and company answer the bell and win this one.

Alcorn State vs. Dayton

Tuesday, Dec. 20
7 p.m. ET
Dayton 1H -11.5

By Scott Schaeffer

Dayton is one of the many struggling A-10 teams looking to find some semblance of form before league play begins.

An optimist would point out that the league’s struggles provide an opportunity for Dayton to put a poor start behind it quickly.

A home game against Alcorn State is the Flyers’ last test before getting a full week off. A 12-0 team may consider a game against Alcorn State a sleepy spot, but 7-5 Dayton does not have that luxury.

The Flyers’ home crowd always provides energy, even this week when home crowds may be less impactful as students return home. Head coach Anthony Grant will be sure to emphasize the importance of coming out with energy and getting this one in hand early.

After getting a dose from a good Virginia Tech team, Dayton has responded impressively, winning its last two contests by 23 and 17, respectively. The key to both wins was a much improved defensive effort.

Finally, this is a nightmare travel spot for Alcorn. Like many SWAC teams, Alcorn has put itself through a hectic travel schedule in the non-conference portion of the season. The Braves had some spirited efforts early in the year with fresh legs.

Lately, their efforts indicate fatigue may be setting in.

After a 14-point loss at Seattle U on Sunday night, Alcorn is flying all the way to Dayton, Ohio to take on the Flyers before finally getting a little time off for Christmas. Giving 100% effort may be tough for Alcorn to muster in this one.

Take Dayton laying the points in the first half here with the motivation and energy levels heavily favoring the Flyers in this spot.

Pick: Dayton 1H -11.5 (Play to -12)

Virginia vs. Miami

Tuesday, Dec. 20
8:30 p.m. ET
ACC Network
Miami +4

By Cooper Van Tatenhove

Virginia travels to Miami coming off its first loss of the season Saturday against Houston.

The Cavaliers must now face an 11-1 Miami team that has a lot going for it to start the season.

The Hurricanes rank 12th nationally in Adjusted Offensive Efficiency behind the sensational play of point guard Isaiah Wong.

Wong’s play at both ends of the floor will be crucial against Virginia’s floor general Kihei Clark.

I love this matchup for Wong, who has one of the highest steal percentages in the country at 3.3%

Additionally, Virginia has done an incredible job at getting to the free-throw line this season, deriving 25.5% of its total points from the charity stripe, which is the ninth-highest rate in the country.

Miami will not allow the Cavaliers to supplement their offense from the charity stripe, as the Hurricanes have only allowed teams to score 16.1% of their points from the free-throw line (267th nationally).

Miami is a team that has proven it can compete with high-level opponents, especially on its home floor, where it’s a perfect 8-0 so far this season.

That being said, I will gladly take anything over three points in what will be another game that Virginia makes into a low-scoring slog.

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