College Basketball Odds, Picks: Our Staff’s 5 Best Bets for Tuesday’s Slate (Dec. 27)
Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images. Pictured: Tyrese Samuel (Seton Hall)
After a blank slate on Monday, college basketball is back on Tuesday with seven games, including a Big East battle in Milwaukee.
Our staff is diving into the schedule with five best bets, so jump in below and formulate your Tuesday betting card with our top college basketball odds and picks.
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.
|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.|
Northwestern State vs. Texas A&M
While the Demons may rank 266th (KenPom), I don’t think this will be as easy of a win for the Aggies as many expect.
Northwestern State not only takes a lot of 3-pointers, it makes most of them. The Demons are averaging 8.7 made 3-pointers per game and are hitting 35% from beyond the arc.
That could pose a serious issue for Texas A&M, which is allowing teams to hit 36.2% from deep (ranks outside the top 250).
That won’t be the only issue for the Aggies, either. Texas A&M has benefited greatly from opponents’ turnovers, averaging 20 points per game off of giveaways. Northwestern State, however, averages just 11.3 turnovers per game.
While neither team has been much of a threat when it comes to offensive rebounds, Northwestern State has been significantly better in regards to making the most of them.
The Demons average 14.2 second-chance points per game on the season and have been even better of late, averaging 17.6 in their last five.
Texas A&M, meanwhile, averages just 11.6 second-chance points per contest.
Texas A&M will have the upper hand when it comes to scoring off the bench, but with how even these teams are in terms of drawing and giving fouls, I don’t see it being as big of a factor in this game.
The Demons’ defense is bad — there’s no denying it — but they’ve been decent when it comes to defending the perimeter. Also, their height advantage could help them when it comes to defending Texas A&M around the rim.
Northwestern State has been a double-digit underdog four times this season, and its covered each time. Pulling off the upset over A&M wouldn’t even be its most impressive win to date, as it beat TCU outright earlier this year.
The Demons are 9-2 ATS overall on the season and they’re a more impressive 6-2 ATS on the road. I’ll be backing them to keep it close as a double-digit underdog once again.
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Jacksonville vs. Notre Dame
Both teams will be looking to get back into the saddle after an extended break for the holidays.
Notre Dame features one of the best offenses in the nation, ranking 33rd in KenPom’s Adjusted Offensive Efficiency. The Fighting Irish create excellent efficiency by being diligent with the ball, ranking seventh in the nation in turnover percentage.
Where Notre Dame has struggled has been on the defensive side of the ball. The Irish rank just 244th in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency (per KenPom) and 283rd in the same metric on Bart Torvik.
The stark contrast relative to their offensive prowess is driven by their inability to force turnovers on defense. Currently, Notre Dame ranks dead last in Division I defensive turnover rate, per Bart Torvik.
The lack of a formidable defense on the Notre Dame side should be a boon for a Jacksonville team that has the capability to put up points. The Dolphins aren’t necessarily a powerhouse offense, but they are competent, ranking 161st in AdjO, per KenPom.
The differentiator for this total bet will come down to both teams’ performance from beyond the arc. Notre Dame and Jacksonville rank 18th and 123rd in the nation in 3-point field goal percentage, respectively.
Look for the 3-ball to take this game over the total.
My model is projecting the total at 137.5 points in this contest. The current total presents a strong value at 129.5, and I would recommend playing this total back to the opening line of 130.5.
The Jacksonville Dolphins travel to South Bend to take on Notre Dame in what will be their fifth game against a team ranked inside the top 130.
Given the number of games they’ve played against high-level competition, the Dolphins rank 32nd nationally in strength of schedule, according to KenPom.
The Dolphins combine this with a roster that consists of experienced returnees from a season ago. Jacksonville ranks 39th nationally in D-I experience (2.74 years) and 81st in minutes continuity (54.0%).
All of this is to say that the Dolphins — who finished with a 21-10 record in 2021 — have the experience necessary to keep pace with Notre Dame on the road.
In addition to their experience, there’s a lot to like in this matchup for Jacksonville, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. The Dolphins have excelled this season at limiting teams’ success from 3-point range, an area that Notre Dame has relied on.
Through 12 games, the Irish have shot 39.2% from 3-point range, which has resulted in them scoring 37.4% of their total points from distance (38th nationally).
In this matchup with Jacksonville, Notre Dame will not be given open looks from beyond the arc. The Dolphins have limited their opponents to just 28.9% shooting from distance (35th nationally).
Lastly, Jacksonville’s offense has been slowed by its inability to take care of the basketball, turning the ball over on 21.3% of its possessions. This will be less of an issue against a Notre Dame defense that has struggled to create pressure all season.
Look for an experienced Jacksonville team to keep pace with the Irish in a slow, low-scoring matchup.
Seton Hall vs. Marquette
Rarely will I pass on Shaheen Holloway in an important Big East matchup as a heavy underdog. I didn’t last week against Xavier, and I’ll go back to the well here against No. 24 Marquette.
This is the perfect spot to back the Pirates. This defense is disruptive and often keeps them within striking distance. The offense is a mess — 258th in eFG%, 329th in TO% — but the Pirates have a height advantage against Marquette that shouldn’t be understated.
The Golden Eagles are the No. 4 team in the country in 2-point offense, but don’t rebound well and are about average at shooting the 3 ball. Attacking the interior shouldn’t come easy against Holloway’s Pirates, who rank 52nd in average height and 61st in 2-point defense.
KC Ndefo ranks 33rd in block rate and 6-foot-10 Tyrese Samuel has been a solid rim protector and rebounder. The two should battle with Oso Ighodaro and Olivier-Maxence Prosper inside, and I would even give the edge to the Seton Hall frontcourt here on both sides of the floor.
The Pirates rank 15th in 3-point defense and 60th in turnover rate. This is a team that’s only real weakness on the defensive end has been fouls — 22.1% of all points allowed come from the charity stripe. As long as they stay disciplined, Marquette should run into issues on the offensive end.
Holloway is going to have the Pirates ready on the road. When underdogs of 1.5 or more, Seton Hall is 3-1 ATS.
This is a veteran-savvy, deep squad — 25th in experience, 30th in bench minutes — and I expect enough defensive disruption and transition offense to keep the Pirates within striking distance throughout.
It all comes down to the Seton Hall offense, which has been a struggle all season long. But Marquette’s defense is nothing to write home about. It’s 211th in offensive rebounding rate, 181st in 3-point defense and 140th in 2-point defense.
Shaka Smart has taken an inexperienced Golden Eagles squad and has done great thus far this season. But I believe they’re a bit overvalued at home here.
Seton Hall +7.5
I want to echo most of what Charlie said about this game above, but I want to add something.
Seton Hall can’t score and will play devastating defense, leading to a low-scoring rock fight — picture Hall’s 45-43 win over Rutgers.
That will put a premium on points, making every point on the spread worth much more than usual.
And you’re fading a guy who despises giving points. Shaka is sharp as an underdog — covering around 60% when catching points — but he’s square as a favorite.
If you need more convincing, the underdog has covered five straight during this head-to-head matchup.
Not only is this a good basketball matchup for Hall (as Charlie explained), but this is also a great situational spot (as I explained).
Take the points.