College Basketball Odds & Picks: Three Man Weave’s 3 Best Bets for Friday
John McCreary/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Arkansas-Little Rock Trojans guard/forward Ben Coupet Jr. (0).
- Friday's college basketball slate may not rival Saturday's in terms of star power, but that doesn't mean it can't be just as profitable to bettors.
- Ky McKeon of Three Man Weave offers his top-3 college hoops best bets for Friday, Dec. 15, including why he's backing Western Kentucky in an all-important C-USA matchup against Marshall.
- Below, find Three Man Weave's comprehensive breakdown for each of their top-3 games to bet on Friday evening.
The Action Network has partnered with the guys at Three Man Weave to bring you college basketball best bets twice weekly. The trio of Matt Cox, Ky McKeon and Jim Root highlight the top-3 games they’re betting for the day’s college basketball slate.
Today’s best bets have been provided by Ky McKeon as of late Thursday night, beginning with Marshall (7-2) vs. Western Kentucky (9-4) in C-USA conference play. Also be on the lookout tomorrow for another best bets column by Three Man Weave for Saturday’s loaded college hoops slate.
College Basketball Odds & Picks
All listed odds have been updated as of Friday morning and via William Hill. Specific bet recommendations at the end of each matchup breakdown come from the sportsbook offering preferred odds as of writing on Thursday night.
Always shop for the best price using our NCAAB Odds page, which automatically surfaces the best lines for every game.
Marshall vs. Western Kentucky
Let’s get the bad out of the way.
Western Kentucky has been dumpster-fire awful as a favorite this season. The Hilltoppers are just 4-9 against the spread overall but are an even worse 2-7 as a favorite. Why is this?
Well, WKU isn’t exactly the most disciplined bunch. Head coach Rick Stansbury has proven to be an expert accumulator of talent but has yet to translate that talent into anything substantial on the hardwood. The hope is WKU will be highly engaged tonight when Marshall — a team that currently tops the Conference USA in KenPom’s rankings — comes to town.
RE: Western Kentucky’s talent — the ‘Toppers have it in spades.
Center Charles Bassey, who stands at 6-foot-11, was the sixth-best prospect in the class of 2018, per 247Sports and has flirted with bolting for the NBA Draft in each of his collegiate offseasons. Bassey averages 16.8 PPG and 11.8 RPG while ranking third in the country in defensive rebounding rate and 11th in block rate, and the Thundering Herd have absolutely no answer for him.
Marshall ranks 291st in the country in FGA allowed near the rim, per Hoop-Math; expect WKU to play through Bassey all game long, and expect Bassey to eat, eat, eat.
To counteract the Bassey advantage, Marshall is going to try to beat the Hilltoppers in transition, an area in which WKU has been less-than-stellar defending.
The good news for WKU backers is Marshall does most of its damage on the run off opponent scores and steals rather than off the glass. This is important because the primary area in which WKU has been beaten in transition this season has been off of opponent’s defensive rebounds — the Hilltoppers crash the glass offensively and this sometimes can lead to vulnerabilities going the other way.
So, we can expect Western Kentucky to rack up plenty of second-chance points (Marshall is not a good defensive rebounding team) while also not getting burned as a result of selling out for boards.
Tonight, you’d be betting on Western Kentucky, the preseason favorite in Conference USA, as a short favorite at home against a Marshall team that threatens its claim to the conference throne.
The Hilltoppers have a clear personnel advantage with Bassey. The same cannot be said about Marshall.
UAB vs. Charlotte
For those who hate the Virginia style of basketball and its pack-line defense and half-court focused offense, please continue to scroll down the page — this pick is not for you. For lovers of well-coached teams that compete and win tightly-matched contests, welcome. I have a bet for you.
Charlotte is coached by Ron Sanchez, a Dick Bennett / Tony Bennett disciple. He has built the 49er program back to Conference USA relevance on the principles that have made Virginia so successful. The 49ers aren’t sexy — they play at one of the nation’s slowest tempos — but they are a talented and disciplined team.
Earlier this year, Charlotte took down a very good Davidson squad on the road and recently upset league-favorite Western Kentucky in an overtime affair. On Friday, Charlotte catches a 9-1 UAB squad off to one of its best starts in program history.
UAB has amassed its impressive record by way of its stifling high-pressure defense. The Blazers rank 16th nationally in defensive turnover rate, and their pressure has forced teams to shoot just 24.1% from behind the arc (fifth-lowest in the country) and 43.6% from 2-point range (27th-lowest).
While this is certainly impressive, it’s also highly unsustainable. Those defensive field goal percentage numbers are guaranteed to start regressing to the mean, perhaps starting against a guard-dominant Charlotte squad tonight.
Even if the shooting regression doesn’t happen immediately, the Blazers will absolutely be less intimidating in this matchup than they have been. That’s because senior guard Quan Jackson, the national leader in steal rate, will still be on the shelf with a knee injury. Jackson missed UAB’s two-game series with Southern Miss and, uncoincidentally, the Blazers failed to cover either contest. Jackson matters, and his absence will be felt.
There’s plenty to love from an X’s and O’s perspective as well.
UAB scores by attacking the rim, particularly via pick-and-roll and post touches. Charlotte’s pack-line principles essentially disallows that action and will force the Blazers to be jump shooters — a scary thought for a UAB team ranked just 245th nationally in 3-point percentage.
Additionally, Charlotte is one of the very best in the country at limiting transition opportunities, a scoring avenue the Blazers look to exploit, particularly off steals. With no Jackson forcing turnovers and a 49er squad laser-focused on getting back on defense after a shot, UAB promises to be severely limited offensively. Charlotte opened as a dog on Thursday but very well might be a favorite as game-time nears. But fear not — the 49ers are still a solid bet even as a short favorite.
Texas State vs. Little Rock
When head coach Danny Kaspar left the Texas State basketball program, he pulled a “Fat Bastard” from the critically-acclaimed “Austin Powers in Goldmember” and took with him the Bobcats’ mojo. Despite having one of the oldest teams in the country this season and a roster that ranks 38th in KenPom’s minutes continuity rankings, the Bobcats have flat-out struggled to win.
If you’ve been rolling with Operation Fade Texas State in the early going, you are a sterling 7-2 against the number.
On Friday, Texas State runs into a Little Rock squad picked by many to win the Sun Belt. The Trojans have had their fair share of struggles as well, namely an apparent locker room issue with star point guard Markquis Nowell.
Head coach Darrell Walker benched Nowell for two games, his way of showing that no player is greater than the team. Nowell returned for Little Rock’s series with Louisiana, and while he struggled in the first matchup, he poured in 15 points in 26 minutes in the second. All signs point to him being back in Walker’s good graces.
Matchup-wise, us Trojan backers need to be wary of the turnover issues Little Rock has suffered through the first month-plus of the season. The Trojans cough up the rock at one of the highest rates in the country, a concerning statistic when going against a Texas State squad that ranks 15th nationally in forcing turnovers.
However, despite the ball security concerns, Little Rock should be able to out-class the Bobcats and pull out a cover.
The offensive glass and the paint will be owned by Sun Belt Preseason Player of the Year Ruot Monyyong, and the Trojans should live at the free-throw line. On the other end of the floor, Little Rock has little to worry about from the 199th-ranked offensive squad in the land (per KenPom) — the Bobcats have plenty of ball security issues of their own, they can’t score inside the arc, and are shooting way above their ability from deep thus far.
Little Rock asserts its dominance in a relaxing home cover.