College Basketball Odds, Picks, Predictions, Preview: Three Man Weave’s Best Bets for Wright State, Arizona Games
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- Wright State takes on Marshall on Friday, while Arizona hosts UT Rio Grande Valley.
- In addition to those two games, Arkansas-Pine Bluff takes on a banged-up Colorado State team on the road.
- Matt Cox offers up his top selection for all three of these games.
While the top-five battle between Villanova and UCLA is sure to take center stage on Friday evening, there are other potential games to make cash on.
We’re keeping our eye on three matchups beyond that duel on the West Coast, as Wright State vs. Marshall, UT Rio Grande Valley vs. Arizona and Arkansas-Pine Bluff vs. Colorado State all offer some potential value.
With that in mind, here’s our three best bets for the night of hoops.
Friday’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.|
Wright State vs. Marshall
By Matt Cox
This non-conference tilt features two squads at the top of their respective league totem poles; Wright State in the Horizon and Marshall in the Conference USA.
These two did battle last year and Marshall slaughtered the Raiders in their own building, an eye-opening result at the time. It’s not often an opponent waltzes into the Nutter Center and takes down Wright State in convincing fashion.
That revenge angle is just one component of this handicap. Wright State also appears undervalued this year, a recurring theme for head coach Scott Nagy and his well-oiled Raider machine.
KenPom, along with the other reputable analytic sites, project Wright State to take a tiny step back from last season. The Raiders are hovering around the fringe top-100 mark in the overall rankings, a tick below the top-75 clip they finished at last year.
However, there’s real evidence to suggest this team isn’t going anywhere.
The notable factor is the loss of Loudon Love, an imposing physical post presence and productive rebounder. His absence is surely reflected in Wright State’s preseason projections, but those calculations fail to account for Love’s value on the offensive end.
According to hooplens.com, Wright State was more efficient on the offensive side of the ball with Love off the court, compared to when he played.
Part of this was attributable to the rise of Grant Basile, Love’s former paint partner, who exploded on the scene down the stretch. Basile is a hyper-skilled big man and subtly became Wright State’s go-to-guy late in the year last season.
This isn’t news to Nagy, either. As Nagy told the Dayton Daily News, he too, expects the Raiders to keep chugging along without Love:
“I think offensively we could do that again because we know our points per possession were actually better without Loudon than with him (on the floor). The main question for me is, can we be the same team defensively? The answer is, yes, we can.”
Given the rest of Nagy’s roster is a carbon copy of last year, it all comes down to Love’s impact. Basile, along with a stable of viable reserves, are formidable enough to replace Love’s brawny shoulders up front.
Under Nagy, the Raiders are always greater than the sum of their parts, as we’ve seen WSU reload on an annual basis without skipping a beat.
In short, Nagy is one of the sharpest mid-major coaching minds around. Since arriving at Wright State in 2016, Nagy’s outpaced the betting market expectations nearly every season. In fact, the Raiders are 31-20 against the spread in non-conference tilts since 2017.
This is proof of Nagy’s uncanny ability to extract more out of his roster than what meets the eye.
Pick: Wright State +2 (Play to +1)
UTRGV vs. Arizona
By Matt Cox
It’s been an Under bettor’s paradise to start the young college basketball season. Points are currently at a premium, helping Unders hit at a blistering 58% clip over the first two days of the year.
Swimming against that current may seem ominous but this matchup is an outlier.
The desert is a proper setting for what should be an up-and-down scorcher between Arizona and UT Rio Grande Valley, two teams unveiling fundamentally different schemes under two first-year head coaches.
Tommy Lloyd (Arizona) and Matt Figger (UT Rio Grande Valley) both want to take off the restrictor plates and gallop in the open floor.
The Lloyd-coached Wildcats — tonight’s heavy favorite — were dominant in their season-opening victory over Northern Arizona on Tuesday.
Arizona hung 81 points on the visiting Lumberjacks, who did their best to deflate the pace and slow down the Wildcats’ electric offense. NAU managed to keep the pace down to a meager 70 possessions despite the Wildcats averaging a lightning quick 13.5 seconds per offensive possession.
Tonight, Arizona’s thirst to run won’t be slowed by UT Rio Grande Valley. Under Figger, the Vaqueros will not be as tedious as Northern Arizona was in managing tempo.
Figger deployed a four-guard, modern-style offense his last two seasons at Austin Peay and inherited a highly similar roster here at UTRGV. The Vaqueros lack an established low-post presence, at least in the conventional sense, which offers two sources of betting value.
Defensively, this leaves UTRGV vulnerable to an Arizona assault in the middle (where the Wildcats are loaded this season). Offensively, it also entices the Vaqueros to play with the same freedom of movement we’ve seen Figger embrace the last two seasons at Peay.
This, in turn, should juice the pace higher.
This matchup is a prime opportunity to zag against the market current.
Pick: Over 140 (Play to 142)
UAPB vs. Colorado State
By Matt Cox
I initially advised you to fade the SWAC. Oh, how quickly the tables have turned.
The SWAC and MEAC have been out for blood, stunning unsuspecting power conference opponents left and right over the first three days. Outright wins have been few and far between, but the HBCU brethren have had the big boys shaking in their boots.
After the first two days of the season, the SWAC and MEAC were a combined 16-5 against the spread.
Furthermore, they’ve been even stronger in game two, often a treacherous spot for large underdogs and, thus, a ripe opportunity for a fade.
The SWAC and MEAC are bucking that trend, too. On Wednesday, all five teams playing back-to-backs covered the spread.
Could Arkansas-Pine Bluff, which shellshocked Creighton in Omaha on Tuesday, fall into a similar pattern? It’s early, but it looks like first-year head coach Solomon Bozeman may have stumbled into a few undervalued and under-appreciated transfers this offseason.
One such example is APB’s starting point guard, Shawn Williams. Williams was once a high-major talent but injuries and role inconsistency let him slip through cracks and fall into Bozeman’s lap.
Based on the lofty spread, the market still sees what I did preseason — a talent depleted roster embracing a long-term rebuilding project. To be clear, this is still a bottom-half SWAC team. The spread should be high. It just shouldn’t be this high.
Colorado State just blew the doors off of Oral Roberts in its debut, but it didn’t come away completely unscathed. Two key injuries emerged, David Roddy and Kendle Moore, arguably two of the Rams’ three most valuable players.
Tonight, they could be without both, as Niko Medved has no incentive to push either to the limit.
One final dynamic to note — which may or may not play a factor tonight.
Oral Roberts is coached by Bozeman’s former boss Paul Mills, who just got an up close look at the Rams. Perhaps Mills can throw his former protege a bone and serve the Lions insider information on the Colorado State scouting report.