College Basketball Odds, Picks, Predictions: Penn State-Maryland, Arizona State-UCLA, More Bets For Monday

College Basketball Odds, Picks, Predictions: Penn State-Maryland, Arizona State-UCLA, More Bets For Monday article feature image

Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: DJ Horne.

  • The Presidents' Day college basketball board is a good one that features plenty of highly-ranked teams and mid-major action.
  • Jim Root of Three Man Weave broke down three games, including Penn State vs. Maryland and Arizona State vs. UCLA.
  • Check out all three of his top college basketball betting picks for Monday below.

College basketball fans and bettors don't dread Mondays. That's because there's plenty of action every single week, and the hoops slate on this particular Monday features solid games across the board.

There are a number of highly-ranked teams set to compete tonight, including Baylor and UCLA, plus some fierce mid-major squads.

Jim Root of Three Man Weave has some of both covered in his best bets for today's slate.

His action starts in College Park for a matchup between Maryland and Penn State before going to the Midwest for a battle between Eastern Illinois and SIU Edwardsville. Then, to close it out, he'll head to Westwood for a revenge game featuring UCLA and Arizona State.

Be sure to check out all three of Three Man Weave's best bets below.

Monday 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 of the matchups below to navigate to a specific bet discussed in this article.

7 p.m. ET
Under 129.5
8 p.m. ET
Eastern Illinois +9.5
9 p.m. ET
Arizona State +14.5
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.

Penn State vs. Maryland

Monday, Feb. 21
7 p.m. ET
Under 129.5

By Jim Root

Penn State is one of the slowest teams in the entire country, ranking 351st nationally in pace. Four of the Nittany Lions’ past five games have had between 57 and 62 possessions.

Unsurprisingly, four of Penn State’s last five games have also gone under the projected total. Clearly, Micah Shrewsberry and his team want to choke the life out of the game.

Maryland’s offense will not be looking to push the pace on most occasions, either. The Terrapins rank 256th in the country in average possession length, indicating their own propensity to drain the shot clock.

Coupled with Penn State’s preference to play in the half-court, expect a game with long possessions — ideal for the under.

Additionally, neither team uses a deep rotation. Per KenPom, the two teams rank 309th and 312th in bench minutes, emphasizing just how thin these squads are. Without much depth on either side, the already-discussed pace ramifications should be exacerbated.

From a matchup lens, two key points also point toward the under. Most importantly, Maryland prefers to score inside and via the free throw line. Penn State, however, is an elite rim defense and rarely fouls, cutting off the Terrapins’ key routes to points.

On the other end, Penn State is one of the most pick-and-roll reliant offenses in the country. Maryland has the defenders to corral that attack, and it can go smaller and switch everything with Julian Reese at center.

It’s never fun to hope for an ugly game, but these two teams are certainly capable of playing one. I like this under down to 127.

Pick: Under 129.5 (Play to 127)

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Eastern Illinois vs. SIUE

Monday, Feb. 21
8 p.m. ET
Eastern Illinois +9.5

By Jim Root

I am racing to type up this preview because the longer it takes, the more value I lose here. The market is all over the EIU Panthers, betting this down from 11.5 to 9.5 before the clock hit midnight on the East Coast.

Why? Aren’t the Panthers — the 5-23 EIU Panthers — terrible?

Well, yes. However, they have not been as bad lately. They have covered six of their last nine games, even winning three outright, and Marty Simmons’ system seems to have taken hold.

Against SIU Edwardsville, EIU can battle.

The host Cougars are short-handed without star guard Ray’Sean Taylor, who is out for the season with a knee injury. This is already not a powerhouse, and removing Taylor makes SIUE another run-of-the-mill OVC squad. The Cougars have not won a game by double digits since Jan. 13, when they won by 13 against… Eastern Illinois!

Taylor put up only eight points and six rebounds in that meeting, but his presence is clearly crucial for SIUE. The Cougars have a net rating of -7.6 when Taylor is on the court, per Hoop-Explorer. When he’s not, that drops to -13.4. That’s a stark gap.

Another important personnel point: Kashawn Charles did not play for EIU in the first meeting. Charles has really emerged recently for EIU, averaging 13.2 PPG over the last five contests. With Charles back in and Taylor out, the edge tilts toward the Panthers and their ability to keep this game within single digits.

Clearly, the market agrees, so try to get the best number you can here.

Pick: Eastern Illinois +9.5 (Play to +9)

Arizona State vs. UCLA

Monday, Feb. 21
9 p.m. ET
Arizona State +14.5

By Jim Root

Don’t look now, but Arizona State is actually playing some quality basketball lately.

To start the year, the Sun Devils struggled against a rigorous nonconference schedule. Then, injuries swallowed the roster whole from mid-December through most of January. From Dec. 14 to Jan. 24, ASU played seven games and used six different starting lineups as Bobby Hurley tried to make things work.

Now, ASU has used the same starting lineup and rotation for eight straight games, and the results are telling. In that span, the Sun Devils are 6-1-1 against the spread with an average cover margin of +7.0 points per game.

That stretch includes a triple-overtime victory over UCLA in Tempe. Marreon Jackson went for 24 points, four rebounds, three assists and three steals in that one, and his improved play has been vital. Over the last six games, Jackson is averaging 16.2 PPG, 3.8 RPG, and 4.8 APG.

Also notable from that first meeting: ASU held UCLA to just 43% shooting inside the arc. Jalen Graham, Alonzo Gaffney, and Enoch Boakye have combined to give the Sun Devils a fierce interior defense.

UCLA is a team that makes tough shots, but the Bruins will need to be in peak form to score consistently against the Sun Devils.

One of those tough shot-makers is Johnny Juzang, who could miss a second straight contest after getting hurt while falling off a scooter (you cannot make this stuff up). I expect him to return, but if he sits, that would be gravy for this bet.

With the matchup edges displayed in that first meeting as well as Jackson’s emergence into a star, ASU can compete with UCLA once again.

The number has crept down slightly already from the opener of +15.5, but I still like it down to +13.

Pick: Arizona State +14.5 (Play to +13)

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