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College Basketball Odds, Picks: Three Man Weave’s 3 Best Bets for Friday (Jan. 20)

College Basketball Odds, Picks: Three Man Weave’s 3 Best Bets for Friday (Jan. 20) article feature image
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Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images. Pictured: Jaelen House & Josiah Allick (New Mexico)

We’re gearing up for a massive Saturday slate that includes two all-ranked, must-watch Big 12 and Pac-12 matchups during the afternoon.

But before we reach Saturday, Ky McKeon of Three Man Weave has three best bets for Friday night.

So, dive in below and get our top college basketball odds and picks for Friday evening to formulate your betting card.


Three Man Weave’s Friday College Basketball Best Bets

The team logos in the table below represent each of the matchups that Ky is targeting from Friday’s slate of games. Click the team logos for one the matchups below to navigate to a specific bet discussed in this article.

Game
Time
Pick
7 p.m. ET
Marist -2.5
7 p.m. ET
VCU +1
11 p.m. ET
New Mexico -3
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.

St. Peter’s vs. Marist

Friday, Jan. 20
7 p.m. ET
ESPN3
Marist -2.5

By Ky McKeon

The MAAC is the weirdest conference in America and betting the league is generally not advised. Any team can beat the other on any given night, and all logic should be thrown out the window.

Tonight, though, there’s reason to like a side.

Marist has been playing its best basketball of the season recently and is currently riding a three-game conference win streak (both straight up and against the number).

Its opponent, Saint Peter’s, limps in with a league-worst record at 2-7 and a 1-4 mark against the spread over the past five games.

Marist’s weakness has been on the defensive end this season. The Red Foxes cannot guard their own shadows, but luckily that shouldn’t be an issue against the worst MAAC offense.

SPU scores via one avenue: the offensive glass. Take that away and the Peacocks are hopeless. For all of Marist’s flaws on the defensive end, it does have one area in which it shines: boxing out and gathering defensive boards.

Marist head coach John Dunne almost always out-performs his roster’s talent level, and his teams are usually very disciplined, which is key against an opponent that recklessly attacks the glass.

To boot, no doubt Dunne will look forward to trying to best his former program. Dunne coached Saint Peter’s for 12 seasons prior to taking the Marist gig.

Marist has a huge size advantage and the best player on the floor in Patrick Gardner, a versatile 6-foot-11 forward who can score inside, shoot from deep and distribute like a guard.

Saint Peter’s will have its hands full trying to defend Gardner in space or on the block. The Peacocks are among the worst post defenses in the country, and Gardner is a gifted passer, able to kick to open shooters when doubles come.

Scoring shouldn’t be a problem for the Red Foxes.

Finally, it’s been profitable to fade the Peacocks on the road this season. SPU is just 1-8 against the spread in true away games. For whatever reason, the wheels fall off when the Peacocks leave Jersey City.

Pick: Marist -2.5 (Play to -3)

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VCU vs. Richmond

Friday, Jan. 20
7 p.m. ET
ESPN2
VCU +1

By Ky McKeon

VCU was one of many A-10 squads with high expectations that struggled in the non-conference. The Rams, affected by key injuries, limped to a 5-4 start and carried losses to Temple and Jacksonville.

But since conference play has begun, VCU is back to its old self, looking fully capable of competing for the A-10 auto-bid and potentially an at-large bid.

The Rams have covered seven of their last eight contests and sit tied atop the A-10 standings at 5-1.

Tonight, they travel about five or six miles to rival Richmond, a dangerous squad that sits just one game back in the standings.

Recent history has shown a dead heat between the two from an ATS perspective. Over the past 10 meetings, each squad is 5-5 against the number. VCU holds a 6-4 straight up edge, and the home team in the series is 6-4 straight up and against the spread.

Richmond will be faced with the challenge of breaking VCU’s press, a press that grades out as one of the best in the country from a points per possession allowed standpoint. With their press, the Rams force turnovers 28% of the time, a sky-high number.

The Spiders have been solid at protecting the ball as a team, but their guards — especially freshman point guard Jason Nelson — can be susceptible to pressure.

VCU will look to get out in transition against Richmond, particularly off steals. While the Spiders generally eschew offensive rebounding in favor of sprinting back, they have only been an average open-floor defensive team this season.

Additionally, that lack of glass crash is key for a VCU team that grades out as the league’s second-worst defensive rebounding squad.

Look for VCU star point guard Ace Baldwin to find success off ball screens. Richmond ranks in the 22nd percentile at defending pick-and-roll ball handlers (Synergy), so the talented Baldwin should be able to slice-and-dice his way to the hole all night.

On the other end, VCU head coach Mike Rhoades has seen Richmond’s Princeton-esque attack before and knows how to defend it. Look for the Rams to stay disciplined in the half-court and not get beat on backdoor cuts.

We are riding the hot team in a short-travel rivalry spot.


Boise State vs. New Mexico

Friday, Jan. 20
11 p.m. ET
FS1
New Mexico -3

By Ky McKeon

New Mexico has been one of the biggest surprises of the season. The Lobos, ranked 138th to start the year, currently sit at No. 46 on KenPom, the program’s highest mark since 2014 when it last made the NCAA tournament.

A 17-2 overall record is nothing to sneeze at, and neither is an 11-6-1 ATS mark.

Boise has been no slouch itself, currently sitting at No. 24 on KenPom, the program’s highest ranking ever.

The Broncos are one of those strange teams that can lose to inferior competition (see South Dakota State and Charlotte in the non-conference) and blow out good teams (see Utah State and Texas A&M).

In league play, Boise has dominated both ends of the floor, leading the Mountain West in offensive and defensive efficiency.

So, Boise is a scary team to fade, but The Pit is a scary place to play. KenPom ranks New Mexico’s home court advantage as the seventh-best in the country.

ATS numbers back up this claim, as the Lobos boast an 8-3-1 record at home. Even in down years, New Mexico tends to hold serve at home. Despite a 13-19 season last year, UNM was 10-4-1 against the spread at The Pit.

New Mexico’s defense has been excellent in MWC play. Athleticism and speed can be found all over the Lobos’ roster.

Per Synergy, UNM ranks in the 82nd percentile defending ball screens, which is key against a Boise team that runs offense through its star point guard Marcus Shaver Jr. via that action.

The Lobos will need to get out on shooters, as the Broncos have hit a scorching 43% of their 3-point tries in league play.

Despite the fact that Boise has talented shooters, that number is likely due for regression, and The Pit environment seems like the perfect place for a road team to suddenly go ice cold.

On offense, UNM will rely on its terrific backcourt combo of Jamal Mashburn Jr. and Jaelen House. They thrive in the pick-and-roll and in isolation and can each create shots for themselves and others.

Boise is a tremendous defensive team, but no defense can fully shut down the dynamic duo.

Ultimately, this spread feels short. Boise is at its peak from an analytical ranking perspective, a ranking propped up by a handful of blowouts.

We’ve seen the Broncos go stagnant on the offensive end and turn in disappointing efforts. A sell-high strategy seems like a good one against a tough Lobos team and a massively strong home court.

New Mexico is certainly near its peak as well, but there’s a possibility the Lobos are the better team. After all, they took down Saint Mary’s and San Diego State on the road this season, two of the most impressive wins in the country.

We’re looking for a New Mexico win and cover in a hyped crowd environment with second-place in the Mountain West on the line.


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