College Basketball Odds, Picks: Three Man Weave’s 3 Best Bets for Monday (Jan. 23)
Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images. Pictured: Bill Self (Kansas)
As is typically the case on Mondays, there’s a rather thin college basketball slate.
But that doesn’t mean there’s not betting value.
Dive in below to get the top college basketball odds and picks for Monday night.
Monday’s Three Man Weave College Basketball Best Bets
The team logos in the table below represent each of the matchups that Jim is targeting from Monday’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.|
Wisconsin vs. Northwestern
By Jim Root
COVID-19 rescheduling has — thankfully — mostly become a thing of the past. For Northwestern, though, the global pandemic reared its ugly head last week, forcing the postponement of two league games.
Now closer to full health, the Wildcats embark on a challenging stretch of six games in 14 days that could make or break their NCAA tournament hopes.
Both Wisconsin and Northwestern are among the middling Big Ten tier. KenPom currently projects eight (!) different Big Ten squads to go 10-10 in the league, including both the Badgers and the Wildcats.
The parity in the league between Purdue and Minnesota is remarkable.
That may not be entirely fair to Wisconsin, though. The Badgers are a significantly better team with Tyler Wahl on the floor by every measure. They went 0-3 in the games he missed with an ankle injury.
Add in the Minnesota game, in which he got hurt during the first half, and Wisconsin was 0-4 against the spread without him.
Wisconsin is 14 points better per 100 possessions when Wahl plays (adjusted for competition), according to Hoop-Explorer.com.
Now he’s back and nearing 100% health.
Northwestern is no slouch, of course. Its defense is fantastic, spearheaded by Matthew Nicholson, who has emerged into a dominant presence in the paint.
Though the Wildcats have lost their last two games, they have somewhat avoided the massive January struggles that have plagued them in the past.
However, practicing has likely been a challenge over the past week given the way COVID-19 hit the roster, as they were reportedly down to six healthy players at one point.
Ultimately, though, this comes down to my perception that Wisconsin is clearly the better team. I make the Badgers a slight favorite here, so I’m happy to get a possession’s worth of points — particularly in a game with a low total of 121.
What is QuickSlip?
QuickSlip is an Action Network feature that allows users to automatically pre-load their bet slip at FanDuel Sportsbook.
Penn vs. Hartford
By Jim Root
Handicapping Hartford games at this point in the season is a challenging task.
Without a conference affiliation (and thus no conference tournament), the Hawks have no postseason hopes. Does that mean the regular season means more to them? Or will their dire season — 1-15 against Division I competition — lead to some disinterest down the stretch?
Of course, the reverse is also true.
Penn needs to finish in the top half of the Ivy League to qualify for the conference tournament. Now, the Quakers are 15-point favorites against a non-Ivy foe on a Monday. How much will they care?
Because of that motivation conundrum, I’m staying away from a side. Instead, the under is appealing.
Both teams play slowly on offense, and the lack of urgency in this game may dictate an even slower pace than anticipated. KenPom projects this at 66 possessions; I would not be surprised to see 63 or 64 as the final tally.
Next, and perhaps most importantly, Penn is notorious for sitting players in almost every game. That especially might apply to star guard Jordan Dingle in this one.
The prolific scorer has been banged up lately, and in a game with nothing on the line, Steve Donahue may opt to let Dingle rest. Without their most important offensive weapon, the Quakers may not fully torch a dismal Hartford defense.
Hartford also has player availability questions. Primary big man Jared Kimbrough has missed the last three games after getting hurt on Jan. 7. He’s Hartford’s only true interior threat, making the Hawks extraordinarily reliant on jump shots when he’s out.
If Hartford’s sieve-like defense gives Penn a layup line, then the under could be in trouble. But the lack of incentive to play an up-tempo game — plus a potential Dingle absence — is enough to make me back the under.
Kansas vs. Baylor
By Jim Root
The end of Monday Night Football means Big Monday on ESPN has finally arrived! The Big 12 gauntlet continues for two of the preseason league favorites.
These two rosters contrast each other in key ways, potentially leading to matchup advantages.
Kansas has tall wings in Gradey Dick, Kevin McCullar Jr. and Jalen Wilson.
Meanwhile, Baylor goes smaller and quicker at the guard spots, so two of Adam Flagler, LJ Cryer and Keyonte George will be tasked with guarding a much bigger foe.
Baylor boss Scott Drew likely throws Jalen Bridges at Wilson, a sure-fire All-American. That means Dick and McCullar will have clear size advantages, and Bill Self is as sharp as any coach in the country at scheming ways to feast on edges like that.
On the other end, McCullar is a tremendous defender. He will be unfazed by guarding a smaller foe.
Dick could have issues with the Bears’ quickness, but big man KJ Adams Jr. is a brilliant help defender. KU can comfortably switch one through five, potentially thwarting Baylor’s ball-screen attack.
From a spot perspective, this tilts toward Kansas, as well. The Jayhawks have lost two games in a row, including a 23-point demolition at home at the hands of TCU.
Meanwhile, Baylor has ripped off four straight wins after starting league play 0-3. Kansas has lost three straight games just three times in Self’s 20-year tenure
Additionally, this has been an advantageous matchup and situation for Self’s Jayhawks. As Drew has built up the Baylor program, the Bears have been favored over Kansas seven times. KU is 5-2 straight up and 6-1 against the spread in those contests.
I’m still buying both teams long-term. However, the matchup, spot and historical indicators point toward Kansas tonight.