College Basketball Odds, Picks & Predictions: Three Man Weave’s Best Bets for Thursday
Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images. Pictured: Greg McDermott (Creighton)
Let’s get into it below.
Thursday’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.|
North Dakota State vs. Kansas
By Ky McKeon
It’s always a scary proposition fading the big, bad Kansas Jayhawks in Allen Fieldhouse, one of the best venues in all of sports.
But tonight’s matchup against North Dakota State might not be the cakewalk KU fans expect.
For starters, Bill Self won’t be on the sidelines for this one, as he enters game two of his four-game suspension. He’s arguably the best coach in the country, so his absence will be felt.
In game one, Kansas blew by an inferior Omaha squad, but guess what? The Jayhawks didn’t cover. Omaha stayed within the number the entire game and covered by a whopping eight points.
NDSU is a perennial contender in the Summit, and though it lost significant personnel from last season, it should be right near the top of the standings once again.
The Bison acquitted themselves nicely by staying inside the number against a very tough and athletic Arkansas team despite a high possession count.
Tonight’s game will play slower, and NDSU has a frontcourt tandem in Andrew Morgan and Grant Nelson that can hold its own against the Jayhawks’ frontline.
The perimeter mismatch is substantial and a concern for Bison backers. There’s no answer for KU’s Kevin McCullar Jr. or Gradey Dick, and their size — plus Dajuan Harris Jr.’s quickness — will cause issues for NDSU’s ball handlers and shooters.
But this was also a concern heading into the Arkansas game.
NDSU plays tough, physical defense and will make it a chore for Kansas to score inside the paint and grab second chances off the glass. Arkansas managed to convert just 51.1% of its chances inside the arc on Monday and grabbed just six offensive rebounds all game.
The Bison aren’t afraid to muck it up against a superior team.
Finally, it’s worth noting some history. These two teams matched up at Allen Fieldhouse back in December 2020, a season in which Kansas earned a 3-seed in the NCAA tournament.
NDSU — unintimidated — led by three with just under four minutes to play in the game and fell just four points short of a major upset.
While we shouldn’t expect such a close game tonight, 20-plus points is a lot to give to a tough Bison team led by a veteran frontline.
Cleveland State vs. Cincinnati
By Ky McKeon
Before diving into this matchup, let me make one thing known: I am aware Cleveland State lost to a non-D-I team on Monday night.
It was a poor showing for first-year head coach Daniyal Robinson. But one-game sample sizes are never enough to get the full context of a team, especially one with so many new faces.
Kansas City also lost to a non-D-I team that night and covered easily against LSU, a squad it had no business competing with.
CSU faces a tough test tonight in Cincinnati, a program back on the rise under second-year head coach Wes Miller, the guru who built UNC Greensboro into a SoCon contender.
Cincy struggled last season in Miller’s first campaign, but every sign points to a major improvement in 2022-23. Four starters are back and Miller added three impact transfers in Landers Nolley II (Memphis), Kalu Ezikpe (Old Dominion) and Rob Phinisee (Indiana).
This team is deep and talented.
Cleveland State is talented, too. Despite losing its three best players from last season, there’s enough on this roster to make things interesting in Horizon play.
Two starters return and Robinson added former top-70 recruit Tristan Enaruna (formerly of Kansas and Iowa State), an athletic freak in Tae Williams (JUCO) and a former D-I baller in Drew Lowder, who poured in 27 points per game in the JUCO ranks last year.
So, the Vikings have the talent to put enough points on the board, and they also should be athletic enough to keep Cincy’s scoring reasonable. Coach Robinson was an assistant at Iowa State, Loyola Chicago and Houston, so he knows a thing or two about the defensive end.
With a starting frontcourt that goes 6-foot-9, 6-foot-8, 6-foot-7, Cincy won’t find it easy to score inside the arc.
Expect a competitive game out of CSU, a bounce back of sorts from its embarrassing defeat to Notre Dame College (OH).
North Dakota vs. Creighton
By Ky McKeon
There was a politician back in 2005 named Jimmy McMillan who started a party known as the “Rent Is Too Damn High Party.” His message: the rents in New York City are too damn high.
In a similar spirit, tonight’s 30-plus point spread is just too damn high.
Everyone loves Creighton this season, and many believe the Jays are capable of making a Final Four. But until we see consistent scoring from Greg McDermott’s relatively young group, the Bluejays shouldn’t be favored by 30 against anyone.
Creighton was favored by 28 points against St. Thomas on Monday, a team it should have overwhelmed in every facet. The Tommies stuck with the Jays the entire way and covered the spread with ease.
North Dakota isn’t too far from St. Thomas from a talent perspective.
Three starters are back from last year’s disaster campaign, plus the Fighting Hawks get Mitchell Sueker back from injury. Sueker was arguably UND’s best player before going down with an injury last season. His absence — in addition to a myriad of other roster injuries — kept the Hawks from being competitive.
With talented freshmen BJ Omot and Elijah Brooks ready to make meaningful impacts, North Dakota should be a much improved team.
UND’s weak spot is in the middle. There’s no denying the relative softness of the Hawks’ frontline, which will be an issue against Ryan Kalkbrenner and Arthur Kaluma.
But this was also a massive concern for St. Thomas, which still competed despite allowing plenty of rim attempts and second chances.
Creighton’s current group just hasn’t shown an ability to dominate on offense. Last year was McDermott’s worst offensive team in his 12 seasons at the program — the Jays ranked just 112th nationally in Adjusted Offensive Efficiency, per KenPom.
On Monday, Creighton scored just 1.07 points per possession against a team that ranked second-to-last nationally on the defensive end. That suggests the offensive struggles of 2021-22 have yet to be ironed out.
Creighton’s defense is excellent, and there’s little reason to expect North Dakota to put up many points. But in a relatively low-possession game where Creighton can’t dominate on the offensive end, 30 points is just a huge margin to overcome.