College Basketball Best Bets: The Action Network’s & Three Man Weave’s Top 6 Picks for Friday (Jan. 29)
Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: North Dakota State Bison guard Tyree Eady.
- Jump-start your weekend with a Friday college basketball six pack of picks from The Action Network & Three Man Weave.
- Iowa vs. Illinois may be Friday's headline matchup, but our experts have identified prime betting value elsewhere down the oddsboard.
- Below, find breakdowns for each of their six best bets via The Action Network Colleges Podcast.
Collin Wilson, Mike Randle & Stuckey join forces with Jim Root, Ky McKeon & Matt Cox of Three Man Weave to deliver their College Basketball Six Pack of Picks via The Action Network Colleges Podcast every Friday.
The big ticket game on Friday night’s college basketball slate is undoubtedly No. 7 Iowa vs. No. 19 Illinois in Champaign.
Nonetheless, our experts — coming off of a combined 5-1 showing in last week’s College Basketball Six Pack — highlight six other games that deserve bettors’ attention this evening.
They broke down each of their favorite bets on The Action Network Podcast.
Texas State vs. Louisiana | 5 p.m. ET
In Texas State’s first home game since December 15th, I’m backing the red-hot Bobcats who are on a five-game winning streak. Texas State has the best defense in the Sun Belt and best effective field goal percentage on offense. Ball security is a big issue, though, as the Bobcats are dead last in the conference. But that’s not Louisiana’s game.
This is a really bad spot for ULL because the Ragin’ Cajuns can’t expose Texas State in their worst aspect. The Bobcats are the best shooting team in the Sun Belt and it’s the first time they’ve seen their own rims in six weeks. The number is currently at four. I would suggest getting that and probably not going any higher, but I’m taking Texas State here.
Pick: Texas State -4
Presbyterian vs. Longwood | 6 p.m. ET
by Mike Randle
I’m heading out to the Big South Conference. I’ve seen Presbyterian twice and I’ve liked what I’ve seen. They played tough against Winthrop and won on the road by 15 against High Point on Monday. Presbyterian gets after you on defense and constantly forces turnovers, ranking 28th in the nation in defensive turnover percentage, per KenPom. The Blue Hose also sit top three in the Big South in offensive rebounding and face a Longwood team that hasn’t played in over a week.
All of Longwood’s wins in the Big South have come at home and they currently sit at 4-8. They were swept by Winthrop – no shame there – but also by UNC Upstate. Tons of shame there. Longwood does defend the 3 ball well, but Presbyterian doesn’t rely on the long ball for points. Just 27 percent of their total points come from beyond the arc, 271st in the country.
KenPom has Longwood favored by four points. I’m taking the points with Presbyterian at home, who I think is the better team here. The big key for me is Winston Hill, who in six games since being eligible, is Presbyterian’s leading scorer at 14.7 points per game.
Pick: Presbyterian +2.5
Saint Louis vs. Richmond | 6:30 p.m. ET
Editors Note: Saint Louis vs. Richmond has been postponed due to issues related to COVID-19:
The Saint Louis at Richmond men’s basketball game scheduled for Friday night at 6:30 pm ET on ESPN2 is postponed as a result of COVID-19 concerns raised by the Saint Louis medical staff.
— Atlantic 10 MBB (@A10MBB) January 29, 2021
This is a risky play but I’m going with Saint Louis on the road in Richmond. I have them as about a two-point favorite here. They just had a month layoff before playing at home against Dayton. I don’t put too much stock into that game which they lost.
I think this is a brilliant matchup for Saint Louis. They should get whatever they want at the rim against Richmond’s weak interior. The Billikens should also get almost every rebound as they are top 30 in both offensive and defensive rebounding percentage while Richmond’s offensive rebounding percentage is 323rd.
Richmond runs a beautiful offense and they can scheme some of their weaknesses away, but Saint Louis is just too physical and too tough. We saw this last season when the Billikens went to Richmond and won 74-58. Richmond was a little tougher last year with Nick Sherod who has since graduated. Saint Louis shot 60 percent from inside the arc in that game.
This is a great matchup inside. If Richmond rains from 3, I’ll tip my cap. But this is just a very soft Richmond team, especially defensively. I think Saint Louis bounces back here. There is some risk, it’s just one of those years.
Pick: Saint Louis +1.5
UC Davis vs. UC Santa Barbara | 7 p.m. ET
by Matt Cox
I’m going out West to northern California with the UC Davis Aggies. For those who may remember, this is the exact same team I faded last week. Why am I now flip-flopping here only seven days later? Well for starters, I was on leg one of the back-to-back against UC San Diego. In that second leg coming off a long layoff for the Aggies – we talked about the strict protocols in place – UC Davis played like the team we thought they would in the preseason.
They have pace and space for days led by their two dynamo guards, Damion Squire and Ezra Manjon. They got it done against UC San Diego and are starting to play with some confidence and swagger entering a big weekend series against the Class of the Big West, UC Santa Barbara. The silver lining of how well the Gauchos have been playing is that their analytic rankings have inflated. The game spread is so closely tied to Kenpom, Bart Torvik and all of those numerical rankings that it presents a value play here for UC Davis.
My handicap has this around 4.5-5 points. The line has opened around 8-8.5, but I would take the Aggies down to seven. Trust the pace, space, shooting and small ball perimeter-oriented attack of the Aggies here.
Pick: UC Davis +8.5 (down to +7)
North Dakota State vs. UMKC | 8 p.m. ET
by Ky McKeon
Once again, North Dakota State is a top contender in the Summit League, off to a hot 7-1 start in league play. Tonight, the Bison are tasked with taking down a shorthanded UMKC team, one that’ll be without leading scorer Brandon McKissic and potentially both Demarius Pitts and Marvin Nesbitt. In essence, the Roos are the walking wounded.
Without McKissic, UMKC is helpless offensively against one of the top defenses in the league in North Dakota State. It wouldn’t shock me to see the Roos score in the 40s. On the other end, UMKC will have no answer for the Bison’s size, which sits inside the top 30 in average height. The Roos, meanwhile, are 251st.
This should be a field day for Rocky Kreuser and company and the spread will surely skyrocket. I’m taking anything up to 4, even a smaller play on 5.
Pick: North Dakota State -2.5 (up to -4)
Tarleton State vs. Utah Valley | 8 p.m. ET
by Jim Root
I fully endorse that North Dakota State pick by Ky, but I’m going even further West here, out to the wild wild WAC: Tarleton State at Utah Valley. This is an intriguing coaching matchup, with Billy ‘The Clyde’ Gillispie back in Division I at a brand new DI program in the Texans taking on Mark ‘The Mad Dog’ Madsen of Los Angeles Lakers fame. I think this matchup sets up great for Tarleton State.
The Texans are a team that wants to spread you on offensively and attack off the bounce. They have a bunch of different players that can score off the dribble, which has been a huge weakness for this Utah Valley team that plays two lumbering big men. You can really drive and get to the rim, or spread them out and his out shots, which Tarleton State also does well.
On the other end, Tarleton State wants to pressure you and force turnovers. Utah Valley’s backcourt is definitely the roster’s weakness, an area the Texans can exploit. There is some concern on the glass here, though. The Wolverines’ monstrous big men Fardaws Aimaq and Evan Cole can really dominate on the glass. But Tarleton State held up against a monstrous frontcourt in Grand Canyon. I like Tarleton State here at +7.5 and would take it down to +6. Let’s ride with the Texans baby! Billy Clyde, take us home.
Pick: Tarleton State +7.5 (down to +6)