Friday College Basketball Betting Odds & Picks: Northern Kentucky vs. IUPUI, Harvard vs. Cornell
Mitchell Layton/Getty Images. Pictured: Robert Baker
On Friday, we look at two preseason league favorites trying to stay near the top of their conferences for a regular-season title.
In the Horizon League, Northern Kentucky hosts IUPUI, while they try to stay close to Wright State. In the Ivy League, a short-handed Harvard team hopes a home game against Cornell can springboard its run towards an eighth league title since 2011.
Let’s take a look at these two matchups on a short slate.
Friday College Basketball Odds & Picks
Odds as of Friday morning and via FanDuel, where Action Network users get a risk-free bet up to $500.
Northern Kentucky vs. IUPUI
- Spread: Northern Kentucky -16
- Over/Under: 147.5
- Time: 7 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPN+
Northern Kentucky (18-7) is just one game behind Wright State in the race for the regular season Horizon League title. The Norse have won four consecutive games and nine of their last ten. They are 15-8 against the spread, covering eight of their last 10 games.
IUPUI (6-20) has struggled as expected, sitting in last place in conference play at 2-11. The Jaguars have lost four in a row and eight of their last nine games. They are a miserable 8-16 ATS, failing to cover seven of their past nine games.
NKU returned four starters from a team that tied for the Horizon League title last season. They are finally at full strength with both Dantez Walton (16.7 ppg, 7.1 rpg) and Jalen Tate (11.4 ppg, 5.3 rpg) both recovered from earlier injuries.
Since the start of conference play, Northern Kentucky has excelled on both ends of the floor. They rank second among Horizon League teams in adjusted offense and first overall in adjusted defense. The Norse are first in offensive turnover percentage and are the Horizon leader in 2P%.
In their first meeting this season, Northern Kentucky crushed the Jaguars on the road 96-71 without Walton. The Norse destroyed IUPUI’s defense for 77.4% accuracy from inside the arc.
IUPUI allows opponents to shoot 39.6% from 3P range in conference play and does themselves no favors with an abysmal 67.3% team free throw percentage.
Northern Kentucky needs to keep pace with Wright State before its season-ending meeting at home. IUPUI first-year coach Byron Rimm does not have the talent or experience to keep this game close at a challenging Friday night atmosphere.
I’ll lay the big line with a Norse team that is healthy and dangerous.
The Pick: Northern Kentucky -16
Harvard vs. Cornell
- Spread: Harvard -13.5
- Over/Under: 138
- Time: 7 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPN+
Harvard (14-7) returns home after a tiring five-game road trip. The Crimson have only played one Ivy League game at home, a 67-62 win over Dartmouth. They are just 8-12 against the spread, and only covered one of those five road games.
Cornell (5-14) has struggled in road games all season. The Big Red are 0-11 on the road, including 0-3 in Ivy play, losing by an average of 13.3 points. They are 8-9 ATS including 2-6 in their last eight road games.
The Crimson limp home after going just 2-3 on their road trip. Harvard has been adjusting all season without leading-scorer Seth Towns (knee) and most of the season without Bryce Aiken (foot). Aiken has been out since Dec. 21 but is getting closer to a return.
Regardless, this is a spot for a solid Havard performance against a Cornell team that is near the bottom in almost every defensive category. The Big Red have allowed 74 or more points in all three of their Ivy League road games.
Cornell ranks 302nd in adjusted defensive efficiency and 294th in 3P% defense. It will especially struggle on the boards, where Harvard ranks second in offensive rebounding in league play. The Big Red have also greatly benefitted from their opponents’ poor free-throw shooting, with teams only making 68.5% of their charity stripe attempts.
This is a clear situational bounce-back spot for a Harvard team that has dominated the Ivy League since head coach Tommy Amaker’s arrival in 2011. The Crimson have won seven regular-season titles during that time and just upset the Ivy favorite Yale, 78-77 on the road.
This number is actually dropping due to Harvard’s recent struggles. After a rough five-game road trip, a big home win against the struggling Big Red is a strong “get right” spot.
The Pick: Harvard -13.5