College Basketball Odds & Picks: Our Staff’s 4 Best Bets, Including Creighton vs. Nebraska, UCLA vs. Marquette, More (Friday, Dec. 11)

College Basketball Odds & Picks: Our Staff’s 4 Best Bets, Including Creighton vs. Nebraska, UCLA vs. Marquette, More (Friday, Dec. 11) article feature image
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Dylan Buell/Getty Images. Pictured: Koby McEwen.

  • Welcome to the end of the workweek. Our college basketball staff celebrated the beginning of the weekend by hand-picking their four favorite bets from three games on Friday's hoops slate.
  • Check out each betting pick complete with full analysis below.

We’ve made it through the workweek. Now, it’s time to celebrate by watching and betting on college basketball.

Friday’s slate features five ranked teams, but there’s plenty of betting value elsewhere as well.

Our college hoops staff picked out four bets from three games on the docket, ranging from No. 8 Creighton vs. Nebraska to UCLA vs. Marquette. Check out each betting pick complete with analysis below.

And when it’s all over, Saturday college football will arrive. Is there really a better way to spend back-to-back days? We didn’t think so.


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How to Bet Friday’s College Basketball Slate

Here’s a rundown of our favorite betting spots on Friday’s slate of games:

Tip Time
Matchup
7 p.m. ET
Creighton vs. Nebraska
9 p.m. ET
Grand Canyon vs. Nevada
9:30 p.m. ET
UCLA vs. Marquette
9:30 p.m. ET
UCLA vs. Marquette

All listed odds have been updated as of Friday morning and via DraftKings. Specific bet recommendations at the end of each matchup breakdown 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.


CLICK THE DROPDOWN ARROW TO EASILY NAVIGATE TO ANY GAME
Tip Time
Matchup
7 p.m. ET
Creighton vs. Nebraska
9 p.m. ET
Grand Canyon vs. Nevada
9:30 p.m. ET
UCLA vs. Marquette
9:30 p.m. ET
UCLA vs. Marquette

Creighton (-14) vs. Nebraska

By Mike Randle


ncaa-college basketball-betting-odds-picks-december 11
Creighton Odds -14 [BET NOW]
Nebraska Odds +14 [BET NOW]
Moneyline -1430 / +800 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 150.5 [BET NOW]
Time 7 p.m. ET
TV Big Ten Network
(Photo Credit: Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images).

Nebraska vs. Creighton is certainly an intrastate rivalry, but this year it will be very one-sided. Creighton (3-1) enters the game ranked eighth in the country and is coming off a tough 73-72 loss at Kansas.

The Bluejays have their offense humming, ranking fourth in the nation in 2-point percentage, per KenPom.

Creighton is led by the strong guard play of senior Denzel Mahoney (13.3 ppg, 2.1 spg) and junior Marcus Zegarowski (13.3 ppg, 6.3 apg). They are well-balanced inside by forward Christian Bishop (14.5 ppg, 6.3 rpg) and senior wing Damien Jefferson (10.8 ppg, 4.3 rpg).

Nebraska brings in a team that has strong defensive metrics on paper (44.7% 2-point percentage allowed) but hasn’t played any team on the same level as Creighton.

The Cornhuskers have allowed each of their past three opponents to crest 75 despite playing all three games at home. In fact, this is the first road game Nebraska will have played all season.

Under head coach Greg McDermott, Creighton has been strong ATS as a home favorite.

I’m taking the Bluejays at home to run their rival off the court. Creighton at home is a safe bet to hit 80-plus points, and the less-talented Cornhuskers will be unable to keep up.

I grabbed this line at Creighton-14 and would bet it up to 15.5.


[Bet Creighton now at BetMGM and get a $500 INSTANT deposit match]

CLICK THE DROPDOWN ARROW TO EASILY NAVIGATE TO ANY GAME
Tip Time
Matchup
7 p.m. ET
Creighton vs. Nebraska
9 p.m. ET
Grand Canyon vs. Nevada
9:30 p.m. ET
UCLA vs. Marquette
9:30 p.m. ET
UCLA vs. Marquette

Grand Canyon (+3) vs. Nevada

By BJ Cunningham


ncaa-college basketball-betting-odds-picks-december 11
Grand Canyon Odds +2 [BET NOW]
Nevada Odds -2 [BET NOW]
Moneyline +110 / -136 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 139 [BET NOW]
Time 9 p.m. ET
TV ESPN3
(Photo Credit: Jacob Snow/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images).

The problem for the Lopes last season was the fact they had their worst defensive season under Dan Majerle, which ultimately led to his exit after a seven-year stint in Phoenix.

However, Grand Canyon brought in in former Valparaiso and Vanderbilt head coach Bryce Drew to occupy the sidelines. Help on the defensive end is on its way, too, as Drew brought a number of different transfers like 7-foot-1 Asbjorn Midtgaard from Wichita State and Gabe McGlothan from Southeast Missouri State.

Grand Canyon is expected to make one of the biggest jumps in the rankings for defensive efficiency, per KenPom. Last season, it ranked 327th in defensive efficiency, but this year, it’s projected to be ranked 138th. The even better news is its offense isn’t expected to drop off at all.

Grand Canyon also has three of its top four scorers from last season back in the starting lineup for 2020. Bottom line, this is going to be a much improved Grand Canyon squad that is going to challenge New Mexico State for the WAC title.

Nevada is going through a major transition in 2020. It had to replace its entire starting five and unquestioned leader, Jalen Harris, turned pro. However, so far, things have come together nicely, as the Wolf Pack are off a 4-1 start with a win over Nebraska.

However, the last time they were on the court against a Division I opponent, they were getting blown out by San Francisco at home. Unfortunately, there is going to be a lot of growing pains when relying only on transfers, bench players from last season, and freshmen. This is Nevada’s first true road test of the season, so I think it could struggle with so many new faces.

I have Grand Canyon projected as -0.16 favorites, so I think there’s value on the Lopes at +3.


[Bet Grand Canyon now at BetMGM and get a $500 INSTANT deposit match]

CLICK THE DROPDOWN ARROW TO EASILY NAVIGATE TO ANY GAME
Tip Time
Matchup
7 p.m. ET
Creighton vs. Nebraska
9 p.m. ET
Grand Canyon vs. Nevada
9:30 p.m. ET
UCLA vs. Marquette
9:30 p.m. ET
UCLA vs. Marquette

 


UCLA (-4.5) vs. Marquette

By Pat McMahon


ncaa-college basketball-betting-odds-picks-december 11
UCLA Odds -4.5 [BET NOW]
Marquette Odds +4.5 [BET NOW]
Moneyline -205 / +165 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 140.5 [BET NOW]
Time 9:30 p.m. ET
TV Pac-12 Network
(Photo Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images).

This may seem like too many points for UCLA to be laying against a very good Marquette squad, but I like how the Bruins match up with the Golden Eagles.

The Bruins were stunned by San Diego State at home in the season opener but won their next four games, covering in all four as well. The Bruins are one of the most experienced teams in the country, returning 86.8% of available minutes from last season.

The Bruins are now in Year 2 of the Mick Cronin era and finished strong in Year 1, winning 11 of their last 14 games. With just about everyone back, this team is loaded and should be near the top of the Pac-12 standings all season.

Getting senior wing Chris Smith back after he tested the NBA draft waters was a huge offseason win for the Bruins. Smith is a matchup nightmare on the perimeter, as he’s a lights-out shooter who can use his 6-foot-9 frame to get off shots whenever he wants.

He’s off to a scintillating start, averaging 15 points per game and hitting 53.2% of his 3-point attempts. The Bruins’ offense as a whole is really clicking, as they rank 15th in the country in adjusted offensive efficiency, per KenPom.

Marquette returns just 46.6% of available minutes from last year and lost one of its all-time program greats in Markus Howard. However, Ohio State transfer DJ Carton and highly touted freshman Dawson Garcia have both been great so far.

Senior guard Koby McEwen has also helped soften the blow of losing Howard, as he leads the team in scoring with just under 17 points per game while draining 42.9% of his 3s.

Both teams are very good defensively, and Marquette has a slight edge in defensive efficiency at the moment. However, it has yet to face an offense as good as the Bruins this season.

On the flip side, Marquette’s offense is playing well but struggled against its two toughest opponents. It averaged only 64.5 points against Oklahoma State and Wisconsin and really struggled to shoot it in the loss to the Cowboys, going 34% from the floor and 28% from distance.

This game could turn into a defensive struggle with how well both teams can defend. I’m going to back a Mick Cronin-coached club almost every time when two strong defensive teams are squaring off, especially when his squad has the better offense.

I like the Bruins to win comfortably at home.


[Bet UCLA now at DraftKings and get a $1,000 bonus, including a $500 risk-free bet]

CLICK THE DROPDOWN ARROW TO EASILY NAVIGATE TO ANY GAME
Tip Time
Matchup
7 p.m. ET
Creighton vs. Nebraska
9 p.m. ET
Grand Canyon vs. Nevada
9:30 p.m. ET
UCLA vs. Marquette
9:30 p.m. ET
UCLA vs. Marquette

 


Marquette (+5) vs. UCLA

By Tanner McGrath


ncaa-college basketball-betting-odds-picks-december 11
Marquette Odds +4.5 [BET NOW]
UCLA Odds -4.5 [BET NOW]
Moneyline -205 / +165 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 140.5 [BET NOW]
Time 9:30 p.m. ET
TV Pac-12 Network
(Photo Credit: Larry Radloff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images).

The Marquette Golden Eagles, sans-Markus Howard, are rightful underdogs here. However, I see some early value on them at +5 against the UCLA Bruins. 

Marquette still plays very well in areas — specifically on defense. The Golden Eagles rank 34th in defensive efficiency, per KenPom, and are holding opponents to just a 39.2 eFG% (12th in the country). They’ve been playing above-average defense both inside and on the perimeter so far this season. 

Additionally, Marquette still shoots the 3 at a high level. It’s shooting 37.8% from deep on 22.2 attempts per game this season. Its 47.5 2-point percentage isn’t great, but UCLA’s biggest weakness is interior defense, where opponents are shooting 48.8% from 2-point range this season. 

UCLA is a dominant offensive team and is shooting lights-out from everywhere on the floor. However, I believe Marquette has the edge defensively in this matchup; UCLA ranks 16 spots lower than Marquette in defensive efficiency.

Moreover, UCLA lost its opening night matchup to San Diego State, which at the time, ranked very similar to Marquette in KenPom rankings. Meanwhile, the Golden Eagles just pulled off a huge win over a very talented Wisconsin team. 

Finally, early Action Network data shows big money on Marquette, as it’s receiving just 21% of the bets but 93% of the money at the time of writing. I’m going to tail the sharps here, and I would play Marquette at +4.5 or better.


[Bet Marquette now at DraftKings and get a $1,000 bonus, including a $500 risk-free bet]

CLICK THE DROPDOWN ARROW TO EASILY NAVIGATE TO ANY GAME
Tip Time
Matchup
7 p.m. ET
Creighton vs. Nebraska
9 p.m. ET
Grand Canyon vs. Nevada
9:30 p.m. ET
UCLA vs. Marquette
9:30 p.m. ET
UCLA vs. Marquette
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