NCAA Tournament Player Props: How to Bet Houston’s J’Wan Roberts & More (Thursday, Mar. 16)
Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images. Pictured: J’Wan Roberts (Houston)
Welcome to the true first day of the 2023 NCAA tournament!
To cap things off, we're diving into the play prop market with four top picks for Thursday's games, including how to bet Houston's J'Wan Roberts and more.
Dive in below now!
College Basketball Player Props for Thursday
In the table below, you'll find each of our college basketball staff's top player prop picks from Thursday's slate of games. Click on any pick or team logo 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.
Furman vs. Virginia
Mike Bothwell Points
By Alex Hinton
Furman guard Mike Bothwell is averaging at least 15 points per game for the third consecutive season. This year, the fifth-year senior is averaging a career-high 18 points per game.
He has gone over this line in two of Furman’s three games against high-major opponents this season. However, Virginia will be his toughest task yet this season.
Virginia is known for its pack-line defense and also limiting possessions in a game. However, this line is still low.
Bothwell attempts 11.6 field goal attempts per game and shoots 51.6% from the field. He also gets to the free-throw line 5.5 times per game and knocks down 82.9% of them.
So, let’s assume he struggles against Virginia’s defense. If he shoots 4-for-12 without a 3 (he averages 1.4 by the way) and knocks down six free throws, he is still at 14 points. Even accounting for less possessions, this line is four points below his season average.
Additionally, if you think Furman can pull the upset or at least give Virginia a scare, it is hard to imagine that happening without a big performance from its leading scorer.
However, again, Bothwell does not need to be spectacular to cash this over. I’ll take the plus money here.
Pick: Mike Bothwell Over 13.5 Points (+102) · Play to 14.5
Utah State vs. Missouri
Kobe Brown Points
By Alex Hinton
Utah State-Missouri is a candidate for the highest scoring game of the day. The total is 155.5 and KenPom projects 162 points.
One player for Missouri who should contribute to that total is forward Kobe Brown.
The senior forward has averaged 15.8 points per game this season. He has gone over this line in six of his 10 games, with three 20-point games along the way.
Brown is a matchup nightmare because at 6-foot-8, he can step out and hit 3s. He is shooting 44.7% from 3 on 3.2 attempts per game, and Utah State is 212th in 3-point percentage defense.
However, he also has the quickness to attack closeouts and beat larger defenders off the bounce.
Brown is averaging 10.3 field goal attempts this season and 10.6 over his last 10 games. In a clash that may come down to the wire (spread is 1.5), Brown may get a few extra attempts.
If so, Brown should not have much difficulty getting to 16 points.
Pick: Kobe Brown Over 15.5 Points (-125) · Play to 17.5
Princeton vs. Arizona
Azuolas Tubelis Points
By Alex Hinton
Another team that will be looking to slow the game down is Princeton. However, against Arizona, that will be a difficult task.
When Arizona is able to get out and run, that usually means that Azuolas Tubelis is in line for a big day. The junior is very agile for his size, and he is one of the best transition scorers in the country.
Tubelis is averaging 19.8 points per game this season and has led the Pac-12 in scoring all year. He has gone over this line in three of his last six games. Of the three games that he went under, he finished with 17 twice and 19 in the other one.
Against Princeton, I love Tubelis, as he will have a major height advantage on the forwards that the Tigers throw at him. That means even if Princeton slows down Arizona’s transition attack, Tubelis should have a field day attacking Princeton in the paint in the half-court.
When Arizona gets its high-low game going with Tubelis and Oumar Ballo, it is difficult to stop.
Tubelis shoots 57.5% from the field on 13.6 field goal attempts per game. He should have ample opportunity to score 20 points.
Pick: Azuolas Tubelis Over 19.5 Points (-120) · Play to 21.5
Northern Kentucky vs. Houston
J’Wan Roberts Rebounds
By Brett Pund
One of the biggest mismatches in Thursday’s opening round of the NCAA tournament is Houston’s offensive rebounding against Northern Kentucky.
So, I want to capitalize on this by backing the Cougars’ J’Wan Roberts to go over his rebound total of 8.5 at DraftKings.
Roberts leads the top-seeded team with 7.8 rebounds per game, while also ranking in the top 50 in the country with a 2.94 per game average on the offensive glass.
He should be able to add to his totals against a Northern Kentucky team that ranks 334th in defensive rebounds, according to Bart Torvik. Only USC and Missouri are worse among NCAA tournament schools.
Over the last six games, the Norse have allowed an average of 11.2 offensive rebounds per contest, which is not good going up against a Houston squad that is fourth in the country in offensive rebound rate.
Roberts has gone over this total in six of his last 10, including his 20-rebound outing in the AAC Championship game.
I like him to feast on the boards again here.