Friday NCAAB Best Bets & 7 Late-Night Expert Picks

Friday NCAAB Best Bets & 7 Late-Night Expert Picks article feature image
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Photo by David Dennis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Ty Johnson (UC Davis)

We're one day away from Championship Saturday, but before 13 auto bids are given out, there's plenty of betting value on the odds board for Friday.

Below, we have NCAAB best bets and odds, including seven expert picks for Friday's late-night games.


College Basketball Best Bets

The team logos in the table below represent each of the matchups that our college basketball betting staff is targeting from today's slate of games. Click on the team logos for any of the matchups below to navigate to a specific bet discussed in this article.

GameTime (ET)Pick
9:30 p.m.
9:30 p.m.
9:30 p.m.
9:30 p.m.
10:30 p.m.
11:30 p.m.
11:30 p.m.
Specific betting 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.

Florida vs. Alabama (SEC)

Friday, March 15
9:30 p.m. ET
SEC Network
Florida +4.5

By Charlie DiSturco

Don’t be scared because Florida went down to the wire with Georgia just a night ago. The Gators play down to their opponents and it took a sloppy night and one filled with free-throw struggles to even keep that game from turning into a blowout.

Florida plays up to its opponents. EvanMiya’s new opponent adjust metric has UF sixth when it comes to performance against top teams.

That’s exactly what we have here in Florida vs. Alabama III, a game that I think is essentially a coin flip.

Look at the last two times these teams have squared off: Florida went into Tuscaloosa and took the Tide to overtime. Since then, Alabama has begun a tailspin and the Gators jumped all over the Tide in Gainesville (105-87 win).

To be catching four points is a must-play for me.

The sheer size of Florida’s frontcourt should give Alabama plenty of issues. The Gators are No. 4 when it comes to offensive rebounding rate, whereas Alabama sits at 231st.

The Tide play aggressively to make up for their soft interior defense, which leads to plenty of fouls and points. Alabama is 105th in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency.

Alabama is outside the top 50 in Bart Torvik’s rankings over the last month. Nate Oats’ squad won the SEC tournament last year and has some injuries — Rylan Griffen, notably, is questionable — and I’d expect UF to be the more motivated side here following back-to-back below-average performances against Vanderbilt and Georgia.

Obviously, there’s always the chance that the variance monster strikes and Alabama goes unconscious from 3, but UF has been able to contain the Tide’s perimeter onslaught in both meetings.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see Florida win this outright. It would take an offensive masterpiece from Alabama to separate itself from a team it's struggled with in both meetings.

Take the points here and chomp on Gators.

Pick: Florida +4.5 (Play to +3)


Baylor vs. Iowa State (Big 12)

Friday, March 15
9:30 p.m. ET
ESPN
Baylor +100

By Greg Waddell

From a viewing perspective, fans are in for a treat in the Big 12 tournament semifinal, as Baylor takes on Iowa State. The bracket played out true to seed, resulting in a prime-time matchup between the second-seeded Cyclones and the third-seeded Bears.

These two teams met once this season, and it was a thriller. Baylor survived at home against Iowa State after a game-winning shot by Milan Momcilovic was ruled to have come after the buzzer.

Since then, Iowa State’s offense has fallen off a cliff. The Cyclones are 5-1 in their last six games but have just the 122nd-ranked offense in college basketball in that span. That ranks last in the Big 12 in the last month.

Baylor has shot the ball poorly in its last two games, but that may not be a sign of things to come. After making 26% of their shots from 3 against Cincy in their first game at the Big 12 tournament and making 23% the game before vs. Texas Tech, it’s highly likely the Bears catch fire from deep.

Baylor hasn't gone three straight games this season without making 40% from 3 in at least one of them.

They’ve been at their best against elite defenses, too. In three games against top-six defenses, per KenPom, Baylor shot 47%, 52% and 40% from 3.

Take the Bears.

Pick: Baylor ML +100 (Play to -110)



Alabama A&M vs. Texas Southern (SWAC)

Friday, March 15
9:30 p.m. ET
ESPN+
Under 136

By Patrick Strollo

I think the play in this SWAC semifinal round is to back the under, as these two teams have been profitable for under bettors this season.

Texas Southern and Alabama A&M are 12-17 (58.6%) and 14-17-1 (54.8%) against the total this season, respectively.

Surprisingly, when these two teams met earlier this season, they blew right through the total of 138 in a game that Texas Southern won easily, 85-69.

I don’t expect a repeat performance of the lone meeting between the two teams this season. Defense is the relative strength of both teams, and I expect that to be on display in this high stakes contest.

This game features two of the top five defenses in the SWAC, while also featuring two offenses ranked 310th or worse in the nation.

Both teams feature excellent shooting defense, with Texas Southern ranking 60th nationally and Alabama A&M entering the game ranked 105th. I like the perimeter defense of each team to be on display tonight, forcing buckets to come a premium.

My model is projecting the total for this game at 131.5, but I like the wiggle room that oddsmakers are offering us here with the market at 136.

I recommend taking the under at 133 or higher.

Pick: Under 136 (Play to 133)

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San Diego State vs. Utah State (Mountain West)

Friday, March 15
9:30 p.m. ET
Mountain West Network
San Diego State -3.5

By Anthony Dabbundo

These two teams split their regular season meetings, with both teams winning on their respective home floor.

I was pretty bullish on Utah State's interior advantages on Thursday against Fresno State, but it’s going to encounter much more resistance at the rim in this matchup.

The Aztecs don't really allow you to score there at all. SDSU ranks 21st in near proximity attempt rate and 16th in field goal rate allowed on shots close to the rim.

San Diego State runs a lot of its offense through the post and through the mid-range, two areas that Utah State generally struggles to defend. The Aggies are 252nd nationally in mid-range field goal percentage allowed and are below average nationally in post-up defense.

The key matchup is on the interior between Jaedon LeDee and Grant Osobor, and both had a lot of success offensively in both meetings.

Betting Aztec tournament overs are never any fun — the MWC quarterfinal against UNLV was sailing under until overtime — but there are more paths to success for the Aztecs offensively than Utah State in this matchup.

The best way to beat SDSU is with elite shotmakers and shifty guards, and that's not really the Aggies’ formula. The Aztecs should be more efficient in getting baskets at the rim, and they have the better defense, so I'll back them to win by a couple of possessions.

Pick: San Diego State -3.5



Colorado vs. Washington State (Pac-12)

Friday, March 15
10:30 p.m. ET
FS1
Isaac Jones Over 21.5 Points + Rebounds

By Doug Ziefel

If you're on the East Coast, this is the game to stay up late and watch. The Colorado Buffaloes take on the Washington State Cougars for a spot in the Pac-12 Ttournament title game.

Since picking a side is a tough decision, one way we can get in on the action with an edge is through Washington State forward Isaac Jones.

Jones has been a big part of the Cougars' ascension this season, and they'll need him again tonight to combat the Buffaloes' size.

We've already seen him succeed against Colorado, as he posted a combined total of 24 points and rebounds in both meetings this season. His impressive performances against Colorado only bolster a season-long trend of proving his total tonight is too low.

Jones has surpassed this total in 63% of games played this season. That hit rate gives us implied odds of -170 that he'll go over again tonight.

Pick: Isaac Jones Over 21.5 Points + Rebounds

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Hawaii vs. UC Davis (Big West)

Friday, March 15
11:30 p.m. ET
ESPN2
UC Davis -132

By Sean Paul

UC Davis split the series against Hawaii in the regular season — and it was truly a tale of two games. The Aggies limited Hawaii to 0.97 PPP in the win and 1.24 in the loss, which shows how important the Aggies’ defense is.

I’m expecting a strong defensive performance from the Aggies, particularly by forcing turnovers. Jim Les’ squad forces turnovers on 21% of defensive possessions (21st nationally), compared to Hawaii’s terrible turnover percentage (18%.)

The smaller UC Davis interior has to slow down Hawaii’s inside scoring attack (shooting 54% from 2-point range). It could spell trouble for UC Davis if Niko Rocak gets in foul trouble against Bernardo da Silva.

The biggest problem for UC Davis is Offensive Efficiency, clocking in at 233rd nationally in the category.

While the numbers tell one story, the offense is better than the numbers indicate — thanks to the dominant duo of Elijah Pepper and Ty Johnson. The two combine for 37 points per game and have the scoring to totally flip a game.

Pick: UC Davis ML -132


UT Arlington vs. Tarleton State (WAC)

Friday, March 15
11:30 p.m. ET
ESPNU
UT Arlington +110

By Sean Paul

We played UT Arlington yesterday and hit with no sweat, as the Mavericks won 109-78 against Stephen F. Austin.

The Mavericks will look for a run to the conference title game in KT Turner’s first season, and I think it’ll happen.

Coach Turner will look for his guards to handle Tarleton’s pressure similar to how they handled SFA’s pressure yesterday.

The Texans force turnovers on 20% of possessions, but UTA broke SFA’s press yesterday and got clean look after clean look out of it.

Expect the same thing to happen here today.

Pick: UT Arlington ML +110



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Doug Ziefel
Jun 23, 2024 UTC