College Basketball Best Bets | Top NCAAB Picks for Wednesday Evening (Mar. 8)
Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images. Pictured: Keith Dambrot (Duquesne)
We already covered the afternoon conference tournament games on Wednesday, but since we have college basketball all day long, let’s take a look at the evening slate.
Our staff is targeting six different picks across six different conferences, including La Salle vs. Duquesne in the Atlantic 10.
So, dive in below and get the top NCAAB conference tournament odds, best bets and picks for Wednesday evening’s slate.
College Basketball Best Bets for Wednesday Evening
The team logos in the table below represent each of the matchups that our college basketball staff is targeting from Wednesday evening’s slate of games. Click the team logos for one the matchups below 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.|
DePaul vs. Seton Hall (Big East)
On paper, since the Pirates dropped five of their last seven games in the regular season, it looks like Seton Hall collapsed down the stretch in Big East play.
In reality, Seton Hall got smacked by some bad schedule luck. Six of those seven games came against teams now seeded higher in the Big East Tournament than the Pirates, and Seton Hall is the only team in the conference that really had to play Villanova twice at its now-healthy, full-strength status.
Against that tough stretch, Seton Hall went 3-4 against the spread, with one of those losses coming in an outright win over Georgetown, where the Pirates failed to cover.
DePaul, meanwhile, has lost 12 straight games entering the postseason and is 2-10 ATS in that stretch. This team is in disarray right now.
Seton Hall, with a pro-Pirates crowd at Madison Square Garden, should take care of business. Shaheen Holloway and Co. have been mostly good at that this season, going just 4-12 in Quads 1 and 2 games, but 12-1 against Quad 3 and 4 level opponents.
Pick: Seton Hall -6
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Ohio State vs. Wisconsin (Big Ten)
Ohio State is not as bad as its mid-season disaster indicates.
The Buckeyes beat Illinois and Maryland down the stretch and are now listed as short favorites against a Wisconsin team that nobody should be excited to back.
Wisconsin, meanwhile, lost two of its final three, with the lone win coming against Minnesota. That’s definitely not a team I care to back.
The Action Network projects Ohio State as a 3-point favorite here, so my initial gut feeling seems correct.
Moreover, the on-court matchup looks favorable.
Brice Sensabaugh should be able to shred Wisconsin’s drop defense with his lethal pull-up game. I’m definitely not interested in Sensabaugh as a two-way prospect — especially with his on-off splits — but he should fill up the stat sheet here.
Meanwhile, Tyler Wahl and Steven Crowl should have little success now that Ohio State’s frontcourt rotations are rounding back into form post-Zed Key.
Connor Essegian and Chucky Hepburn combined for 32 points in the early-season win over Ohio State. However, Sensabaugh also fouled out after 16 minutes in that one, and a full game from him could be the difference maker.
I’m betting the trending-up Buckeyes will adjust, contain the Badgers’ backcourt and ultimately pull out a win in a revenge spot.
And I’m happy to bet the short spread.
Pick: Ohio State -1.5 (Play -2)
UTEP vs. Western Kentucky (Conference USA)
By Brett Pund
When we get into these conference tournaments in weird gyms, I like to look for a first half total in a game between teams that I feel will start slow, and this matchup between WKU and UTEP checks off those boxes.
For starters, this has been a profitable bet at the Conference USA Tournament in the Ford Center at The Star, with this same play cashing in three of the four C-USA Tournament openers at the venue.
In contests where both squads are playing at The Star for the first time that season, this same bet would have cashed in eight of 14 games (57%).
For this particular matchup, UTEP has really struggled this season offensively, ranking outside the top 270 in AdjO (289th), EFG% (273rd), free-throw shooting (355th) and 3-point% (358th), according to Bart Torvik.
The Miners are also 283rd in first-half scoring and 191st in tempo.
On the flip side, UTEP is 78th in points allowed in the opening 20 minutes of games, which should make it tough for a Hilltoppers’ squad that is 175th in first-half scoring.
This bet cashed in the meeting between the two schools last week, and in this odd shooting gym at The Star, I like our chances of securing another winning ticket.
Pick: 1H Under 62.5 (Play to 61.5)
Mount St. Mary’s vs. Iona (MAAC)
By Ky McKeon
Iona has been the class of the MAAC for quite some time, but it’s been downright dominant over the past two seasons.
Rick Pitino has led his Gaels to a 34-6 regular-season league record over that span, and this year, his squad ranks about 100 spots higher in KenPom than the next-best MAAC foe.
Last year saw the top-seeded Gaels take a shocking first-round loss in the MAAC Tournament. Expect Iona to go full “F you” mode this time around.
Pitino is a great coach, and there’s little doubt as to how much he’s drilling last season’s defeat into the heads of his players. Iona should come out of the gates angry and hungry, ready to decimate whoever stands in its way.
Mount St. Mary’s is the first school on the chopping block, a team Iona has beaten by 12 and 30 this season.
The Mount is not a good offensive team. Its attack features a lot of ball screen and iso action for Jalen Benjamin and Dakota Leffew, actions that just won’t work against the quick, athletic perimeter of Iona.
On the other end, the MAAC’s best offense should have no trouble shredding Mount St. Mary’s in transition or in the half-court. In its two contests against the Mount this season, Iona has scored 1.18 and 1.16 points per possession.
Expect a proper whooping tonight as Iona looks to prove last season was a fluke and that the MAAC belongs to the Gaels.
Pick: Iona -13.5 (Play to -14)
La Salle vs. Duquesne (Atlantic 10)
My Atlantic 10 Tournament preview mentioned Duquesne as my favorite futures bet to win the tournament of all the teams that didn’t earn the luxury of a double-bye.
I will maintain my conviction and back the Dukes to win convincingly in their first test of this year’s A-10 Tournament.
Duquesne coach Keith Dambrot has indicated last season’s 6-24 record was an outlier — and not a trend — by leading his team to a 20-11 regular season.
The Dukes are coming off their largest defeat of the season at Fordham. The 27-point drubbing gave the Rams a sweep over Duquesne this season, and they now await a potential third matchup with the Dukes should Duquesne advance past La Salle this evening.
Dambrot will likely use the carrot of earning a potential last laugh in a matchup with Fordham as motivation to excel in this matchup with La Salle.
In the only matchup between these two teams this season, Duquesne soundly defeated the Explorers in La Salle’s home arena. And prior to defeating Rhode Island yesterday, La Salle had lost five consecutive games to finish its regular season.
The Dukes are a balanced team, capable of beating La Salle in a variety of ways depending on the flow of the game.
Duquesne guard Dae Dae Grant tallied double-digit scoring totals in 11 consecutive games before putting up only five in Saturday’s weird regular-season finale at Fordham.
Take Duquesne to handle La Salle fairly easily tonight and earn an opportunity to settle the score with Fordham once and for all.
Pick: Duquesne -6.5 (Play to -7)
Delaware State vs. North Carolina Central (MEAC)
The No. 2 seed North Carolina Central Eagles (17-11, 10-4) will face No. 7 seed Delaware State Hornets (6-23, 4-10) this evening in Norfolk, Virginia, in opening-day action of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Tournament.
North Carolina Central enters the game riding a seven-game win streak and draws a favorable matchup against a Delaware State team that has dropped six of its last seven.
North Carolina Central may be the No. 2-ranked team in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC), but it’s the top team statistically, ranking first in both KenPom and Bart Torvik’s rankings.
Delaware State slipped into the tournament as a No. 7 seed, but it’s the worst team statistically in the MEAC, per both KenPom and Torvik. The Hornets sit near the very bottom of all Division I teams nationally, ranking 355th and 357th out of 363 teams, respectively.
North Carolina Central will rely on its quartet of All-MEAC player recipients to make a push for the automatic bid this season.
Senior center Brendan Medley-Bacon was named MEAC Defensive Player of the Year and has been the driving force behind the Eagles’ venerable defense.
The North Carolina Central defense ranks atop the MEAC in opponent points allowed (65.9) and rebounds per game (35.8). While on offense, the Eagles rank 32nd nationally in fast break points per game (13.0) and 45th in the nation field goal percentage (47.2%)
In two conference matchups this season, North Carolina Central emerged victorious in both contests. It won at home, 74-55, and then on the road in a closer matchup, 66-58.
My model is projecting North Carolina Central as 12.5-point favorites, and I think this is the highest value play on the game.
I also see value on the under and I am considering a same-game parlay of laying the chalk and the under.
Lastly, North Carolina Central has been one of the better teams in the nation against the spread this season, going 14-8-2 for an impressive 63.6% cover rate.
Back the Eagles and their stout defense in the first round of MEAC play as they take down Delaware State for the third time this season.
Pick: NC Central -10.5 (Play to -11.5)
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