Tuesday College Basketball Betting Picks: Our Staff’s 4 Best Bets (February 25, 2020)
John Jones/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Breein Tyree
- Need last-minute college basketball picks for Tuesday? Our experts each cut down the 26-game betting card into one favorite play.
- A pair of totals and an SEC underdog highlight our best bets on the Feb. 25 slate.
College basketball’s regular season is drawing to a close, so we have nearly a full schedule’s worth of data to draw from when betting the games we have left.
Tuesday, our staff is turning to the MAC and SEC, among other leagues, to find betting value.
Here are their favorite bets for Tuesday night:
College Basketball Betting Picks
- Odds: Buffalo at Ohio -1
- Over/Under: 150.5
- Time: 7 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPN+
This is the time of year when teams are jostling for conference tournament positioning. The MAC is no different, with a postseason bracket that heavily favors the top-four seeds.
Buffalo, now 9-5 in conference play, is in a tie for third place with Northern Illinois, making this Tuesday night tilt with Ohio a pivotal game.
The Bulls hosted the Bobcats in mid-January and pulled away at the very end with an explosive second half offensive performance. Since then, the Bulls are 7-3 in MAC play and Ohio is just 4-6. Despite Ohio’s play straight-up, the Bobcats have been profitable at the window posting a 6-2 ATS record in their last eight.
Ohio games have also gone under the closing number in six of the last seven. Buffalo can match Ohio’s under prowess, with seven of eight unders cashing in UB games.
This game is really a contrast in styles. Buffalo has one of the top offenses in the MAC, buoyed by its absurdly high rebounds per game rate which leads the nation. Ohio, on the other hand, would much rather play this contest in the high 60s, low 70s.
There’s a bit of recency bias baked into this total, as well.
That’s thanks to a crazy 104-98 double OT affair in UB’s last outing, presenting three to four points of value according to my ratings.
Given the importance of this game for Buffalo, I’m leaning towards them catching a point in this spot. But the better play is under an inflated total.
Pick: Under 150.5
- Odds: Ole Miss at Auburn -9
- Over/Under: 138
- Time: 7 p.m. ET
- TV: SEC Network
After covering seven consecutive games, Ole Miss has dropped its past two ATS, including a 25-point outright loss to Alabama on Saturday. But the Rebels are presented with a great spot at Auburn tonight — from a few different perspectives.
Beyond Kermit Davis’ crew entering bounce-back territory, it blew a 19-point lead vs. the Tigers at home on Jan. 28 despite covering in double overtime. Look for a motivated Rebels bunch to come out aggressive defensively, which is where the Tigers’ attack is most vulnerable with point guard Ja’Von McComick averaging 3.3 turnovers over his past three games.
The Rebels are going to be at a disadvantage on the glass, so their top-75 opponents’ steal rate will come in handy in order to control the tempo and slow down McCormick and Co.
On top of that, Auburn freshman Isaac Okoro (hamstring) is questionable for this one, and the Tigers haven’t operated nearly as efficiently without him over their past three games.
Auburn’s comeback vs. Tennessee on Saturday was more a product of the Vols letting them back into the game with 24 turnovers.
Tennessee even outrebounded Auburn 37-28, so it was a slightly flawed box score for a team that doesn’t turn the opposition over a consistent basis.
I’d expect Okoro to sit with a massive game at Kentucky coming up on Saturday, but even if he suits up, the Tigers could get caught looking ahead to their rematch in Rupp Arena.
Pick: Ole Miss +9
- Odds: Memphis at SMU -4
- Over/Under: 143
- Time: 9 p.m. ET
- TV: CBS Sports Network
SMU (18-8) has been the best offensive team in the AAC. The Mustangs rank first in conference play in each of the following categories:
- Adjusted Offensive Efficiency
- Effective Field Goal Percentage
The Mustangs only sit at 8-6 in the AAC but have been tough to beat at home, winning eight straight games by an average of 11.3 points per game. They are only 13-12-1 against the spread but 4-1 in their last five home games. SMU already tallied a 74-70 win at Memphis on Jan. 25.
SMU’s three-guard attack of Kendric Davis (15.1 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 6.9 apg), Tyson Jolly (14.8 ppg, 6.2 rpg), and Isiaha Mike (14.1 ppg, 6.3 rpg) were fantastic in that first matchup, totaling 43 points, 18 rebounds, nine assists, and six 3-pointers.
SMU will also have an advantage on the offensive boards, ranking 19th best in the country against the Tigers’ 231st defensive rebounding percentage.
Memphis is the youngest team in college basketball, and the Tigers are also brutal at the free throw line, shooting a conference worst 65.6% from the line in AAC play. SMU opponents have shot 73.4% from the free-throw line, a number the Tigers will be unlikely to approach.
Memphis has lost four of its six AAC road matchups, and its poor free-throw shooting always makes a cover difficult. Coming off a huge one-point home win over a short-handed Houston team, I expect another road loss for an exceptionally young Memphis team.
Pick: SMU -4
- Odds: Clemson at Georgia Tech -2.5
- Over/Under: 128.5
- Time: 9 p.m. ET
- TV: ACC Network
The McCamish Pavilion may lack tempo and baskets on Tuesday night. Clemson comes to Atlanta on a 3-game winning streak, racking up a Quad 1 win over Louisville in the process.
The Tigers have the chance to add another bullet point to their resume against Florida State on Saturday, making this game against Georgia Tech an overlook spot. Clemson plays with an adjusted tempo of 298th in the country, specifically 341st on the defensive side of the ball.
The Clemson offense relies on the 3-point shot more than most teams in the country, ranking 26th in point distribution from 3. The Tigers will run up against an outstanding perimeter defense in the Yellow Jackets.
Georgia Tech ranks 22nd in the nation in 3-point defense, allowing teams to hit just 29.5% of shots from deep.
Georgia Tech has a similar lopsided landscape in point distribution. The Yellow Jackets rely on 2-pointers at a rank of No. 8 in the country. Clemson does have a top 100 defense in defending mid-range and points in the paint, more importantly hold a large edge in rebounding.
The Tigers are 44th in the nation in defensive rebounding and should clean up the misses it forces.
Look for Clemson to get plenty of turnovers and dominate the defensive glass. On the other side of the court, Georgia Tech plays a top 25 perimeter defense, so expect a slow Clemson tempo to assist the defenses in cashing an under ticket.
Pick: Under 128.5