Tuesday College Basketball Odds & Picks: Our Staff’s Best Bets, Including Illinois vs. Minnesota, Furman vs. Alabama, More (December 15)

Tuesday College Basketball Odds & Picks: Our Staff’s Best Bets, Including Illinois vs. Minnesota, Furman vs. Alabama, More (December 15) article feature image
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Rich Schultz/Getty Images. Pictured: Alex Hunter.

  • From high-profile games like Illinois vs. Minnesota to lesser-known games like UNC Upstate vs. UNC Greensboro, college basketball packs the Tuesday night sports schedule.
  • Our college hoops staff broke down three games — including the two above — and shared a betting pick for each based on their analysis.
  • Check out each individual pick with a full breakdown below.

Today’s a good day for two reasons.

If you had the Browns at +3 on Monday Night Football, you can wash that bad beat away with some college basketball tonight.

And if you had Ravens -3, you can keep the streak going with some college basketball tonight. It’s really a win-win.

Our college hoops staff wants to help either way, so they hand-picked three games to break down from Tuesday’s college basketball slate and shared a betting pick for each.


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How to Bet Tuesday’s College Basketball Slate

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

Tip Time
Matchup
7 p.m. ET
Illinois vs. Minnesota
7 p.m. ET
USC Upstate vs. UNC Greensboro
9 p.m. ET
Furman vs. Alabama

All listed odds have been updated as of Tuesday 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
Illinois vs. Minnesota
7 p.m. ET
USC Upstate vs. UNC Greensboro
9 p.m. ET
Furman vs. Alabama

Illinois (-8) vs. Minnesota

By Mike Calabrese


ncaa-college basketball-betting-odds-picks-december 15
Illinois Odds -8 [BET NOW]
Minnesota Odds +8 [BET NOW]
Moneyline +295 / -375 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 147 [BET NOW]
Time 7 p.m. ET
TV ESPN2
(Photo Credit: Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images).

I love fading an undefeated paper tiger, and the Golden Gophers, sitting at 6-0, fit the bill in Champaign.

For starters, Minnesota is one of those programs that has noticeable home/away splits against the spread that catch your attention right away. Since 2018, Minnesota is 59% ATS when playing at The Barn and 43% when taking its show on the road. 

Here in 2020, Minnesota has been fairly dynamic on the offensive end. Marcus Carr has taken a massive step forward and has upped his average by 8.2 points this season. But while his stats have been impressive (23.8 ppg, 6.7 apg), his competition has been less than stellar.

The Gophers have played Loyola Marymount twice and required a Carr buzzer-beater to hold it off at home in one of those contests. The other four games have featured Division I speed bumps in the form of UMKC, North Dakota, Green Bay and a Boston College team that just surrendered 101 points to Syracuse. This explains why the Gophers’ SOS checks in at 259th nationally.

By comparison, Illinois has played a rugged opening schedule. Despite its two losses, in my opinion, the Fighting Illini have already proven to be a more dynamic offensive team.

Ayo Dosunmu pairs nicely with the Illinois frontcourt, and when Giorgi Bezhanishvili is on, Illinois seemingly scores effortlessly. But I do think the Illini will need Adam Miller to take a step forward if they have real Final Four aspirations. The silky shooting true freshman is just three for his last 16 from long range after a blistering start. I believe he’ll get it working from 3-point land at home in this one, as he did to open the season.

That should be enough to bury a Minnesota team that will likely be shocked by the jump in overall talent.


[Bet Illinois 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
Illinois vs. Minnesota
7 p.m. ET
USC Upstate vs. UNC Greensboro
9 p.m. ET
Furman vs. Alabama

USC Upstate vs. UNC Greensboro (Over 146.5)

By BJ Cunningham


ncaa-college basketball-betting-odds-picks-december 15
USC Upstate Odds +17.5 [BET NOW]
UNC Greensboro Odds -17.5 [BET NOW]
Moneyline +1150 / -2500 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 147.5 [BET NOW]
Time 7 p.m. ET
TV ESPN+
(Photo Credit: Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images).

USC Upstate is one of the worst defenses in the country.

It ranks 340th in defensive efficiency, 302nd in effective field goal percentage, and 305th in 2-point percentage allowed, per KenPom. It also plays a really fast tempo, ranking 46th in the nation, which leads it to them give up a ton of points. Upstate has already allowed over 90 points four times this season and gave up 107 to Winthrop over the weekend.

On the offensive end of the floor, the Spartans rely on the 3-ball, and they actually do it pretty well. Of all their points, 38.6% come from behind the arc (40th-highest percentage in the country), and they are shooting 39.5% from 3, which ranks 31st in college basketball. 

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Outside of Furman, UNC Greensboro is the class of the SoCon. It has a loaded roster coming back that includes Isaiah Miller, who averaged 17.8 points per game last season and is seeking his third straight SoCon Defensive Player of the Year honor, as he averaged almost three steals per game last year. He will have a field day on Tuesday because USC Upstate turns the ball over at a ridiculous rate. 

UNC Greensboro also plays a really fast tempo because it likes to employ a full-court press. It should be able to wreak havoc, but if USC Upstate is able to break the press, it will lead to a lot of open shots from behind the arc.

On the offensive end of the floor, UNC Greensboro is struggling from the floor to begin the season, but it ranks 17th in offensive rebound percentage, so there should be plenty of putbacks available against USC Upstate’s terrible defense. 

I have the total projected at 153.37, so I think there’s plenty of value on over 146.5 points in this game.


[Bet the USC Upstate-UNC Greensboro over 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
Illinois vs. Minnesota
7 p.m. ET
USC Upstate vs. UNC Greensboro
9 p.m. ET
Furman vs. Alabama

 


Furman (+6) vs. Alabama

By Mike Randle


ncaa-college basketball-betting-odds-picks-december 15
Furman Odds +6 [BET NOW]
Alabama Odds -6 [BET NOW]
Moneyline +215 / -265 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 155 [BET NOW]
Time 9 p.m. ET
TV SEC Network
(Photo Credit: Frank Mattia/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images).

No team wants to face Bob Richey’s Furman Paladins squad.

The Paladins are 78-26 under Richey over his four seasons as head coach. Furman’s annual offensive efficiency always ranks among the best in the country, and the 2020-21 season has been no different. Furman is shooting 59.5% from 2, 37% from 3, and 77.6% from the free-throw line. 

But Richey’s squad is also strong on the defensive end, particularly against the 3-ball. The Paladins have held their opponents to 32% or better from beyond the arc, including 29.8% this season.

Junior guard Mike Bothwell (17.7 pts, 5.1 rbs, 4.2 apg) is one of the most under-the-radar players in the nation, shooting 37.5% from deep with two steals per game. Junior Jaylon Pugh is a valuable bench weapon, shooting an insane 61.5% (8-of- 13) from deep in just nine minutes per game. 

Furman’s prolific 3-point shooting is balanced in the frontcourt with versatile forwards Noah Gurley (13.8 ppg, 5.3 rpg), and Clay Mounce (15.8 ppg, 5.7 rpg).

Alabama has played below expectations this season, with just a 46.9% effective field goal percentage, per KenPom.

The Crimson Tide rely heavily on the 3, generating 35.2% of their points from beyond the arc, but they’re only shooting at 29.1% efficiency this season. Richey’s squad will force Alabama to find other ways to score, which has flummoxed the Crimson Tide this season. In their two losses to Stanford and Clemson, Alabama shot just 19.6% (10-of-51) from deep. 

Furman’s weakness is on the boards, which is how Cincinnati limited the Paladins’ second-chance opportunities. Alabama will not be able to replicate that against an experienced Furman team that is better on both ends of the floor.

Per Action Network Data, 96% of the money is on Alabama, which should push this line even higher by tip-off. I’m backing the Paladins +6 and would advise waiting until later in the day when the number could get up to 6.5 or 7.


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

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