Tuesday College Basketball Best Bets: Our Staff’s 4 Favorite Picks, Including Kansas vs. Creighton, Iowa vs. North Carolina (December 8)

Tuesday College Basketball Best Bets: Our Staff’s 4 Favorite Picks, Including Kansas vs. Creighton, Iowa vs. North Carolina (December 8) article feature image
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Michael Hickey/Getty Images. Pictured: Leaky Black.

  • Today marks one of the best days of college basketball since the season started.
  • With a number of ranked teams taking the floor, our college basketball staff broke down four games oozing with betting value.
  • Take a look at the full betting breakdowns complete with picks below.

Tuesday marks one of the best days of the young college basketball season thus far.

Ten ranked teams will be in action in a number of cross-conference showdowns, and four of those teams found their way onto our college basketball staff’s Tuesday betting card.

With so many key early-season games taking place, it can be difficult to nail down value. But look no further. Check out our staff’s breakdowns for four different games below, complete with analysis and 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
3 p.m. ET
Iona vs. Morgan State
5 p.m. ET
Kansas vs. Creighton
7:30 p.m. ET
Iowa vs. North Carolina
8 p.m. ET
Memphis vs. Mississippi Valley State

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
3 p.m. ET
Iona vs. Morgan State
5 p.m. ET
Kansas vs. Creighton
7:30 p.m. ET
Iowa vs. North Carolina
8 p.m. ET
Memphis vs. Mississippi Valley State

Iona (-8) vs. Morgan State

By Mike Randle


ncaa-college basketball-betting-odds-picks-december 8
Iona Odds -8.5 [BET NOW]
Morgan State Odds +8.5 [BET NOW]
Moneyline +420 / +310 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 141.5 [BET NOW]
Time 3 p.m. ET
TV ESPN3
(Photo Credit: Joan Valls/Urbanandsport /NurPhoto via Getty Images).

I predict this will be the last time we can back the Iona Gaels at such a discount. Rick Pitino’s presence transforms teams, especially in a small conference such as the MAAC. 

Iona just returned from an impressive 82-74 road win against a good Hofstra team. Now, it hosts its home opener against Morgan State, which lost to Mount St. Mary’s at home in its opening game. Morgan State’s only other game came against Division II Lincoln (PA). Coming into New Rochelle to battle Pitino’s pressing attack will be a shock to the system. 

Under second-year head coach Kevin Broadus, the Bears have not fared well on the road in non-conference. They were just 2-7 last year and lost outright to the Mount this season. 

Iona excels at forcing turnovers and has hit the offensive boards well in its first two games, out-rebounding Hofstra, 43-31. Senior guard Isaiah Ross (28 ppg) is off to a scalding hot start, with junior transfer Berrick JeanLouis serving as a box score slot machine with per-game averages of 7.5 points, 6.1 rebounds, 3.1 steals, and 2.5 blocks.

Freshman Nelly Junior Joseph (13.5 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 3.5 bpg) brings high energy and a strong interior presence, which allows the guards to press hard on the perimeter. 

Iona was beating Seton Hall in the second half of its opening game until a lack of practice from COVID-19 quarantine sapped its energy. There was no such problem at Hofstra on Saturday. 

Morgan State is a dark horse MEAC contender but isn’t ready for the Iona pressure in its home opener. I’m backing Iona and laying the points in a projected double-digit win.


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

CLICK THE DROPDOWN ARROW TO EASILY NAVIGATE TO ANY GAME
Tip Time
Matchup
3 p.m. ET
Iona vs. Morgan State
5 p.m. ET
Kansas vs. Creighton
7:30 p.m. ET
Iowa vs. North Carolina
8 p.m. ET
Memphis vs. Mississippi Valley State

Kansas vs. Creighton (Over 147.5)

By Tanner McGrath


ncaa-college basketball-betting-odds-picks-december 8
Kansas Odds -3.5 [BET NOW]
Creighton Odds +3.5 [BET NOW]
Moneyline -175 / +140 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 148.5 [BET NOW]
Time 5 p.m. ET
TV ESPN
(Photo Credit: Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images).

Most fans will be watching North Carolina-Iowa and Illinois-Duke this evening, but don’t overlook this battle between the Creighton Blue Jays and the Kansas Jayhawks.

The Creighton offense is electric. Last season, it was heavily influenced by 3-point shooting. Of all of its attempts, 37.6% came from 3-point range (30th in the country), and it made 38.7% of them (sixth in the country). 

However, Creighton’s been working the ball inside more. This season, Creighton’s only taking 30.5% of its shots from 3-point range (138th in the country) and is shooting 66.3% on attempts from 2-point range (second in the country). 

Either way, the Creighton offense continues to produce. The Bluejays ranked third in offensive efficiency last year and currently rank sixth in that metric through three games.

Bill Self’s Jayhawks are much more defensive-minded. Kansas ranked second in defensive efficiency last season and currently ranks fifth in that metric through five games. However, as stifling as this defense is, it can be exploited.

For example, against Gonzaga, Kansas allowed 68 points from 2-point range on just 44 attempts. The Jayhawks currently rank 137th in Opponent Effective FG% and 179th in opponent 2-point percentage. 

Therefore, I lean betting Creighton here. However, Creighton’s defense isn’t very impressive, either. It ranked 78th in defensive efficiency last season and ranks outside the top-50 in that metric this season.

Instead, I’m going to play the over. Both Creighton and Kansas rank in the top 40 in average offensive possession length, so I’m expecting them to push the ball and score often. Additionally, early Action Network data shows big money on the over, as it’s getting just 33% of the bets but 95% of the money. 


[Bet the Kansas-Creighton 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
3 p.m. ET
Iona vs. Morgan State
5 p.m. ET
Kansas vs. Creighton
7:30 p.m. ET
Iowa vs. North Carolina
8 p.m. ET
Memphis vs. Mississippi Valley State

 


Iowa vs. North Carolina (Under 156)

By Michael Calabrese


ncaa-college basketball-betting-odds-picks-december 8
Iowa Odds -4.5 [BET NOW]
North Carolina Odds +4.5 [BET NOW]
Moneyline -210 / +170 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 156 [BET NOW]
Time 7:30 p.m. ET
TV ESPN
(Photo Credit: Matthew Holst/Getty Images).

Iowa is in the top three of the AP Poll for just the second time since 1987.

It’s been carried to the top of the polls by Luka Garza, who is embarking on an absolutely absurd senior season. The Hawkeyes centerpiece is averaging 34 and 10, with a Win Score of 22.5. To put that efficiency stat in its proper perspective, the record for Win Score in a season was set back in 2011 when Morehead State’s Kenneth Faried posted a 17.1 average. Garza is on pace to obliterate that record. 

Iowa is pumping in 99.7 points per game, but it’s been doing it against tin cans. North Carolina Central, Southern and Western Illinois had no chance whatsoever of slowing Garza.

And that’s why this total has opened with an implied final score of Iowa 81, UNC 75. But when you examine a couple of factors, it’s clear that the total is slated too high. 

The first is North Carolina’s frontcourt. Garrison Brooks, Day’Ron Sharpe and Armando Bacot will come at Garza in waves. If they can coax a “human” performance out of him, this under really has legs.

Keep in mind that the last six performances in which Garza has scored 20 or fewer points, the under has gone 5-1. 

If that recent history doesn’t do it for you, how about some ancient history? Since his arrival in Chapel Hill, Roy Williams’ teams have been a sure under play when taking the floor as a road underdog. Since 2003, unders in those situations have cashed 63.3% of the time. 

Iowa is far from a one-man show, but given North Carolina’s predicted strategy of slowing it down, frontcourt size and track record as road underdogs, I’m comfortable making the under my play of the night.


[Bet the Iowa-North Carolina under 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
3 p.m. ET
Iona vs. Morgan State
5 p.m. ET
Kansas vs. Creighton
7:30 p.m. ET
Iowa vs. North Carolina
8 p.m. ET
Memphis vs. Mississippi Valley State

 


Memphis vs. Mississippi State Valley (Over 155)

By BJ Cunningham


ncaa-college basketball-betting-odds-picks-december 8
Memphis Odds -43 [BET NOW]
Mississippi State Valley Odds +43 [BET NOW]
Moneyline N/A
Over/Under 155 [BET NOW]
Time 8 p.m. ET
TV ESPN+
(Photo Credit: Joe Murphy/Getty Image).

For those who are not aware, Mississippi Valley State is the worst team in college basketball. It’s dead last in defensive efficiency, giving up a whopping 1.15 points per possession. In fact, it gave up 142 points to Collin Wilson’s Arkansas Razorbacks to open the season.

The reason it gives up so many points is that it plays with the fastest tempo in the country. Last season, it ranked first in tempo and dead last in defensive efficiency, which leads to it giving up a crazy amount of points. Since 2019, the Delta Devils have allowed over 100 points eight times, which is almost unheard of in college basketball these days. 

Memphis struggled offensively last season, mostly due to injuries and the departure of top recruit James Weisman after only three games.

However, Penny Hardaway has a loaded team coming back and added a top 10 recruit in Moussa Cisse. The Tigers now have one of the most athletic teams in the country and are projected to finish second in the American.  

Their offense struggled in their losses against Western Kentucky and VCU but have really turned up to a new level the last two games, shooting well over 50% from the floor and pumping in 1.48 points per possession. 

Memphis is going to score 100+ on Mississippi Valley because the Tigers play with the 11th-fastest pace in the country. I have this game projected for 162.87 points, so this is going to be an absolute track meet. I’ll take over 155 points and would play it up to 157.5.


[Bet the Memphis-Mississippi Valley State 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
3 p.m. ET
Iona vs. Morgan State
5 p.m. ET
Kansas vs. Creighton
7:30 p.m. ET
Iowa vs. North Carolina
8 p.m. ET
Memphis vs. Mississippi Valley State

 

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