College Basketball Odds & Picks: Our 7 Best Bets, Including Dayton vs. Rhode Island, Illinois vs. Northwestern & More (Tuesday, Feb. 16)
Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Ayo Dosunmu.
- After a quiet Monday slate, our college hoops writers were ready to go with picks to share for Tuesday's games.
- Our staff hand-picked seven games, ranging from Bowling Green vs. Ball State to Illinois vs. Northwestern, to break down and share betting picks for.
- Check out each individual breakdown compete with odds and a pick below.
After a small Monday slate, it’s only right that our college basketball staff was ready to pounce on Tuesday’s games.
Our staff found seven games to break down as their favorite bets of the day, ranging from under-the-radar games like Wagner vs. Mount St. Mary’s to high-profile games such as Dayton vs. Rhode Island and Illinois vs. Northwestern.
Check out the full analysis and picks for all seven games, and feel free to navigate to any game by using the table below.
College Basketball Odds & Picks
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Florida vs. No. 24 Arkansas
Florida travels to the Bud Walton Arena to face Arkansas on Tuesday Night.
The Gators are 10-5 on the year but 10-2 when they have scored 70 or more points. That milestone should be easily reached against a Razorback team that loves to get into shootouts and has allowed opponents to score 70 or more points in 13 games this year.
Florida owns the third-most efficient offense in the SEC, according to KenPom, averaging 107.2 points per every 100 possessions. It shoots the second-highest field goal percentage in SEC contests, averaging 53.0% from the field.
Florida is one of the more well-balanced offenses in the country, boasting five players who average double figures in scoring.
Defensively, it makes life tough inside the paint for its opponents, blocking 16.2% of all field goal attempts.
I still am not a believer in the Razorbacks at this point in the season. Although they’re 16-5, they have only beaten one team ranked inside the KenPom top 50, and that was against Missouri last time out.
Besides that game, they are 0-5 against that type of competition, losing by an average of 13.8 points. Florida is ranked 28th in the KenPom rankings and will apply pressure to Arkansas at each position on the court.
Before Florida’s loss to South Carolina its last game out, it had won four in a row. That includes wins over West Virginia, Tennessee, Georgia, and Vanderbilt.
Florida has more quality wins in the last two weeks than Arkansas does all season. I have this game closer to a 2.5-point spread and am backing the Gators +5 in a game I believe they may win outright.
Pick: Florida +5
Wagner vs. Mount St. Mary’s
Knott Arena will host the slowest-paced game of the Tuesday slate when Mount St. Mary’s hosts Wagner.
These teams rank 334th and 356th in tempo nationally, but additional defensive stats make this an under game.
Mount St. Mary’s fields the highest-rated defensive efficiency in all of the Northeast Conference, ranking first in numerous categories. One area the Mountaineers do not excel on defense is steal percentage, which may extend Wagner possessions for the length of the shot clock.
Free-throw rate is also a hidden stat that can put points on the scoreboard with the clock stopped. Mount St. Mary’s is the best team defensively with the lowest rate of sending opponents to the free-throw line.
On the other side of the court, Mount St. Mary’s is the worst offense at drawing fouls. This should not be a game in which both the Seahawks and Mountaineers shoot from the charity stripe, making this a great candidate for an under.
Pick: Under 125
Dayton vs. Rhode Island (3 Bets)
Pat McMahon: Rhode Island -3.5
This season hasn’t gone to plan for either Rhode Island or Dayton, and the Rams have particularly struggled.
Rhode Island currently sits in 10th place in the A-10, with a record of 9-12 overall, and 6-8 in A-10 play. It heads into Tuesday night’s matchup losers of four straight.
Its struggles have stemmed from a combination of injuries and inconsistent offensive production. Star guard Fatts Russell has dealt with several minor injuries this season and has mostly fought through them. He played a season-low 19 minutes in Rhode Island’s loss at Dayton on Jan. 30. He missed the next game against VCU but has suited up for the Rams’ latest two contests.
He looked to be a lot more comfortable on the court at Saint Louis last Wednesday, logging 15 points and seven rebounds in 34 minutes.
With Russell getting back to full strength, the Rams are near the healthiest they’ve been all season and boast a deep bench, with 10 players seeing consistent minutes. Now, they just need to improve their shooting, which has been dreadful during their four-game losing streak.
The Rams shot less than 40% from the floor in both losses to Dayton and Saint Louis. They were a bit better in home losses to UMass and VCU though, eclipsing 40% from the field but shooting below 30% from the 3-point line.
While there’s no guarantee they turn things around against Dayton, they are due for some positive regression at some point. Besides Russell, several other players are capable of getting hot from 3, as five different Rams have double-digit 3-point makes on the year.
One of the main reasons I have confidence in Rhode Island in this spot is its defense. The Rams have been great on the defensive end all season, ranking 32nd in defensive efficiency, per KenPom.
The Dayton offense has been solid but nowhere near as effective as it was last season.
While Jalen Crutcher and Ibi Watson have done a nice job leading the offense, their supporting cast is severely depleted. Chase Johnson left the program mid-season, and Rodney Chatman is out with a broken hand. Both players were averaging double figures, and the offense hasn’t been the same without them.
The Flyers could really struggle to get into a rhythm against a deep and athletic Rhode Island defense. The Rams will come out playing hard for Russell on senior night and have already proven they can beat good teams at home.
They boast wins over Seton Hall and St. Bonaventure in the Ryan center, and I think they add another quality home victory to their resume over the Flyers on Tuesday night.
Stuckey: Dayton +3.5
I’ll keep this short and sweet.
Dayton is my biggest edge today at +3.5, as my updated power ratings make the line right around 1.5 since I have these two teams almost dead even on a neutral court.
I’d play this at +3 or above.
Mike Randle: Dayton +3.5
There are times when it’s just a bad matchup. Dayton is just a bad matchup for Rhode Island.
The Flyers defeated Rhode Island, 67-56, at home on Jan. 30. In that game, Rhode Island’s leading scorer, Fatts Russell, was injured in the first half and did not return. The Flyers forced 11 turnovers and held the Rams to just 22.7% (5-of-22) from 3-point range.
Dayton is led by senior Jalen Crutcher (18.7 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 4.8 apg). The Flyers are one of the few teams that have a player who can limit Russell’s production.
They also have a size advantage inside with 6-foot-11 senior Jordy Tshimanga (6.9 ppg, 8.1 rpg), who tallied 11 points and eight rebounds in just 22 minutes in the first meeting.
The Rams offense has really struggled in A-10 play, ranking 10th in both 3-point percentage and free-throw efficiency in conference play.
The Flyers offense is superior in every metric and faces a Rams team that has lost four games in a row.
I’m taking the 3.5 points with the underdog Flyers, as they go for the season sweep at Rhode Island.
Pick: Dayton +3.5
Bowling Green vs. Ball State
Ball State and Bowling Green meet on Tuesday in Muncie with both teams smack dab in the middle of the MAC standings.
Bowling Green’s offense has really struggled since it entered conference play, as it’s shooting only 30.9% from 3-point range and 48.5% from inside the arc.
Before its 88-81 upset win over Toledo this past weekend, the Falcons had been on a six-game losing streak and failed to break the 70-point mark in four of those games.
The problem for Bowling Green is it’s too reliant on star player Justin Turner. He far and away has the highest usage rate on the team and takes almost 30% of Bowling Green’s shots on offense. So, if a team can shut Turner down, it shuts Bowling Green down.
Ball State’s defense has been solid during conference play, allowing only 1.03 points per possession. It defends the perimeter really well, allowing under 31% from 3-point range.
In fact, in its first meeting with Bowling Green, when it walked away with a 88-64 win on the road, the Cardinals held the Falcons to just 5-of-24 shooting from 3-point range.
Ball State’s offense hasn’t been great ever since it entered conference play, but the last time it faced Bowling Green, it absolutely shredded the defense for 1.19 points per possession.
The Cardinals also dominated the Falcons inside, shooting 63.3% from 2-point range. But not only that, they also exploited Bowling Green’s weakness on defense, which is defending the 3-ball, by shooting over 40% from deep.
In fact, Ball State destroyed Toledo the last time it was on the floor by shooting 15-of-37 from 3-point range. Bowling Green allows almost 35% from t3, so if the Cardinals can shoot a high percentage from beyond the arc, they should be able to walk away with a win.
I have Ball State projected a -0.20 favorite, so I think there’s some value on their moneyline of +112.
Pick: Ball State ML +112
Northwestern vs. #5 Illinois
Illinois has played its way into one-seed consideration, which means it won’t be overlooking the lowly Wildcats, particularly after its near gutter ball at Nebraska last week.
The Fighting Illini are an impressive 8-3 ATS on their home floor and boat raced the Wildcats in Evanston by 25 in early January. Since then, Northwestern has been in freefall. The Cats have lost 11 consecutive games SU and posted a 2-8-1 record at the betting window during that stretch.
Stylistically, NW doesn’t have the kind of offense to keep up with an Illini team that has scored 75+ in six straight.
Northwestern is a middle-of-the-pack team from a shooting perspective, but its real shortcoming is on the offensive glass. Northwestern’s offensive rebound percentage is 336th in all of D-I, which makes it hard to envision a high-scoring effort from the Cats if (and when) their shots aren’t falling.
From a personnel perspective, NW will also struggle to check Kofi Cockburn.
In their first meeting, Cockburn shot 8-for-9 from the field, and finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds. With Cockburn providing consistent inside scoring, the floor really opens up for Ayo Dosunmu and Trent Frazier.
Frazier, a smooth lefty, has been coming on as of late, connecting on 37% of his 3-point attempts in his last six games. The Wildcats are happy to allow plenty of 3-point attempts (23.9 3PA, 284th), so if Frazier continues to knock down shots at his current clip, this game could get away from NW quickly.
I feel comfortable fading a NW team that is 3-7 ATS when facing ranked opponents this season, and Illinois should be focused after it received a wake-up call in Lincoln.
I’ll also consider playing this on the alternate line up to -16.5.
Pick: Illinois -12.5