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College Basketball Picks, Betting Odds (Wednesday, March 4): Temple vs. Tulsa, Eastern Illinois vs. Jacksonville State

College Basketball Picks, Betting Odds (Wednesday, March 4): Temple vs. Tulsa, Eastern Illinois vs. Jacksonville State article feature image

David Stacy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Elijah Joiner

  • Looking for college basketball betting picks for Wednesday night? You've come to the right place.
  • The struggling Temple Owls are 2.5-point favorites over Tulsa tonight, while Eastern Illinois is a 2.5-point favorite over Jacksonville State in the first round of the Ohio Valley Tournament.
  • Mike Randle offers picks and analysis for both matchups below.

The first week in March provides the perfect balance between end-of-regular-season big conference games and the start of the mid-major tournaments.

Wednesday brings us one battle from each category, both of which have close spreads.

In the AAC, Tulsa travels to Temple to try and earn a quality road win on their way to a regular-season conference title.

In the Ohio Valley Conference, Eastern Illinois tries to stay on their hot streak in a first-round battle against Jacksonville State.

Let’s see who we should back in these tight March contests.

Wednesday College Basketball Odds & Picks

Odds as of Wednesday morning and via BetMGM. Get up to a $500 risk-free bet at BetMGM today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.

Temple vs. Tulsa

  • Spread: Temple -2.5
  • Over/Under: 131
  • Time: 7 p.m. ET
  • TV: ESPN+

Temple (14-15) has struggled down the stretch, losing four of its last five games. The Owls’ only win during that time was a double-overtime home victory over Connecticut. They are just 13-16 against the spread including just 2-3 in their last five games.

Tulsa (20-9) is tied atop the AAC with Houston at 12-4. The Golden Hurricanes have won five of their last six games and are on a three-game winning streak. They are 17-12 ATS including 4-2 in their last six conference road games.

The Golden Hurricanes continue to be undervalued by the betting market. That is partly because of their slow and deliberate offensive pace, ranking 302nd in adjusted tempo per KenPom. Tulsa has also been one of the best under teams with a 21-8 (72.4%) cover rate this season.

Frank Haith’s team is superb defensively, ranking top 40 in the country in both adjusted defensive efficiency and defensive turnover percentage.

Temple plays fast on offense but is not necessarily efficient. The Owls rank 308th or worse in both effective field goal percentage and 2P%. They also underwhelm at the free-throw line shooting just 68.5%.

In their first meeting this season, Tulsa crushed the Owls 70-44, holding Temple to just 32.5% (13 of 40)  from inside the arc and 20% (5 of 25) from deep.

The Golden Hurricanes have overcome some nagging individual injuries and are now fully healthy. Junior guard Brandon Rachel (12.4 ppg, 5.7 rpg) played his best game in two weeks against UCF with 11 points and four rebounds in Tulsa’s 65-54 win. Rachal teamed with Jeriah Horne to score 42 points in their first meeting with the Owls.

Now fully healthy, I expect Tulsa to finish off a great season with at least a share of the AAC title. I’ll take the 2.5 points against a Temple team that has lost three straight games and struggled mightily against Tulsa earlier this season.

Pick:  Tulsa +2.5

Eastern Illinois vs. Jacksonville State

  • Spread: Eastern Illinois -2.5
  • Over/Under: 137.5
  • Time: 10 p.m. ET
  • TV: ESPN+
  • Location: Evansville, Ind. (neutral site)

Eastern Illinois (16-14) enters the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament on a four-game winning streak. The Panthers started that run with an incredible 27-point second-half comeback against Murray State. They are just 12-16 ATS but have covered three of their last four games.

Jacksonville State (13-18) starts conference tournament play with a 3-3 record over their past six games. The Gamecocks have struggled away from home with just one win in their past five road games. They are 11-7-1 ATS and have covered just one of their past six games.

One of the keys to Eastern Illinois’ late-season run has been their turnover efficiency on both sides of the floor. The Panthers rank second in the Ohio Valley Conference in both offensive and defensive turnover efficiency.

Their main weakness on defense is against the 3P, allowing opponents to shoot 37% from beyond the arc. Fortunately for Eastern Illinois, the Gamecocks have only produced 26.4% of their points from deep.

Jacksonville State is also due for some regression, as its opponents have shot just 67.2% from the free-throw line in conference play. The Gamecocks don’t help themselves in that regard, shooting just 68.9% (247th) as a team.

Eastern Illinois should be able to attack Jacksonville State inside the arc where the Gamecocks have allowed opponents to shoot an efficient 54.6%.

Junior Josiah Wallace (15.5 ppg, 4.5 rpg) has scored 20 or more points in seven of the Panthers’ last eight games and totaled 20 points, five rebounds, and four assists in Eastern Illinois’ 70-69 win earlier this year.

I’m taking a hot Panthers team to carry their late-season push right into Ohio Valley Conference Tournament against a Jacksonville State team that has struggled away from home.

Pick:  Eastern Illinois -2.5

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