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Wednesday College Basketball Odds & Picks: Mississippi State-Alabama, Kansas-Iowa State

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Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Bully

Eli Hershkovich is an Action Network contributor and produces/hosts the You Better You Bet Podcast on RADIO.COM Sports.

With just ranked five team in action tonight, let’s break down No. 3 Kansas at Iowa State, where the Jayhawks will look to cover for the seventh time in nine games.

But first, Mississippi State travels to Tuscaloosa to face Alabama for an intriguing SEC matchup with buy-low value.

College Basketball Odds & Picks


Odds as of Wednesday morning and via FanDuel, where Action Network users get a risk-free bet up to $500.


Mississippi State at Alabama

  • Spread: Alabama -3.5
  • Over/Under: 155.5
  • Time: 7 p.m. ET
  • TV: SEC Network

These programs are seemingly heading in different directions, as the Crimson Tide have covered in seven straight contests while the Bulldogs have lost four of their past six games ATS.

But the spread is slightly inflated as a result, creating value for Ben Howland’s bunch, which is just starting to get fully healthy with junior guard Nick Weatherspoon back from last season’s neck injury. MSU also failed to cover against Auburn on Saturday because the Tigers found their 3-point stroke in the second half.

Tonight, Mississippi State will have a major size advantage against an Alabama team that has issues containing its opponents outside the paint.

The Bulldogs have generated the 80th-highest 2-point scoring rate in the country. Look for Reggie Perry and Co. should have their way inside and generate second-chance opportunities via college basketball’s second-highest offensive rebounding rate.

At the other end, expect the Bulldogs’ on-ball defense (20.3% opponents’ turnover rate) to cause havoc versus an Alabama unit that’s allowed the 27th-highest steal rate. MSU’s Weatherspoon, Robert Woodard, Tyson Carter are tremendous at pushing the tempo off opponents’ turnovers, too.

Howland’s crew should be extremely engaged in search of their first conference win of the season, and it’ll deliver a cover as a result.

The Pick: Mississippi State +3.5

Kansas at Iowa State

  • Spread: Kansas -6.5
  • Over/Under: 146
  • Time: 8 p.m. ET
  • TV: ESPN+

The Jayhawks should dominate the Cyclones, but the spot scares me a bit with Iowa State coming off consecutive outright losses, including Saturday’s defeat at TCU. Kansas also lost straight-up at Hilton Coliseum a season ago.

I’ll be looking for a live betting opportunity in this one, especially if Iowa State comes out fired up in hopes of possibly saving its season. Steve Prohm’s squad should bother the Jayhawks (20.2% turnover rate) with its ball pressure, tallying the 38th-highest turnover rate in the nation.

There could be a look-ahead effect as well with No. 4 Baylor on-deck for the Jayhawks come Saturday.

Once Kansas settles in, Bill Self’s crew will expose the Cyclones around the rim with its imposing size advantage. The Jayhawks have racked up 14.5% of their 2-pointers via dunks, the third-highest rate in college hoops.

Iowa State has yielded the 110th-highest 2-point scoring rate, so Kansas point guard Devon Dotson should find plenty of room inside to attack the lane and find bigs Udoka Azubuike and David McCormick. Wings Ochai Agbaji and Marcus Garrett are both excellent at getting to the basket off the dribble drive, too.

Plus, the Jayhawks have notched the 57th-lowest free-throw percentage in the country (65.6%), so attempting to cover a 6.5-point line with free throws down the stretch is no lock.

The Pick: Kansas live -2.5 or better

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