College Basketball Best Bets: Gonzaga vs. UCLA Promo, Houston vs. Wisconsin Picks

Written By Eli Hershkovich on November 23, 2021
College Basketball Best Bets

With 10 ranked teams in action, we’re blessed with another loaded slate during Feast Week. Let’s break down my college basketball best bets, including No. 1 Gonzaga vs. No. 2 UCLA and No. 12 Houston vs. Wisconsin.

Click on the odds below to bet now. You can also continue the discussion in our betting community, as we break down all of the games throughout the week.

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College Basketball Best Bets: Tuesday, Nov. 23

No. 12 Houston Cougars vs. Wisconsin Badgers

I’ve always been a strong advocate for Kelvin Sampson’s pressure defense with Houston. In fact, I had 125-1 title futures on the Cougars when they nearly upset Kentucky in the 2019 NCAA Tournament.

But this spread shifting three points after opening at Houston -4.5 is an overreaction in the Maui Invitational semifinals. For one, its top-20 opponents’ turnover rate won’t generate many miscues against Wisconsin’s sound ball handlers. The Badgers boast the 15th-lowest turnover clip in college basketball — led by lead guard Brad Davison.

Greg Gard’s bunch also presents a size edge and generates a top-55 offensive rebounding rate. Sampson’s Cougars teams have traditionally dominated the glass with gang rebounding, but it’s struggled to limit second-chance opportunities this season. Wisconsin will be in position to play at a methodical pace if it’s steady on the boards.

Plus, the Badgers possess perimeter threats despite their inability to consistently knock down threes in a small sample size. Davison (36.0%) and wing Johnny Davis (34.0%) are both proven shooters while sophomore big man Steven Crowl represents a key floor-spacer.

Houston is surrendering the 11th-highest 3-point scoring rate in the country, so Wisconsin will have its fair share of open looks from behind the arc. Hence, I’d anticipate some positive shooting luck.

Although the Badgers’ perimeter defense is susceptible too, this inflated number is still worth betting.

Eli’s College Basketball Best Bets: Wisconsin +7.5 (bet down to +7)
Best Available Line: Wisconsin

No. 1 Gonzaga Bulldogs vs. No. 2 UCLA Bruins

This game is rematch of last season’s Final Four, in which now departed freshman sensation Jalen Suggs knocked off UCLA at the buzzer in overtime.

Some bettors are scratching their heads seeing the Bruins as hefty underdogs on a neutral court in the Empire Classic, especially with Mick Cronin’s team sitting at No. 2 in the AP Top 25. But UCLA slots in at No. 5 in my CBB power rankings.

If their previous matchup is impacting your perception this time around, ShotQuality determined that Gonzaga was expected to win that contest by 22 points based on the shots taken. The Bruins generated 1.02 points per possession (PPP) on mid-range jumpers — albeit tallying 0.90 PPP in that department in the 2020-21 campaign. The Bulldogs shot just 60.0% from the free-throw line as well.

On top of that, Cronin’s unit is yielding the 80th-highest two-point scoring rate this season. With UCLA forward Cody Riley (knee) out, expect Gonzaga to attack the rim at will with Wooden Award favorite Drew Timme (+175). Chet Holmgren — the top-ranked player in the 2021 recruiting class — could even see his first mismatch against a high-major opponent.

Overall, the Bulldogs own a slight height advantage and should be in position to dictate the pace while winning the rebounding battle.

This contest could boil down to point guard play too. The Bruins’ Tyger Campbell has been tremendous in his junior campaign, notching a 9.2% turnover rate. But I’m anticipating a breakout performance from Andrew Nembhard, whose foot speed and vision in transition will pose an issue for UCLA.

I’m in agreement with the market shifting the line after opening at Gonzaga -5.5, but there’s not enough value. There could be some movement based on Cronin’s postgame comments about the team dealing with the flu as well.

Eli’s College Basketball Best Bets: Pass
Best Available Line: Gonzaga

DraftKings Sportsbook Promo For Gonzaga vs. UCLA

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The first pregame spread bet is the qualifying bet. Excludes live bets, parlays, cash out bets, free bets, voided bets, alternate spreads, and odds boosts. Free bet issues by 11:59 p.m. ET on Nov. 24.

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Eli Hershkovich Avatar
Written by
Eli Hershkovich

Eli Hershkovich is a lead sports betting writer with TheLines and Catena Media, formerly with Audacy and The Action Network. His goal is to provide you with data and information to lead you to winning bets. Eli is an avid college basketball gambler — among many other sports — and still hasn't forgiven Virginia for ruining his 2018-2019 Texas Tech futures.

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