Saturday College Basketball Best Bets: Low-Scoring Affair In Charlottesville?

Written By Eli Hershkovich on December 17, 2022
College Basketball Best Bets

One of the marquee matchups on Saturday’s college basketball odds board features No. 2 Virginia against No. 5 Houston. Despite the ‘Hoos ranking higher in the latest AP Top 25, they’re a small home underdog at some shops. Let’s break down my college basketball best bets for this top-5 affair.

Join our Discord betting channel (under the #roles server) and get an immediate notification for whenever I make a bet. Click on any of the odds below to place a wager, too.

Houston at Virginia: Spread, Moneyline, Total

Unless you’ve been living under a rock to start the season, you’d expect to see both of these teams in my college basketball power rankings. Subscribe to Outside Shots on TheLines Podcast Network, as Scott Phillips and I break down everything college hoops betting, including Saturday’s loaded slate.

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Reece Beekman’s Injury Status

The 6-foot-3 junior guard has developed into one of the better all-around players in the country — highlighted by his 13th-ranked assist rate. However, Beekman has been dealing with a hamstring and ankle injury. His status for Saturday’s affair is truly a toss-up.

Whether Beekman is limited or forced to sit on the pine, his off-the-dribble skillset will be sorely missed against the Cougars’ elite interior defense. Not only does Houston’s ball pressure limit opponents from attacking the rim, yet it’s also let up the 14th-lowest ShotQuality PPP when they squeeze their way into the lane.

With that in mind, Kihei Clarke will be the primary ball handler. The fifth-year grad student is certainly capable of handling the Cougars’ airtight defense, minimizing their transition opportunities via his low turnover rate.

Approaching The Total

This market initially opened at 114. Unsurprisingly, it represented the combined score when these programs squared off last season. If you don’t recall, the ‘Hoos were handed 67-47 loss.

Moreover, Virginia allowed Houston to tally 1.14 PPP in that contest. However, its personnel at the time wasn’t fully acclimated to Tony Bennett’s pack-line defense. This unit is much more adept in that regard, yielding a below-average scoring percentage from inside the arc.

Similar to the Cougars, teams have success against ‘Hoos by knocking down perimeter shots. They’re surrendering the 19th-highest open 3-point rate across DI. Nevertheless, Houston’s backcourt tandem of Marcus Sasser and Tramon Mark aren’t consistent enough marksmen to take advantage. Kelvin Sampson’s crew isn’t due for much positive regression in that department, either.

On the flip side, Virginia is due for a bit more negative variance from behind the arc after tallying a 39.6% clip to date. Much of its success came against Baylor on Nov. 18, hitting eight 3-pointers during an eight-minute, second-half stretch.

Considering that both programs operate at a bottom-30 Adjusted Tempo (per KenPom), this game projects to be a methodical slugfest. Even if the Cougars showcase their offensive rebounding prowess, they’ll still wind up milking clock in the process.

Related: 2023 March Madness Futures Odds

College Basketball Best Bets Conclusion

I bet u114 on Friday afternoon, which you’ll find in our aforementioned Discord betting channel. Play this total down to 112.5. Good luck with your own college basketball best bets.

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