College Basketball Best Bets: Indiana Vs. St. John’s Value, Mid-Major Underdogs

Written By Eli Hershkovich on November 17, 2021
college basketball best bets

We’re blessed with a loaded Wednesday slate, highlighted by Indiana taking on St. John’s. Here’s a breakdown of my college basketball best bets, which also include No. 20 Maryland vs. George Mason and No. 16 Arkansas vs. Northern Iowa.

Click on the odds below to bet now, and join the discussion in our betting channel, as we break down the biggest games throughout each week.

College Basketball Best Bets: Wednesday, Nov. 17

George Mason Patriots @ Maryland Terrapins

Remember when Missouri lost to Norfolk State in the 2012 NCAA Tournament? Then-Tigers wing Kim English is now the George Mason head coach, and his Patriots have a chance to stamp their imprint on the college basketball season.

English always aimed to ramp up the pace as a player, and George Mason presents a top-30 adjusted tempo (14.9 seconds per possession) thus far. Maryland’s defense is geared to pin the opposition in the halfcourt because of its length. But if English’s bunch can deliver more of a track meet, it should generate clean looks from behind the arc.

The Patriots are producing a top-60 3-point scoring rate, which is where the Terps are most susceptible. Colorado transfer D’Shawn Schwartz, who played for English while English was an assistant with the Buffaloes, is lethal from distance. They also showcase Morehead State transfer Devon Cooper — a ball hander who can space the floor and attack the rim.

In the end, George Mason getting four possessions against the spread is just too much.

Eli’s College Basketball Best Bets: George Mason +13 (bet down to +10.5 pregame or play it live)
Best Available Line: George Mason

Northern Iowa Panthers @ Arkansas Razorbacks

We bet against the Northern Iowa with Vermont last week. But this game represents a buy-low spot for Ben Jacobson’s team.

The Panthers are accruing the 13th-lowest effective field goal percentage (eFG%) in all of Division I. Star guard A.J. Green, who’s dusting off the cobwebs after suffering a season-ending hip injury in the 2020-21 campaign, is shooting just 31.2% in that department.

  • eFG% is comparable to standard field goal percentage, but it gives 50% more credit to made three-pointers.

That disturbingly low percentage won’t keep up against Arkansas’ defense. Eric Musselman preaches ball pressure, but that also leads to open shots via off-ball movement. The Razorbacks are surrendering a bottom-100 3-point scoring rate, which carries over from last season. Expect Green and Noah Carter to take advantage while aiding UNI’s effort to stay within four possessions ATS.

As long as the Panthers’ offense bounces back, Arkansas guard JD Notae & Co. won’t have as many opportunities to ramp up the pace.

Eli’s College Basketball Best Bets: Northern Iowa +14 (bet down to +13 pregame or play it live)
Best Available Line: Northern Iowa

St. John’s Red Storm @ Indiana Hoosiers

Indiana opened as a 6.5-point home favorite, but bettors have played it down to . So is there enough value in either side at the current number?

As much as St. John’s coach Mike Anderson preaches ball pressure, Mike Woodson is doing the same at his alma mater. The Hoosiers’ defense has delivered a top-50 turnover rate in the small sample size, and the Johnnies are struggling to limit miscues early on.

If Pitt transfer Xavier Johnson has success turning over Red Storm point guard Posh Alexander, look for Indiana to excel in transition. Trayce Jackson-Davis, who’s a Wooden Award candidate (+2000), represents one of the premier rim runners in college basketball. He’s also a dominant rebounder, and St. John’s will likely struggle to accumulate second-chance opportunities in this contest.

There isn’t much pregame value in the spread despite the Hoosiers’ matchup advantages. Let’s see if Woodson’s unit finds itself within a possession in the live betting market, though.

Conclusion: Pass, but monitor Indiana live
Best Available Line: Indiana

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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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