College Basketball Best Bets: Value In Pair Of Mid-Majors Wednesday Night

Written By Eli Hershkovich on December 8, 2021
College Basketball Best Bets

Although there aren’t any ranked matchups on Wednesday’s slate, seven AP top-25 teams are in action. Let’s break down my college basketball bests bets for No. 21 Ohio State vs. Towson and No. 24 BYU vs. Utah State. I also dive into my perspective on No. 15 UConn at West Virginia.

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

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No. 15 Connecticut Huskies at West Virginia Mountaineers

This contest boils down to the injury bug, as the Huskies will be without their big man Adama Sanogo (abdominal) and guard Tyrese Martin (wrist). Mountaineers guard Sean McNeil (back) is considered day-to-day, so his status is unknown.

Even without the 6-foot-9 Sanogo, UConn’s interior defense could overwhelm a West Virginia team that’s reliant on scoring around the rim. Danny Hurley’s bunch is surrendering the 17th-lowest near-proximity field goal percentage (lay-ups, dunks and tip-ins via Haslametrics), and Isiah Whaley leads the charge upfront with a top-50 block rate.

Despite the Mountaineers lacking a threatening low-post big, they amass close twos because of their pressure defense too. It’s not Bob Huggins’ patented “Press Virginia,” yet they’ve accrued the second-highest turnover rate in college basketball.

The Huskies struggled to limit miscues against full-court ball pressure in the Battle 4 Atlantis. But the expectation would be that Hurley has reinforced the issue ad nauseam, especially before this affair.

I’ll wait to see if this line hits UConn +3 before adding it to the card. Whether or not McNeil suits up is a key factor as well. At times, he’s a microwave three-point shooter.

  • Update: McNeil is expected to play, which should drive the market towards WVU before tip-off.

Eli’s Bet: UConn +2.5 (-106, placed on Wednesday night at FanDuel Sportsbook)
College Basketball Best Bets: UConn +2.5 or better
Best Available Line: UConn

Towson Tigers at No. 21 Ohio State Buckeyes

Here’s a prime example of an overvalued team in the betting market. Chris Holtmann’s squad is coming off wins versus No. 3 Duke and at Penn State, and it could be looking ahead towards Saturday’s contest against No. 22 Wisconsin.

Plus, a five-possession spread is plenty with both programs delivering a bottom-100 average possession length. Towson even tallies a top-60 rebounding rate at both ends, which will help generate second-chance opportunities. Ohio State’s E.J. Liddell and Zed Key have failed to limit opponents in that department.

Tigers guard Terry Nolan, who missed their win over Kent State on Monday, is expected be in the lineup. Nevertheless, the 6-foot-5 Cam Holden took over as the floor general in that matchup, and the versatile forward represents a mismatch for Holtmann’s pack-line defense.

Eli’s Bet: Towson +15.5 (placed on Wednesday morning at FanDuel Sportsbook)
College Basketball Best Bets: Towson +14.5 or better
Best Available Line: Towson

Utah State Aggies at No. 24 BYU Cougars

Similar to UConn, BYU’s depth is being test — with Cougars forward Gavin Baxter (knee) out for the season while Gideon George (illness) is considered day-to-day. This game boils down to the Cougars’ defensive shooting luck, though.

Mark Pope’s group is letting up the four-lowest perimeter scoring rate in the country. That metric should begin to regress against a Utah State unit that’s notching the 47th-highest three-point percentage (37.3%) versus the average opponent. Former UMBC coach Ryan Odom operates a five-out offense, and all of his starters are capable of knocking down shots from behind the arc.

Not only has do-it-all forward Justin Bean improved his perimeter touch, but he’s an elite offensive rebounder as well. Utah State presents a size advantage overall, so expect the Aggies to notch some easy buckets via offensive rebounds. Keep in mind, the Cougars are allowing the 26th-highest two-point scoring rate.

After opening as a three-possession road underdog, the market jumped all over Utah State, which is the right move. Look for it to come out ultra-aggressive after a questionable foul call led to its latest loss against Saint Mary’s.

Eli’s Bet: Utah State +8.5 (placed on Tuesday night at FanDuel Sportsbook)
College Basketball Best Bets: Utah State +6.5 or better
Best Available Line: Utah State

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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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