After a night in which 29 underdogs covered against the spread, Thursday’s college basketball schedule is set up to deliver a similar amount of intrigue. Let’s dive into my college basketball best bets, focusing on a situational spot. These circumstances are driven by bounce-back, letdown, look-ahead or revenge opportunities.
Click on the odds below to place a bet.
In this COVID era, some of these wagers are contingent on player availability, so check back and follow me on Twitter. Continue the discussion in our Discord betting community, as we dissect all of the games.
No. 6 Purdue Boilermakers at Iowa Hawkeyes
Matt Painter’s squad dipped four spots in my college basketball ratings after its transition defense was diced up in a loss at Indiana. But that issue isn’t abnormal for the Boilermakers, as they’ve let up an above-average efficiency in that department all season.
Purdue has struggled to guard the ball on the break, especially against opposing point guards, and their ball-screen defense has been suspect as well.
Enter Iowa, which utilizes its transition offense at the seventh-highest rate in Division I (via ShotQuality) while running plenty of off-ball action. Nevertheless, it hasn’t received any shooting luck in Big Ten play, notching the second-lowest 3-point clip (30.2%).
Expect positive regression in this matchup, especially if the Hawkeyes receive a jump-start from their pressure defense. In their meeting on Dec. 3, Fran McCaffrey employed the full-court press, turning over the Boilermakers 17 times. It’s been a consistent theme for his unit, as it’s manufacturing the 60th-highest opponents’ turnover rate in the country. On the flip side, Painter has yet to discover a cure for his guards’ miscues.
Moreover, Iowa forward Keegan Murray, the third-leading scorer in the country, didn’t play in that game. The Hawkeyes nearly clawed back to win after facing a 19-point second-half deficit, yet they missed their dynamic shot-maker down the stretch.
Even though Purdue guard Jaden Ivey (hip flexor) will suit up, he could be a bit hampered in his return. Look for Iowa to keep this one close in a revenge spot, so let’s take the points.
Eli’s Bet: Iowa +2.5 (placed on Thursday morning at BetMGM)
College Basketball Best Bets: Iowa +2 or better
Best Available Line: Iowa