Despite another unappetizing college basketball odds board, let’s break down my college basketball best bets for Thursday’s slate. Join our Discord betting channel (under the #roles server) and receive an immediate notification from Discord when I make a bet.
Click on any of the odds below to place a wager as well.
Southern Illinois at Oklahoma State: Spread, Moneyline, Total
In the first edition of my college basketball power rankings, I noted that the Pokes will have a chip on their shoulder after they were banned from the 2022 NCAA Tournament. But first things first, they’re presented with a pesky Salukis bunch in their second contest.
SIU’s Defensive Principles
Although Bryan Mullins’ alma mater isn’t a household name across college basketball, this mid-major program should be in contention with Drake for the Missouri Valley regular season title.
The Salukis tallied a top-three defense in the conference last season. Mullins’ system employs pack-line fundamentals, forcing opponents to generate offense via mid-range and perimeter shots. That’s illustrated by Southern Illinois ranking No. 276 in regards to high-quality 3-pointers allowed in 2021-22 (via ShotQuality).
Although Oklahoma State boasts more floor-spacers than it showcased last season, that department still represents its biggest offensive liability. If SIU can force Bryce Thompson & Co. into quick shots in the halfcourt, it’ll put itself in position to implement its preferred methodical pace at the other end.
Mind you, this team possesses an ultra-experienced roster that won’t be fazed by a “power six” opponent. But given the Cowboys’ size advantage, gang rebounding is a major necessity.
For additional college basketball best bets, listen to the brand-new Outside Shots podcast.
Exploiting The Pokes
Mike Boynton’s squad utilizes some semblance of a zone defense — mixed in with a dose of ball pressure. However, its off-ball coverage is an area of concern, and that’s a strength of Mullins’ motion offense.
If two-guard Lance Jones continues to rediscover a more consistent shooting stroke, along with fellow seniors Trent Brown, Marcus Domask, and George Mason transfer Xavier Johnson, they should deliver enough offense to at least stay within a few possessions.
Related: Eli’s College Basketball Futures Bets
College Basketball Best Bets Conclusion
Unsurprisingly, I backed the Salukis at +8.5. You’ll find it in our aforementioned Discord channel. I’d play it down to +8.
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