There’s only one ranked matchup on tonight’s slate — No. 7 Texas at No. 23 Seton Hall in the Big 12-Big East Battle. Let’s dive into my college basketball best bets for this contest, including a look into the matchups and how the betting market has shifted the spread.
Click on the odds below to place a bet now. You can also continue the discussion in our betting community, as we dissect all of the games throughout the week.
No. 7 Texas Longhorns at No. 23 Seton Hall Pirates
After opening as a 2.5-point underdog, the Pirates are favored at DraftKings Sportsbook as of Thursday morning.
Keep in mind, KenPom projects the line to be Seton Hall -1. Couple that with Kevin Willard’s team playing in front of a ruckus home crowd, and the adjustment isn’t surprising.
Looking back to Texas’ blowout loss at Gonzaga, the Bulldogs tallied 1.32 points per possession (PPP) because they sped up the tempo. Chris Beard’s bunch was ultra-inefficient in the first half, allowing them to generate clean shots in transition. Hence, the Longhorns must exhibit half-court continuity to play at their preferred methodical pace.
The Pirates will aim repeat the Zags’ formula. They boast a significant size advantage, producing the 37th-highest block rate in the process. But the Longhorns’ off-ball screen, motion offense has delivered a fairly balanced scoring distribution thus far.
Surprisingly, Seton Hall’s defense is most susceptible inside the arc, sitting outside the top-150 in mid-range field goal attempts against the average opponent (via Haslametrics). Beard should have success mitigating his opponent’s length with a five-out attack. It’ll likely be predicated around forward Timmy Allen and even the 6-foot-9 Tre Mitchell, who’s exhibited his shooting touch going back to his days at UMass.
- More from Eli: TheLines College Basketball Power Rankings
Plus, the Longhorns’ possess a sound turnover percentage (17.1%) despite their transfer-filled roster lacking experience with one another. Considering Seton Hall relies on the free-throw line and close twos via transition opportunities, its half-court offense could be in trouble if Beard’s group limits its miscues.
Willard’s unit could also be without veteran point guard Bryce Aiken, who missed the last game with an illness. Despite his 6-foot-0 stature, he delivers a spark plug at both ends off the bench. Aiken’s absence could lead to more effectiveness from Texas’ ball pressure, which is accruing the second-highest turnover rate albeit a small sample size.
- Update: Per source, Aiken is expected to play.
On the flip side, Longhorns big man Dylan Disu (knee), who hasn’t played this season, is listed as questionable. Don’t expect the Vanderbilt transfer to have a sizable role were he to suit up.
Regarding the total (), the market has come in on the under after opening at O/U 135.5. Anticipate a defensive-driven affair throughout, but there isn’t enough value to back it.
Overall, I’m willing to play against the market with the spread — given the expectation that Texas will display more poise in its second road affair.
Eli’s Bet: Texas +1 (placed at PointsBet Sportsbook on Thursday afternoon)
College Basketball Best Bets: Texas pick’em or better
Best Available Line: Texas