College Basketball Betting Odds: Negative Regression For Marquette & Illinois?
College basketball odds: national title futures
No. 10 Illinois at Michigan State; Saturday, 2 p.m. ET on CBS
Breslin Center (East Lansing, Mich.)
As I discussed on the latest Outside Shots podcast, which you can listen to below, this game is a must-have for Sparty. For one, Michigan State doesn’t have many more opportunities in the regular season to earn a marquee win. The lone tilt against No. 2 Purdue comes on the road. If it falls to both top-10 teams and stumbles along the way, it may find itself without a ticket into the NCAA tournament.
Additionally, the Spartans are eyeing revenge after suffering a one-possession loss against the Illini on Jan. 11. Illinois wing Terrence Shannon Jr. didn’t suit up, but MSU was able to win the rebounding battle and hang around throughout. Normally, Brad Underwood’s team owns that category.
While the Illini are near the top of the conference standings, they benefited from one of the easiest non-conference schedules among highly touted programs. Their best victory came versus FAU, which made a Final Four run last year. Nevertheless, the Owls aren’t nearly as proficient defensively as they were during their stunning upsets in March 2023.
On that note, Illinois’ top-35 defensive efficiency (per Haslametrics) is due for a dose of negative variance. Not only has it struggled to guard motion offenses, but the Spartans also utilize a bevy of crisp sets employing just that — especially for shotmaker Tyson Walker.
My raw numbers have these Big 10 rivals set at around a pick’em on a neutral court. However, oddsmakers have shaded toward Big Ten home teams. This spread is no exception. Proceed with caution if you’re planning to bet MSU, as the opener appears correct.
- Related: UNC basketball odds at Miami (FL) betting preview
No. 7 Marquette vs. St. John’s; Saturday, 6 p.m. ET on FS1
Fiserv Forum (Milwaukee, Wis.)
Just last week, I bet St. John’s Final Four futures. Despite enduring consecutive losses to UConn and Xavier following the wager, I’m not backing down from the notion that the Red Storm are an extremely undervalued commodity. It’s a matter of whether the individual talent will reach its peak collectively.
Like Michigan State, the Johnnies are near the cutline for bracketologists everywhere. They need to stockpile quality victories, and this matchup represents a chance to jumpstart their NCAA tournament push. Plus, St. John’s is seeking revenge after coming up short versus Marquette — by a single point — on Jan. 20. Bear in mind that Red Storm combo guard Jordan Dingle (COVID) didn’t suit up.
More importantly, the Johnnies convincingly won the rebounding battle, 41-28. It wasn’t an anomaly. St. John’s reels in the second-most potential quick points off second-chance offensive rebounds per 100 trips up-court against the average opponent (via Haslametrics).
Essentially, Joel Soriano & Co. are elite at creating extra possessions. The Golden Eagles, riding a six-game winning streak, have failed to limit the majority of their lengthier opponents from collecting them. When they struggle to force turnovers, which the Red Storm generally limit, their defense has been exposed around the rim.
My raw numbers have these Big East foes separated by roughly five points on a neutral court.
outside shots: college basketball betting picks
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