Top College Basketball Betting Odds, Picks & Predictions: Thursday, January 5th (2022)

Jan 5, 2023 - 11:31 AM

After No. 1 Purdue lost at home to Rutgers on Monday, it opened the door for a new team to claim the No. 1 ranking when the AP poll comes out next week. No. 3 Kansas has a legitimate argument after an impressive road victory against Texas Tech, and No. 2 Houston gets a chance to make a statement tonight when hosting rival SMU.

Here are our best bets for Thursday’s college basketball action. (Odds courtesy of DraftKings)

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Top College Basketball Betting Odds, Picks & Predictions: Thursday, January 5th (2022)

Maryland vs. Rutgers Spread

This is exactly the kind of game that sportsbooks clean up on, and in our desire to be contrarian more often than not, backing Maryland in this spot could be one of the most anti-public sides by tip-off. The Scarlet Knights are three days removed from a road upset of the No. 1 team in the country, while Maryland is coming off a 35-point road loss at Michigan. However, the Terrapins’ struggles go beyond that, as they lost four of six, with the only two wins coming against Saint Peter’s and UMBC.

So how can Maryland cover? Head coach Kevin Willard is familiar with Rutgers’ scheme from his days at Seton Hall. And neither team lights up the scoreboard, as they rank eighth and ninth in scoring in the league in scoring. In addition, Maryland has shown great resiliency, going 4-0 ATS in its last four games following losses by 20 or more points. Thus, we will take the points in what should be a low-scoring game between two teams that ranks in the top 21 in both effective field goal percentage defense and 3-point percentage allowed.

Bet: Maryland +6 (-110 at DraftKings) 

Indiana vs. Iowa Spread

If the Hawkeyes are not careful, they will quickly go from a fringe NCAA tournament team to one destined for the NIT. Iowa has lost three straight games, four of five, and five of seven. One of those losses was the worst upset this century as 31.5-point favorites against Eastern Illinois. Adding to their downfall, the team’s third-leading scorer and rebounder, Patrick McCaffery (12.8 points, 4.8 rebounds), is taking an indefinite leave from the team to deal with anxiety. That puts a lot of pressure on Kris Murray and Filip Rebraca to deal with Indiana’s talented frontline of Race Thompson and Trayce Jackson-Davis.

Iowa has covered just one of its last five games against teams with a winning record, and we expect that trend to continue tonight.

Bet: Indiana +1.5 (-110 at DraftKings)


As usual, Mick Cronin has one of the best defensive teams in the country. UCLA is holding opponents to an average of 57.4 points per game over the last seven games. Only one opponent (Long Beach State) has scored more than 64 points against the Bruins on their home floor, and USC has averaged 66.3 points in its three games against top-150 KenPom competition. In addition, UCLA ranks fifth in Haslametrics’ efficiency rating and ranks in the top 30 in the country in near-proximity percentage allowed. USC thrives on 2-point baskets, getting 56.2% of its points inside the arc (55th-most). Thus, the Trojans will likely need to consistently hit outside shots to keep pace, which is not their forte (32.3% 3-point percentage ranks 237th).

The Under has covered in each of UCLA’s last four games, and is 4-1 in USC’s last five games following a SU loss.

Bet: USC-UCLA Under 140.5 (-110 at DraftKings)

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