College Basketball Betting Odds, Picks & Predictions: Thursday (2/16)

Feb 16, 2023 - 11:25 AM

The No. 1 team in the country, the Alabama Crimson Tide, fell on the road yesterday to the Tennessee Volunteers. Now the No. 2, 3, and 4 teams in the country are in action today to prove their worth for the top ranking in next week’s AP poll. Did any of them make today’s best bets column?

Here are our best bets for Thursday’s college basketball action.

  • YTD (as of 1/21): 28-23

And let’s take a look at our other best bets for Thursday:

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Best College Basketball Bets for Thursday

(Odds courtesy of DraftKings)

Florida Atlantic vs. Middle Tennessee Spread

Conference USA has not been considered a multi-bid league for the last couple of years. Still, Florida Atlantic is making the case it should be included in the NCAA tournament regardless of what happens in the conference tournament. The Owls boast an impressive 24-2 record and No. 19 NET ranking. However, if we are nitpicking, 17 of the Owls’ 24 wins have come against Quad 3 and 4 opponents.

Middle Tennessee has allowed the highest percentage of opponents’ points in league play from inside the arc. As a result, we expect the Blue Raiders to play a more compact defense tonight, especially considering Florida Atlantic loves to shoot 3-pointers. The Owls get the second-highest percentage of their points in the league from beyond the arc, but this plays into Middle Tennessee’s strength defensively, as they allow the tenth-fewest percentage of opponents’ points from 3-point range.

The Blue Raiders have won six of their last seven home games, and an offense that ranks first in effective field goal percentage and 3-point shooting (39.0%) in league play is capable of a home upset with another efficient shooting night. Middle Tennessee is 6-3 ATS at home this year, and we expect this rematch to be much tighter than the 18-point margin in the first meeting between these teams.

Bet: Middle Tennessee +4.5 (-110 at DraftKings)

UCF vs. Memphis Team Total O/U

This is our first team total wager of the year, but one we love given the recent trends and how both teams have played over the last month.

When these two teams met in Orlando earlier this season, they combined for 211 points in a double overtime thriller, with 156 of those points scored in regulation. Memphis’s offense has been sizzling since then, scoring at least 80 points in six of the eight games and averaging 88 points per game over the last seven. Meanwhile, UCF’s methodical tempo (321st-slowest per KenPom) has not been enough to slow down opposing offenses, as the Knights have allowed 78.8 points per game in their last five losses (all within the last seven games). In addition, UCF’s defense ranks eighth or worse in league play in offensive rebounding percentage allowed (31.1%), 2-point percentage allowed (51.1%), and free throws attempted per field goal attempts, which are all areas we expect Memphis’s offense to exploit.

The Over is 13-5 in Memphis’s 18 games following a win and has cashed in eight of its 12 games as a home favorite. With the Over also being 4-1-2 in UCF’s seven road games, we expect that to result in success offensively for Memphis. The Tigers’ implied team total is 78 given the -7 spread and full game O/U of 149, and we will pounce on that once the team props are offered.

Bet: Memphis Team Total Over 78 (-110 at DraftKings)

Gonzaga vs. Loyola Marymount Spread

Gonzaga is in the rare position of seeking revenge against a conference opponent, as Loyola Marymount ended their 75-game home winning streak earlier this season. Gonzaga has lost twice in the same season to a conference opponent just once since 2012 (lost twice to Saint Mary’s in 2016), so we feel confident in head coach Mark Few’s abilities to devise a game plan to avoid another upset.

Though the Lions have been a giant killer this season with wins over Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s, they have lost three of their last four, and their defense has been exposed in that stretch. For example, in recent losses to BYU, San Diego, and Santa Clara, the Lions allowed those opponents to shoot a combined 23-of-50 (46%) from 3-point range and surrendered 1.28 points per possession or more in two of those losses. Thus, a Gonzaga offense that ranks second nationally in adjusted offensive efficiency (per KenPom) is licking its chops to get right in this rematch. In addition, the Bulldogs should have plenty of clean trips, as they are the league’s best team at taking care of the basketball (13.3% turnover percentage), while the Lions force turnovers at the tenth-lowest rate (10.3%) among all West Coast Conference teams.

Gonzaga is just 1-6 ATS on the road this season, but we expect it to cover, given that the game means a little more to the Bulldogs this time.

Bet: Gonzaga -8 (-110 at DraftKings)

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Mike Spector is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Mike, check out his archive and follow him @MikeSpector01.

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