The college basketball slate on Friday isn’t huge with only 13 games on the docket, but there are plenty of interesting matches across the board.
Cox brought three best bets to the list of college hoops on Friday, including a MAAC rematch and two Big Ten showdowns featuring teams that are starting to gain ground in recent times.
So, read on for Cox’s three best bets—and be sure to check back tomorrow for more college basketball betting coverage from Action Network.
Three Man Weave’s Friday college basketball best bets
The team logos in the table below represent each of the matches Three Man Weave’s Matt Cox is targeting from Friday’s matchday roster. Click on the team logos for a match below to go to a specific bet discussed in this article.
Saint Peter vs. Quinnipiac
It’s foolish for a super-exciting team to vanish against a team that hasn’t covered a game since December 30th. This is a technical handicap, “think simple”.
Quinnipiac and St. Peter’s have already played once this season. This represents rematch at home and home meetings. Shockingly, the Peacocks prevailed in Jersey City, 63-56. Now, they’re making their road trip back to Hamden, Connecticut, which is a refreshing ride from downtown New York City.
The first game clocked out SPU +4.5 which Peacock covered with ease.
It’s not always wise to fiddle with a team’s vendetta within the league, but the key lies in that closing number. Today’s +10 spread is a 5.5-point swing from the first game, which largely reflects a major home court shift (if you assume the court is worth about 2.5-3 points each way). Thus, the market sees relative minimal change in these two teams from the December 18th meeting and now.
However, the Peacocks are emphatically better now than when those teams met nearly a month ago. Two SPU’s dynamic backcourt cornerbacks, Jaylen Murray and Jayden Saddler, were sidelined in that first game. However, the Peacocks prevailed at home with seven.
Yes, Quinnipiac’s value is sky-high after a stunning dominance of Iona, but that’s all the more reason for her to fade into a spot of predictable disappointment, even at home.
Nebraska vs. Purdue
The Boilermakers fondly remember that terrifying visit to Lincoln in December. 10. A junior Nebraska team, healthy for the first time all season, gave the Kettlers a run for their money and pushed them to the brink in overtime.
Purdue pulled off the win, but the Mummies unveiled a potential defensive scheme to slow down the brutal Zack Eddy up front. However, as Jordan Majewski astutely pointed out, the key to this scheme was Joan Jarry, who will be off duty this evening.
Gary’s absence removes a mainstay of Nebraska’s defensive foundation, and is the driver behind Nebraska’s recent rally. Derek Walker is still a formidable force, but it takes multiple bodies to stop Eddie inside.
This is also Nebraska’s third game this week, while Purdue has been off since Sunday. He may wear Big Ten taxes on mummies in the second half of this evening.
You won’t underestimate Purdue, Nebraska after flirting with fire on the road. A closed-in Purdue team with a clear matching advantage on both ends – aided by Gary’s loss – could put this team out of reach in a hurry.
It’s not always advisable to put up big numbers in conference games, but this situational spot should negate the usual risk of a “botched” effort from a sleeping big favorite.
Michigan vs. Illinois
Don’t look now, but did he come back to me?
Riding a two-game winning streak, Illinois appears to be back in business. After hailing the shocking defection of starter Skyy Clark mid-season, the Illini are looking fresh on both ends of the earth, particularly on the offensive end.
Illinois has assisted over 50% of its baskets over its last two games. The Illini now ranks 25th nationally in team assist rate, according to KenPom, a clear indication of the team’s relentless ball sharing on offense — and partial evidence that these bizarre locker room issues may be behind them.
Michigan State is emerging as well, and with AJ Hoggard rounding out the pinnacle of the point guard position, the Spartans are a true dark horse in the Big Ten.
Thus, this is not a snub for Michigan. Instead, it’s a fade-out spot – specifically the first half – and a bet on the Illini, a team that’s been taken to a new level recently.
The first half angle is very much a price game. The smart money has already pounced on the softer opening line of -5, but taking a -3.5 chip in the first 20 minutes looks smarter.
Michigan State’s improved run would be a chore that would have to be held off by touchdowns for the full 40 minutes. Illinois also set the tone early last time out against the Huskers, a recipe Brad Underwood will aim to recreate tonight.
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