This article is part of our College Basketball Picks series.
Another college basketball betting board loaded with high-major action is up for Feast Week, and Steve Peralta returns to offer his three favorite plays of the slate.
USC vs BYU
Both of these teams usually rely on their defense to win games. BYU ranks No. 48 in adjusted defensive efficiency, with USC ranked right behind at No. 56. The latter is noticeably stout on the inside, allowing opponents to make under 40 percent of two-point field goals, the 10th-lowest percentage allowed in the country. Similarly, BYU has also been stingy in the paint, allowing opponents to make under 42 percent of two-point shots, the 41st-lowest percentage allowed.
These defensive traits are key because neither team has shot the ball well up to this point in the season. Both BYU and USC are shooting under 31 percent from behind the arc this season, well below the D1 average percentage for three-point field goal attempts. The offensive woes don't just end at shooting, however, as BYU's offense is turning the ball over at the 10th-highest rate in the country. USC's offense has only been slightly better in that category but still below average.
These two teams favor a quick tempo, so it's possible the scoring escalates, but ultimately I'm trusting the defenses will dictate the flow of the game, yielding a low-scoring game. I'm on the under.
College Basketball Best Bet: Under 142.5
Georgia Tech vs Marquette
Georgia Tech cannot score. It's currently ranked No. 184 in adjusted offensive efficiency, but that doesn't tell the whole story. The Yellow Jackets barely put up 59 points in a two-point victory against Georgia State, a team that ranks No. 164 on defense, then scored just 68 points on Northern Illinois, a defense that ranks No. 281. Furthermore, the Yellow Jackets are making under 42 percent of their two-point field goal attempts this season, and under 27 percent of their shots from behind the arc. Both of these percentages rank near the bottom 10 percent among all D1 teams.
In stark contrast, Marquette is ranked No. 78 in adjusted offensive efficiency, while making almost 60 percent of its two-point shot attempts, the 20th-highest percentage in the country. In addition to efficiency, it's also worth noting Marquette has also already scored 95-plus points in multiple games this season. And as it turns out, the Golden Eagles are actually better on the defensive end of the court, ranking No. 58 in adjusted efficiency, right on par with Georgia Tech's defense.
These teams may be evenly matched on defense, but it's not remotely close when it comes to offense. I'll take Marquette.
College Basketball Best Bet: Marquette -5.5
Fresno State vs Washington
These two teams are closely matched when looking at overall adjusted efficiency margins, with Washington ranked No. 119 and Fresno State not far behind at No. 121, although a closer look reveals some discrepancies.
First off, Both teams have relied on their defense so far this season, with neither offense inspiring much confidence. That being said, Fresno State's offense has performed significantly worse at shooting, one of the worst in the country in fact. The Bulldogs are making 25 percent of their shots from behind the arc while making under 47 percent of their two-point shots, two percentages that are way below the D1 average. Washington, on the other hand, may not have a great efficiency rating, but it has shot the bell relatively well, making almost 37 percent of its three-point attempts, good for the 79th-highest percentage among all D1 teams.
Aside from scoring, Fresno State has also struggled with securing rebounds this season, ranking near the bottom 10 percent of the country in both offensive and defensive rebounding rates. This doesn't bode well for the Bulldogs, as the Huskies are proficient when it comes to collecting rebounding, ranking No. 109 in the country in defensive rebounding rate, and No. 156 in offensive rebounding. This comes as no surprise when looking at Washington's roster, as they are the 36th-tallest team in D1, per KenPom.
All in all, while these two teams seem relatively even on paper, I'm betting the Huskies' shooting and rebounding advantages will lead them to victory.
College Basketball Best Bet: Washington -3
Wednesday College Basketball Best Bets:
Here's a recap of my best college basketball bets for Wednesday:
- USC vs BYU - Under 142.5
- Marquette -5.5
- Washington -3
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