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College basketball best bets.
College basketball best bets.

December begins with four of the top six AP-ranked college basketball teams in action, and we have you covered with our daily college basketball player props and best bets for Friday based on the best college basketball odds at our best sportsbooks

The opening matchups of the Big East-Big 12 Battle resulted in victories for the Big East teams. Butler secured a hard-fought win against Texas Tech in an overtime thriller, showcasing resilience and determination. Meanwhile, Creighton displayed dominance on the road, overpowering Oklahoma State with a strong performance that highlighted their skill and composure. These victories mark a promising start for the Big East conference in this anticipated inter-conference showdown.

The Battle continues Friday with arguably the most anticipated on-campus non-conference matchup of the season between the defending national champion UConn Huskies and the preseason No. 1 Kansas Jayhawks.

Elsewhere, the first Power Five conference matchups tip-off, as the Big Ten has a doubleheader between Maryland-Indiana and Purdue-Northwestern.

Here are our college basketball player props and best bets for Friday (odds via our best March Madness betting sites; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale).

Friday’s college basketball schedule and odds

(Odds via DraftKings)

Friday’s college basketball best bets

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Friday’s college basketball player props

Jahmir Young (Maryland) Under 23.5 points + rebounds + assists vs. Indiana (-125 via DraftKings) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Maryland point guard Jahmir Young is averaging 15.9 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 4.3 assists per game. That equals 23.1 points/rebounds/assists per game, but given how drastic Young's splits are in wins and losses, we expect him to be in for a rough game statistically with his team as underdogs at Assembly Hall.

Young has averaged 17.5 points and 3.8 assists in the team's four wins but 13.7 points and five assists in three losses. In addition, Young cannot be counted on for consistent rebounding production, as he has grabbed two or fewer boards in four of the team's seven games.

Hoosiers head coach Mike Woodson made tremendous defensive adjustments against Young in the team's second meeting at the Big Ten Tournament last year, holding him to 12 points on 20% shooting after he torched them for 20 points (and 27 combined points/rebounds/assists) in an 11-point win in College Park earlier in the season. We do not expect Young's first career trip to Assembly Hall to go swimmingly, especially with the team ranking 260th in effective field goal percentage and shooting an abysmal 23.8% (352nd in the country) from beyond the arc.

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Noah Waterman (BYU) Under 11.5 points vs. Fresno State (-120 via bet365) ⭐⭐⭐

BYU has rolled to a 6-0 record and a No. 19 AP ranking (it gets even more respect from KenPom as its No. 8 team) with all six wins by nine or more points. A significant reason for the Cougars' lopsided victories is that opponents have difficulty matching up with their mammoth frontcourt, allowing elite spacing for perimeter shooters.

However, Fresno State has three 6-foot-11 players that it can rotate on BYU center Noah Waterman all game. With Cougars point guard Dalin Hall getting healthier (he played a season-high 29 minutes last game after being limited to 14 minutes in the season opener), we should see more scoring out of BYU's backcourt and less from its frontcourt.

DraftKings has the juice set to -125 for the Under but just -105 for the Over, which suggests our best sportsbooks are tipping their hand that Waterman's streak of three games with 15-plus points will end tonight. As Under backers, we are making this wager at bet365 to get a slightly better price.

Friday’s college basketball game picks

Iowa State -13.5 vs. DePaul (-115 via DraftKings) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

DePaul is on its way to staking claim as the worst Power Five conference team this year, as it already has three losses at home by an average of 7.3 points per game to teams that each rank 137th or lower at KenPom (Purdue Fort Wayne, Long Beach State, Northern Illinois). The most alarming thing from those losses is that DePaul averaged 14 turnovers per game but faced only one defense inside the top 67 in the country in turnover rate forced in that span. That will be a massive issue against an Iowa State team that thrives on turnovers, forcing opponents' miscues on a D-I best 26.5% of possessions.

The Cyclones may be overlooked after finishing fourth at the ESPN Events Invitational, but they had a 21-point lead against a top-12 Texas A&M team in the third-place game. Iowa State will allow next to nothing in transition or in the paint (it ranks seventh, holding opponents under 40% inside the arc) and is too disciplined of a team for a DePaul team in peril to hang with.

We are willing to pay up slightly in juice to back the 13.5-point spread by using our DraftKings promo code, as competing shops like FanDuel and bet365 are as high as -14.5.

UConn +3 vs. Kansas (-110 via bet365) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

UConn is coming off a record-setting 24th consecutive non-conference win by 10-plus points, breaking a tie previously shared with the North Carolina teams of 2008 and 2009. We are not calling for the Huskies to win by double-digits at Allen Fieldhouse. Still, they have the needed experience (they return 42.5% of the minutes from last year's national championship squad) not to be fazed in their biggest non-conference road test.

The key to a UConn cover is Donovan Clingan's size and ability to negate Kansas's Hunter Dickinson. Clingan ranks second among all Division I players in Evan Miyakawa's BPR metric and has the sixth-highest defensive BPR. Dickinson has an offensive rating (per KenPom) of 104 or better and 17-plus points in all six Jayhawks victories this year but was held to 13 points and an offensive rating of 80 in the team's 73-59 loss to Marquette.

UConn is one of the most balanced teams in the country, one of four that ranks in the top 10 in both adjusted offensive and defensive efficiency. And only one of Kansas's three players with 17-plus 3-point attempts is shooting better than 30% from beyond the arc, so UConn's elite interior defense (it ranks ninth in D-I, allowing 40.1% inside the arc) will make the difference.

Kansas has one of the best home courts in the country, as it is 34-2 SU at Allen Fieldhouse since the start of the 2021 season. However, it has also covered the spread in just 47.2% of those games (17-19 ATS), so we will grab the three points with the underdogs at bet365, the only one of our top sportsbooks offering higher than +2.5.

We're going to get our best price here by using our bet365 bonus code: SBRBONUS.

College basketball best bets made 12/1/2023 at 6:36 a.m. ET.

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