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College basketball best bets.
College basketball best bets.

The college basketball season takes one step closer to March Madness as we enter February, and we offer our top college basketball player props and best bets for Thursday based on the best college basketball odds.

In recent weeks, we've seen an array of highly ranked teams fall in shocking upsets in the midst of an overal turbulent season. Incredibly, as CBS’s Gary Parrish notes, top-10 teams are a stunning 27-29 straight up in road games against unranked opponents this season.

That 48.2% win percentage is 13.8% lower than the all-time worst win percentage in those matchups across a full season, and No. 6 Wisconsin is the lone team on Thursday’s slate that fits the bill for that trend. We've got our eyes elsewhere, though, for the best player prop bets of the day.

To complement our Oregon-USC prediction, here are our college basketball player props and best bets for Thursday (odds via our best March Madness betting sites; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale).

Thursday’s college basketball best bets

  • Frankie Collins (Arizona State) Over 1.5 3-pointers vs. Stanford (+140 via bet365) ⭐⭐⭐
  • Boogie Ellis (USC) Under 17.5 points vs. Oregon (-110 via bet365) ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • South Alabama +2 vs. Texas State (-110 via bet365) ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • UNC Wilmington-Charleston Over 155.5 (-110 via bet365) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Thursday’s college basketball schedule and odds

(Odds via BetMGM)

Thursday’s college basketball player props

Frankie Collins (Arizona State) Over 1.5 3-pointers vs. Stanford (+140 via bet365) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Arizona State point guard Frankie Collins and small forward Jamiya Neal have the same +140 odds to make multiple 3-pointers. Stanford is a beatable defense from the perimeter, as it ranks 246th in the country in allowing 34.8% from beyond the arc, and that number increases to 35.6% in Pac-12 play.

We are looking for someone to take advantage of that, and our nod goes to Collins, who has made multiple threes in four of nine conference games, while Neal has done so in just two. In addition, Collins has not been bashful about letting it fly, with six-plus 3-point attempts in three of the previous four games. Though he has made just 30.1% of his perimeter shots this season, we expect positive regression from a player who shot close to 34% from beyond the arc last year.

We are making this wager at bet365, as DraftKings has slightly lower +135 odds.

Boogie Ellis (USC) Under 17.5 points vs. Oregon (-110 via bet365) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

USC’s terrible season hit a new low last Saturday, losing to rival UCLA at home for the first time in six tries, as the Bruins held the Trojans to a season-low 50 points. USC misses the services of point guard Isaiah Collier, who is out for two to four more weeks with a hand injury.

While leading scorer Boogie Ellis returned from a three-game absence (hamstring injury) to log 35 minutes, he was still 3-of-10 shooting, and the Trojans have now averaged 61.2 points in their last five games (77.9 through the first 16).

With Ellis as USC’s only real perimeter scoring threat, Oregon head coach Dana Altman will be smart enough not to let him get in a groove offensively. The Ducks’ morphing zone to man defense (many times it changes and is disguised within a possession) has the flexibility to change coverages on Ellis at a moment's notice, and the senior struggles in an earlier 82-74 road loss at Oregon, being held to just 11 points on 4-of-15 shooting. The difference in this game is Ellis had a healthy Collier to take defensive attention away from him, but he does not have that luxury in this rematch.  

We're seeing -115 in juice to back the Under at some of our other best sports betting sites, so we find the best value by using our bet365 bonus code: SBRBONUS!

Thursday’s college basketball game picks

South Alabama +2 vs. Texas State (-110 via bet365) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

South Alabama is amid a three-game losing streak and is entering its third game of a four-game road trip. However, while the scheduling circumstances may be against the Jaguars in this matchup, we still expect them to compete well against a Bobcats team that has lost nine of 10 games and is just 1-8 in Sun Belt play.

South Alabama may not believe in moral victories. Still, it should come away from a four-point road loss at Troy (who is now 7-2 in the conference) as an eight-point underdog with confidence, especially since it won the turnover battle and scored a respectable 1.13 points per possession on the heels of one of its better shooting performances of the season (it made 11 of 21 3-point attempts).

The Jaguars now rank third in Sun Belt play in 3-point shooting (35.2%), while Texas State’s defense is last in the conference in effective field goal percentage and 2-point percentage allowed (54.8%). Thus, the Bobcats will be forced to pick their poison defensively, and South Alabama has covered 60% of its road games (6-4 ATS), while Texas State is 1-4 ATS at home.

Of all the +2s out there, bet365 is the only one not charging more than the standard -110 juice to take the underdogs. BetMGM is slightly lower at +1.5.

UNC Wilmington-Charleston Over 155.5 (-110 via bet365) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Charleston gets a chance at revenge against CAA rival UNC Wilmington after losing to the Seahawks 78-69 on the road just 12 days ago. One knock against picking the Cougars in this rematch is that Pat Kelsey’s team is just 1-4 in the second game against opponents they had lost to earlier in the season. However, instead of choosing sides, we expect a high-scoring rematch, as both teams should continue to take advantage of the other’s deficiencies. 

Seeing the Seahawks 12 days ago will help Charleston prepare for their full-court pressure, and the Cougars will have no path to victory if they cannot sure up their isolation defense. 

UNCW managed a nine-point victory in the first matchup despite getting out-rebounded 46-38 and surrendering 17 offensive rebounds. The Cougars lead the Colonial in adjusted offensive efficiency and effective field goal percentage and are in the top 46 in the country in offensive rebounding rate, which keeps its offensive ceiling high for this rematch. Meanwhile, Charleston was consistently beaten off the dribble by UNCW’s backcourt tandem of Shykeim Phillips and KJ Jenkins. The duo combined for 38 points on 45% shooting from inside the arc, and they were largely responsible for the team’s low turnover rate (four total). 

Perhaps the Cougars will benefit from a friendlier whistle playing at home, but 21 fouls in the first matchup suggest they cannot keep the Seahawks in front of them, and we expect the Over to cash for the seventh time in nine games that Charleston has been a home favorite this season. This total is as high as 156.5 at BetMGM, and DraftKings and FanDuel charge -112 and -115, respectively, to back the Over of 155.5, so bet365 is again your best choice.

College basketball best bets made Wednesday at 9:21 p.m. ET.

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