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College basketball best bets.
College basketball best bets.

Friday’s college basketball slate is the perfect appetizer for a loaded weekend of games, and we offer our top college basketball player props and best bets for Friday based on the best college basketball odds.

Friday's college basketball lineup offers a robust 15-game slate, primarily featuring matchups outside of power conferences, making it a paradise for college basketball enthusiasts.

In the midst of MAAC and Ivy league action, Villanova and Georgetown face off in a Big East showdown. That said, the Ivy League games carry huge weight down the stretch, as only the top four teams get invited to the conference tournament and are eligible to play for the league’s automatic bid.

Yale, Cornell, and Princeton seem like near locks to finish in the top four, as all three teams boast league records of 5-2 or better, while Harvard (3-4), Columbia (3-4), and Brown (2-5) are fighting for that coveted fourth spot.

Here are our college basketball player props and best bets for Friday (college basketball picks based on 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 Caesars)

Friday’s college basketball best bets

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Friday’s college basketball player props

Justin Moore (Villanova) Over 9.5 points vs. Georgetown (-110 via DraftKings) ⭐⭐⭐

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Villanova shooting guard Justin Moore doesn't appear to have fully healed from an Achilles injury that kept him out of the 2022 Final Four, or the knee injury that forced him to miss five games from early December to early January this season.

His scoring output has been way down since coming back from the knee issue, as he's finished in double figures during just one of nine games. However, we expect the senior to break out against a Georgetown squad that he's scored in double figures against in each of his previous five regular-season meetings.

Georgetown ranks dead-last in the Big East in effective field-goal percentage defense and 2-point percentage allowed (62.3%). The Hoyas also give up the third-highest free-throw rate in league play, which is a death sentence against a Villanova squad that collectively shoots a Division I best 81.7% from the line. Moore hasn't scored more than six points since Jan. 20, but this line suggests oddsmakers believe a significant scoring day is coming.

We're making this wager at DraftKings, as bet365 charges slightly higher juice (-115) for the same wager.

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Friday’s college basketball game picks

San Diego State team total Over 79.5 vs. New Mexico (-115 via DraftKings) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

San Diego State lost 88-70 at New Mexico on Jan. 13. There's certainly no issue with losing at “The Pit”, as the Lobos won 11 straight games to begin the season on their home floor.

And even though the margin of victory in the first game was 18 points, San Diego State’s offensive output was encouraging after scoring 70 points despite shooting 45.2% from 2-point range, 31.8% from 3-point range, and making just 11 of 20 free throws.

New Mexico’s staple defense on the pick-and-roll action is to hard hedge, which leaves it susceptible to mid-range jumpers from opposing big men. That's where San Diego State’s Jaedon Ledee made his living during the first matchup, scoring 15 points. We expect him to be more involved in this rematch. An Aztecs team that also ranks second in Mountain West play with a 32.9% offensive rebounding rate will dominate the backboards and create extra scoring opportunities against a Lobos squad that struggles on the defensive glass.

The Over is 9-3 in New Mexico’s 12 conference games, and that run should continue due to San Diego State’s offensive ceiling. DraftKings offers the top value on this team total among our best sports betting sites, as other books like bet365 are juicing it as high as -120 to back the Over.

Pennsylvania +6.5 vs. Yale (-102 via FanDuel) ⭐⭐⭐

Yale was projected to win the Ivy League in the preseason media poll, even being voted ahead of a Princeton squad that made a historic Sweet 16 run last season.

So far, the Bulldogs have looked every bit the part of the projected champion, going 7-0 in their first seven league games. Also, two of their last three wins were against Princeton and Cornell, the two schools right below them in the standings, and the only other two with a winning league record.

Yale showed some vulnerability in its last home game against Cornell, trailing by 15 in the first half and by seven with seven minutes to go, with its largest lead in the game being three points. While the Bulldogs did well to outmuscle the Big Red on the backboards with a 41-20 rebounding advantage, one could argue they also benefited from a generous home whistle while attempting 27 free throws to Cornell's 11.

Penn may be just 9-13 on the season, but most of its struggles have come on the road, as it's 8-2 at home and 1-9 through 10 contests as the visitor. One of those losses came two weeks ago at Yale (74-58).

But unlike Cornell, Penn hung tough on the backboards with 34 rebounds compared to Yale's 35. Freshman Sam Brown was the only Penn player to score in double figures that day, but we expect more from the Quakers' supporting cast playing in the friendly confines of the Palestra. We also don't expect Penn to shoot 28.6% again from 3-point range, as it's shot 38.7% or better from deep in six of its last eight home games, which includes an eye-popping non-conference win over Villanova.

This is a great situational spot for Penn with the team coming home for the first time after playing four consecutive road outings, while Yale may get caught looking ahead to a massive road tilt at Princeton on Saturday. The Quakers are 5-3 against the spread at home in 2023-24, and they've covered during 84.6% of their games as home underdogs (11-2 ATS) since 2018. We're willing to back the Quakers once again as home 'dogs against a Yale team that registered just a two-point victory at the Palestra last season. 

Nearly all of our best sportsbooks are juicing Penn to -110, and DraftKings differs slightly at -108. But FanDuel’s low -102 juice at the 6.5-point spread is worth monitoring, as it appears that book is close to moving the line to +7 or higher.

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Fairfield -6 vs. Niagara (-115 via DraftKings) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

It's not often one team is a sizable favorite over another after a 24-point loss in the initial meeting. But that's the situation Fairfield finds itself in after losing at Niagara 96-72 on Jan. 12. Fairfield never led in that first contest, but we expect it to be much more competitive in the rematch, as two of its players averaging in double figures (Jalen Leach and Brycen Goodine) were held to a combined eight points previously.

Leach has been on a tear since the loss to Niagara, averaging 21 points per game and shooting 60.9% from beyond the arc (14-of-23) in his last four. Leach's shooting prowess is a significant reason the Stags have won three of their last four outings, and seven of their last eight wins have been seven-plus point victories.

Fairfield does an excellent job of playing defense without fouling, as it ranks 63rd in free-throw attempt rate per field-goal attempts allowed, which is a vital statistic when facing a Niagara offense that leads the MAAC in league play in that metric (40.1% FTA/FGA). And in the Purple Eagles' last two losses they've combined to shoot 9-for-37 (24.3%) from 3-point range. That's Fairfield's path to victory, as five of Niagara's top seven scorers are shooting 38.2% or better from beyond the arc.

Niagara is 10-1 ATS on the road and has covered eight of its nine games as road underdogs. That makes the fishiness of this line even more intriguing.

It's worth the extra juice to make this wager at DraftKings, as all of our other best live betting sites are listing Fairfield as the 6.5-point favorite.

College basketball best bets made 2/16/2024 at 6:38 a.m. ET

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