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College basketball best bets.
College basketball best bets.

With Selection Sunday rapidly approaching and March Madness just around the corner, we offer our top college basketball player props and best bets for Monday based on the best college basketball odds.

The most chaotic college basketball season in recent memory added another chapter on Sunday, when No. 2 Purdue fell to unranked Ohio State - which had fired its head coach in Chris Holtmann just days earlier.

That speaks to the craziness we've already seen this season, and we could be in store for even more on Monday's slate, which is headlined by a must-watch Big 12 showdown between two of the best defenses in the country.

It’s the perfect chance to see what No. 10 Iowa State is really made of, as it heads to Houston to take on the No. 3 Cougars with a chance to sweep Kelvin Sampson’s team this season. A few hours west, Kansas State will be in Austin to go up against a Texas team coming off a 21-point loss to Houston.

Yet the action all starts in the ACC with the Commonwealth Clash between two hated rivals, Virginia and Virginia Tech, and two teams with very different styles.

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

Monday’s college basketball schedule and odds

(Odds via bet365)

Monday’s college basketball best bets

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Monday’s college basketball player props

J’Wan Roberts (Houston) Over 7.5 rebounds vs. Iowa State (-116 via FanDuel) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Defense will be the name of the game in the Big 12 battle between No. 10 Iowa State and No. 3 Houston, but the Cougars have a distinct advantage in this rock fight. Kelvin Sampson’s program has been one of the best rebounding teams in the country this season, while TJ Otzelberger’s squad has really struggled in that department.

The Cyclones are just 246th in rebounds per game this season (34.6) and 11th against Big 12 teams (29). That’s where J’Wan Roberts comes in. The 6-foot-7 senior leads Houston in rebounds per game (7.1) and is a big reason why the Cougs are 25th in the country in rebounds per game (39.9) and first in conference games (35.5).

With Houston playing three guards, Roberts has been doing the dirty work down low all season and can take advantage of an Iowa State team that’s struggled to pull down rebounds. Roberts has had 11 games of at least eight rebounds this season, including in the previous game against the Cyclones.

Given this matchup, most of our best sports betting sites are offering Roberts’ Over 7.5 rebounds at -125 to -130, but FanDuel has by far the best value at -116.

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Tylor Perry (Kansas State) Over 14.5 points vs. Texas (-120 via bet365) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

It’s been a whirlwind of a season for Kansas State after Jerome Tang led the program to the Elite Eight in his first season at the helm last year. While Year 2 of the Tang era in Manhattan hasn’t been nearly as magical, the Wildcats remain a tough out led by their high-flying guards.

After March Madness hero Markquis Nowell graduated, Tang brought in another undersized guard in Tylor Perry from North Texas and he’s been electric. Perry has helped carry a lackluster offense with 15.2 points per game and has gotten even better late in the season, dropping 26 points as the catalyst for last week's upset win over No. 4 Kansas.

Perry's willingness to shoot from deep and ability to get to the free-throw line will help him against the Longhorns, who rank 59th in adjusted defensive efficiency, per KenPom, and are allowing 76.2 points per game this season. Texas has been particularly bad defending the three, ranking 263rd in the country with opponents shooting 34.5%, and Rodney Terry’s program has been worse against Big 12 foes (37.4%).

On the season, Perry has scored at least 15 points in 14 games with four of them coming in his last five games. Over that five-game stretch, he’s averaging 20.2 points while hitting 2.6 threes and getting to the charity stripe seven times per game.

Monday’s college basketball game picks

Iowa State vs. Houston Under 127.5 (-105 via BetMGM) ⭐⭐⭐

This is one of the biggest Big 12 games of the season with both Iowa State and Houston ranked in the top 10 and tied at 9-3 in the Big 12. The winner of this game could gain the inside track for the regular-season Big 12 title, and the last time these two programs got together in January, the Cyclones pulled off a 57-53 win at home.

That game was a defensive battle, and this one will be too with the way these teams have played on that end all season. A game total of 127.5 is low, but not low enough for two defenses that both rank atop all of the defensive metrics this season.

Houston is first in adjusted defensive efficiency, first in Evan Miyakawa’s DBPR, and first in the country in points allowed per game (55 PPG). Iowa State isn’t much worse sitting third in adjusted defensive efficiency, fourth in DBPR, and allowing the seventh-fewest points in college basketball (62.5 PPG).

Even with these programs each scoring over 73 points per game this season, both want to take it slow and let its defense do the talking. The Cougars are 16th in adjusted offensive efficiency, but Kelvin Sampson’s team is among the slowest-paced in college basketball, ranking 345th in adjusted tempo. On the other side, Iowa State is only 42nd in adjusted offensive efficiency while ranking 150th in adjusted tempo.

More importantly, Houston is first in field-goal percentage allowed (37.2%), sixth in two-point percentage (43.2%), and 10th in three-point percentage (28.8%). Otzelberger’s defense isn’t quite on that level, but the Cyclones hold teams to 40.5% from the floor, 46.2% from two, and 33.6% from three. Both teams also limit opponents to below 52 shots per game.

With the defense being the highlight for both teams and the pace of play impacting points, the majority of our best sports betting sites have the Under between -110 and -120, making these -105 odds at BetMGM stand out.

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Virginia +3.5 vs. Virginia Tech (-110 via Caesars) ⭐⭐⭐

Rivalry games are unpredictable and the Commonwealth Clash is one of the biggest in the ACC, making this matchup hard to gauge. That said, Virginia has been the better team all season and has played its best basketball as of late. While the Cavaliers did drop a tough one to Pittsburgh last week, Tony Bennett’s program is 9-1 in its last 10 and leaning on its methodical style of play to burn opponents out.

This puts Virginia Tech in a tough spot at home coming off a 15-point loss to North Carolina and having dropped four of its last five. Earlier in the season when these two played, the Hokies fell 65-57 and got sucked into playing at Virginia’s slow pace. The Cavs rank dead last in adjusted tempo this season and ninth in adjusted defensive efficiency, which is going to make things difficult for Mike Young’s team.

While Virginia Tech is scoring 74.6 points per game, the team has relied heavily on efficient shooting. The Hokies are only putting up 55.3 shots per game, 321st in the country. The problem will be getting clean looks against this Cavs team that’s given opponents all kinds of issues this season, ranking ninth in field-goal percentage allowed (39.4%), 22nd in two-point percentage (45%), and 62nd in three-point percentage (31.2%).

The Hokies can’t expect to put up so few shots and still hit them at the same clip against a suffocating defense like Bennett’s, all while having even fewer opportunities with Virginia taking the air out of the ball with its pace of play.

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College basketball best bets made Monday at 9:50 a.m. ET.

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