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College basketball best bets.
College basketball best bets.

Several of Tuesday’s college basketball games will impact seeding prior to the NCAA tournament, and we offer our top college basketball player props and best bets based on the best college basketball odds.

Houston, ranked as the No. 1 team in the country, faces off against Cincinnati on Tuesday night. The Cougars are the fifth team in 2023-24 to achieve the top spot in the AP poll.

One team made history with the most recent edition of the poll, as South Florida (No. 25) earned a top-25 ranking for the first time in its history.

However, South Florida is KenPom’s 93rd-ranked team despite that ranking, and the Bulls don't appear to have an inside track to an at-large berth in the NCAA tournament.

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

Tuesday’s college basketball schedule and odds

(Odds via Caesars)

Tuesday’s college basketball best bets

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Tuesday’s college basketball player props

Day Day Thomas Under 9.5 points vs. Houston (-140 via bet365) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Cincinnati point guard Day Day Thomas has scored in double figures in back-to-back games, aided by a newfound ability to get to the free-throw line, as he is 8-for-10 from the line in that span.

However, Thomas was held to nine or fewer points in seven of the eight games prior to this outburst, and only attempted 12 free throws in that stretch. That is important as Houston ranks in the top 30 nationally (and leads all Big 12 teams in league play) in the percentage of its opponents’ points coming from the free-throw line.

One of the games in the recent stretch when Thomas was held to single digits was a seven-point performance in a 67-62 home loss to Houston, when he shot 3-of-7 from the floor. Thomas drew the primary defensive attention from Cougars guard Jamal Shead, whose 4.71 DBPR (Defensive Bayesian Performance Rating), per Evan Miyakawa, is by far the best in the country.

KenPom projects Cincinnati for just 58 points in this matchup against the country’s No. 1 defense in terms of adjusted defensive efficiency, and that lowers Thomas’s offensive ceiling considerably.   

Our other best sports betting sites have -145 odds for the same wager, so the better value is found at bet365.

Be sure to use our exclusive bet365 bonus code: SBRBONUS for the best odds on this bet!

Noah Waterman Over 1.5 3-pointers vs. Kansas (-145 via bet365) ⭐⭐⭐

BYU attempts 3-pointers at the fourth-highest rate in the country (50.2% of its shots are from 3-point range), which is a big reason why four Cougars (Noah Waterman, Trevin Knell, Dallin Hall, and Spencer Johnson) all have O/Us of 1.5 3-pointers made against Kansas.

The Jayhawks will likely oblige in BYU’s 3-point shooting game plan, as their pack-line defense allows 3-point attempts at the third-highest rate in Big 12 play, and Kansas’s opponents score 35.8% of their points (34th-most in the country) from beyond the arc.

We do not mind paying more in juice to back Waterman to make two or more 3-pointers, as the 6-foot-11 senior will likely be guarded by KJ Adams or Hunter Dickinson, who Cougars coach Mark Pope will want to see away from the rim defensively.

Waterman has made at least one 3-pointer in 10 of 13 Big 12 games, and multiple threes in six of those. He is coming off a 2-for-5 shooting performance from beyond the arc against a Kansas State defense that entered Monday with the lowest 3-point percentage allowed (27.1%) in Big 12 play, and we do not expect the raucous atmosphere of Allen Fieldhouse to get the best of such an experienced player.

We are headed to bet365 for this wager, as our other best sports betting apps range from -150 to -160.

If you use our exclusive BetMGM bonus code: SBRBONUS, you can get a 33% boost for one college basketball bet on Tuesday!

Tuesday’s college basketball game picks

Kentucky-Mississippi State Under 157.5 (-115 via FanDuel) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Backing the Under in a Kentucky game may seem blasphemous given how ridiculed its defense has been all season, as well as the fact that it is coming off a 117-point performance against Alabama. However, this is a perfect opportunity to be on the contrarian side, as Alabama pushes the pace at the 12th-fastest tempo in the country, while Mississippi State plays at the ninth-slowest tempo in SEC play.

Per BartTorvik.com, Kentucky ranks 87th in adjusted defensive efficiency. However, the Wildcats have been much better in that regard of late, ranking 35th in that metric while going 4-2 SU since Feb. 6. That stretch includes games against three top 15 offenses in KenPom’s adjusted offensive efficiency metrics (Alabama ranks No. 1), and Kentucky has been locked in defensively on the road of late, allowing 67 points per game while winning three of its previous four road contests.

We also expect Mississippi State to slow down Kentucky’s offensive attack, as Chris Jans’ squad held the Wildcats to 30% 3-point shooting (6-of-20) and forced 12 turnovers in last year’s home contest, his first against Kentucky as Bulldogs head coach.

The Under is 17-13 in 30 home games in Jans’ tenure, and this is one of two splits for Kentucky when the Under has been .500 or better all season, cashing in four of the Wildcats’ eight road games.

FanDuel is the only one of our best sportsbooks that has an O/U of 157.5, as all other competitors are in unison with a total of 156.5.

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Virginia Tech ML vs. Syracuse (+102 via FanDuel) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

On paper, this game feels like it should have a much bigger point spread than the Orange -1.5, as Syracuse has won four of its last five home games (its only loss in that span was to Clemson), while Virginia Tech is just 1-7 on the road in ACC play.

However, we did not walk away impressed by Syracuse’s 88-85 win over the weekend against Notre Dame, as the Orange nearly squandered a 29-point lead and allowed the Fighting Irish to score 1.21 points per possession and shoot 61.5% from the field.

Defense has been an issue all season long for the Orange, as they rank dead-last in ACC play in 2-point and 3-point percentage allowed, and effective field-goal percentage defense. That is concerning when facing offensive mastermind Mike Young, whose Hokies rank third in ACC play in effective field-goal percentage, and assist at the second-highest rate (55.4%) of their made field goals.

Virginia Tech lost by 10 at Syracuse last year, but it played without Hunter Cattoor, who is second on the team in scoring this season at 13.7 points per game and leads all Hokies with a 42.4% 3-point shooting percentage (min. 20 attempts).

The Hokies are 1-8 ATS on the road this season, but Syracuse is a great matchup for them to get their second road cover. However, instead of taking the 1.5 points on the spread, we find better value with the plus-money odds at FanDuel for the Hokies to win outright, as all our best live betting sites are at +100.

College basketball best bets made Tuesday at 6:37 a.m. ET

Here are our best March Madness betting sites:

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