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College basketball best bets.
College basketball best bets.

The final college basketball slate of February features some compelling matchups out west, as we offer our top college basketball player props and best bets for Thursday based on the best college basketball odds.

In a down year for Gonzaga, fellow West Coast Conference member Saint Mary's has taken the reins and has a chance to clinch its first outright regular-season title since 2011-12 on Thursday with a win over Pepperdine.

Will the Gaels get caught in a look-ahead spot to Saturday’s home showdown with the Bulldogs, who have dominated the conference for much of this century? Gonzaga is also in action on Thursday, at San Francisco, which will be an interesting matchup to see how each ranked WCC team performs ahead of their high-profile matchup.

Both Saint Mary's and Gonzaga are ranked inside the top 25 of the AP Poll and will be looking to improve their respective March Madness odds.

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

Thursday’s college basketball best bets

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Thursday’s college basketball schedule and odds

(Odds via Caesars)

Thursday’s college basketball player props

Maxime Raynaud Over 16.5 points vs. Utah (-110 via FanDuel) ⭐⭐⭐

Stanford forward Maxime Raynaud has scored 19-plus points in five of his last seven games. He is coming off tying his season-high of 29 points in the last game against Oregon State, as he was a bully down low and attempted 11 free throws (his most free throw attempts of the season). However, if the matchup calls for it, Raynaud can also step out and hit 3-pointers, as he has at least one made three in five of those seven games, and shoots 37.5% from deep on the season.

Raynaud scored 20 points on an efficient 7-for-12 shooting in the first matchup against Utah. Even if the Utes do a good job of limiting his shot attempts again, Raynaud has the third-best effective field goal percentage among all Pac-12 players, and should again fair well against a Utes defense that ranks eighth in league play in adjusted defensive efficiency. 

With bet365 and DraftKings being juiced to -120 and -125, respectively, the best return for this wager is at FanDuel.

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Adem Bona Over 4.5 rebounds vs. Washington (-140 via bet365) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

UCLA forward Adem Bona averages 5.8 rebounds per game, and we are taking advantage of this unusually low number for him on Thursday after he secured four or fewer rebounds in five of his last seven games.

Bona’s lower rebounding numbers are a product of him consistently getting in foul trouble, as he finished with four-plus fouls in 10 of the last 12 games. While Washington looks to get the ball inside, with the fourth-highest percentage of its points coming from two-point range among all Pac-12 teams, we expect that to mean more rebounding opportunities for Bona, compared to if the Huskies were to shoot more perimeter shots.

Washington grabs just 24.3% of its misses in Pac-12 play, 10th among all teams, so there'll be plenty of defensive rebounds available for the Bruins. UCLA has also held its last 10 opponents not named Arizona to 70 or fewer points, and it is a good bet that the Bruins will hold the Huskies under their season-long 47% field goal percentage.

DraftKings charges an even higher price (-150) to back the Over of 4.5 on Bona’s rebounds, and while we were tempted to back the Over of 5.5 at +110 odds at FanDuel, ultimately we felt more comfortable with the lower total despite the juice at bet365.

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Thursday’s college basketball game picks

Rutgers -6.5 vs. Michigan (-110 via FanDuel) ⭐⭐⭐

Rutgers has been non-competitive during a three-game losing skid, losing by an average of 18.7 points per game. However, two of those losses were against teams that entered Wednesday's action .500 or better in league play (Minnesota and Purdue), and Michigan is playing out the string at 3-14 in Big Ten action after losing 10 of its last 11 games.

It also helps that this is a great situational spot for the Scarlet Knights, as they are playing their second straight home game against a Wolverines team that has this game sandwiched between two of their biggest rivals on the hardwood (Purdue and Ohio State).

Rutgers was happy to get Mawot Mag back for its last game after the senior missed two of the previous three contests. Mag had scored in double figures in three consecutive games before the injury, and even though he has been limited to 18 or fewer minutes in his last two games, his impact on the defensive end is immeasurable. He will likely draw Terrance Williams as his primary defensive assignment. Williams is one of three Wolverines scoring in double figures (12.4 points per game).

Overall, a Michigan offense that ranks 12th or worse out of 14 teams in Big Ten play in adjusted offensive efficiency and turnover percentage should find it tough sledding to score against a Rutgers defense that ranks fourth nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency and forces turnovers at the 17th-highest rate (21.6%).

The Wolverines are just 2-7 ATS as road underdogs and 8-20 ATS overall this season, and we expect their disappointing season to continue in one of the toughest road Big Ten environments at Jersey Mike's Arena. FanDuel is the only one of our best sports betting sites that offers a spread above -7.

Northeastern-Delaware Under 142.5 (-105 via FanDuel) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Delaware comes limping into this matchup with three losses in its last four games, with two of those losses coming as the outright favorite. The main issue has been an ineffective offense, as the Blue Hens have averaged just 65 points per game in that span.

Delaware thrives on using its positional size in the backcourt and post-up ability of Jyare Davis to do most of its damage offensively in the paint, as it leads the CAA (and ranks 75th nationally) with 54.8% of its points in league play coming on 2-point shots. However, Delaware's three losses in the four-game stretch came against opponents that rank sixth or worse in 2-point percentage allowed in CAA games.

Even though the Blue Hens shot 56.4% or better from inside the arc in two of those losses, they were undone by an overall stretch of 14-for-62 (22.6%) shooting from 3-point range combined in those three losses.

Delaware will find interior scoring hard to come by against a Northeastern defense that allows just 46.6% of its opponents' points to come from inside the arc. While the Huskies' 7-9 league record stems primarily from a defense that ranks 345th in 3-point shooting percentage allowed, we do not expect Delaware's cold shooting of late to take advantage of that weakness. Conversely, Northeastern prefers to grind games to a halt with the 11th-slowest tempo in the conference. It also turns the ball over at the highest rate (19.4%) in the league.

The Under cashed in four of Delaware's last five games and is 14-5 in the Blue Hens' 19 games as the favorite this season. We expect it to cash once again.

All of our best sports betting apps are in unison with a total of 142.5, but FanDuel is the only one charging less than the standard -110 juice to back the Under.

College basketball best bets made Thursday at 6:45 a.m. ET

Here are our best March Madness betting sites:

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