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College basketball best bets.
College basketball best bets.

While the ACC/SEC Challenge is over, there are still plenty of intriguing non-conference matchups on Thursday’s college basketball slate. We have you covered with our daily college basketball player props and best bets based on the best college basketball odds.

After the conclusion of the ACC/SEC Challenge, which saw the ACC win four of seven games Wednesday to knot the series overall, Thursday marks the beginning of a new series of interconference clashes as the Big East-Big 12 Battle tips off.

The main draws include matchups between Texas Tech and Butler as well as Creighton facing Oklahoma State. With an undefeated 6-0 record, Liberty confronts a significant challenge against the 13th-ranked Florida Atlantic. This presents an opportunity for Liberty to extend its winning streak against a formidable opponent.  

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 schedule and odds

(Odds via DraftKings)

Thursday’s college basketball best bets

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Thursday’s college basketball player props

Ryan Kalkbrenner Over 15.5 points vs. Oklahoma State (-115 via DraftKings) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Per Haslametrics, Creighton is averaging the third-worst shooting proximity against the average opponent, meaning the Bluejays are shooting 3-pointers at a staggering rate and not attacking the rim often. KenPom agrees, as Creighton has attempted the third-most 3-pointers per field-goal attempt.

Creighton will still put up a ton of shots from beyond the arc, especially Baylor Scheierman, who has made multiple 3-pointers in 22 consecutive November games. However, seeing as the Bluejays are coming off their lowest point total (48) since December 2022, look for head coach Greg McDermott to tweak some of that offensive philosophy, starting with getting Ryan Kalkbrenner more involved.

Creighton’s big man was the only bright spot offensively against Colorado State, going 6-of-9 for 12 points from 2-point range against the Rams, while the rest of the Bluejays combined to shoot 5-of-23 from beyond the arc.

Oklahoma State has not faced a single team inside KenPom’s top 105, nor has it played against a center as talented as Kalkbrenner, and that has us expecting him to score 16-plus points for the third time in the last four games.

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DraftKings and bet365 have the same -115 odds for this wager.

Joe Toussaint Over 1.5 3-pointers made vs. Butler (+120 via bet365) ⭐⭐⭐

Texas Tech’s Joe Toussaint has made two or more 3-pointers in three consecutive games, shooting 43.8% from beyond the arc in that span. Toussaint is getting those perimeter shots up in volume, as he has attempted fewer than four 3-pointers in just one of six games.

Toussaint ranks in the top 220 of all players in the country in minutes played (he plays 81.7% of the team’s minutes), and in what is projected to be a close game with Butler as a slight two-point favorite, Toussaint’s deadly free-throw shooting (92.3%) means he should be on the floor for most of the game.

Butler allows more than 30% of opponents’ points to come from the 3-point line, so there is good value on Toussaint’s plus-money odds to keep his sharp perimeter shooting going.

Under backers will find slightly better value at bet365, which has the Under juiced to -150 compared to the -155 at DraftKings. However, both shops provide the same +120 to expect Toussaint to make multiple 3-pointers.

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Thursday’s college basketball game picks

Illinois State vs. UIC Under 135.5 (-110 via bet365) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

In UIC head coach Luke Yaklich’s first three seasons with the team, the Flames had an average ranking of 261 in KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency metric and never ranked higher than 221st. However, the Flames currently reside in the top 50 in adjusted defensive efficiency largely because of its elite pick-and-roll coverage.

UIC has held five of its first six D-I opponents under 1.0 points per possession, and the only exception was against a George Washington team that pushes the tempo at the fourth-fastest pace in the country and ranks in the top 70 in effective field-goal percentage and 3-point shooting percentage.

However, the Flames still held the Colonials to 1.03 points per possession, so facing an Illinois State offense that is 311th or worse in 2-point percentage, 3-point percentage, and effective field-goal percentage should be a walk in the park.

This is a four-star play, as Illinois State has only two players (guards Malachi Poindexter and Dalton Banks) averaging double figures. UIC’s CJ Jones is one of the most elite on-ball defenders in the Horizon League, and he was instrumental in holding UNC Greensboro’s backcourt tandem of Kobe and Keyshaun Langley to a combined 1-for-11 from beyond the arc.

We are getting great value on this number at bet365, considering the O/U is as low as 134.5 at BetMGM. And while DraftKings offers the same total of 135.5, it charges slightly more in juice (-112) to back the Under.

Utah -10.5 vs. Hawaii (-120 via FanDuel) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Utah is 4-2 on the season but is a battle-tested bunch, having played three Power Five teams (Wake Forest, Houston, and St. John’s) at the Charleston Classic and a game this past Monday against Saint Mary’s. By comparison, Hawaii’s 5-0 record looks pillow-soft, having not faced a team ranked inside KenPom’s top 214.

We expect Hawaii to be affected by Utah’s size on both ends, as the Utes are the second-biggest team in the country. As it is, the Rainbow Warriors get next to nothing on the offensive glass (they rank 309th in offensive rebounding percentage), and defensively, they will not expose Utah’s biggest weakness of pressuring its guards, as Hawaii ranks 159th in turnover rate forced despite that soft schedule.

The Utes are one of just 26 teams that entered yesterday ranked in the top 50 of both offensive and defensive efficiency, and that balance should give them the edge in what should be a big home-court advantage at the Delta Center.

This is a four-star play, as Utah has covered the spread in 60% of its games following wins since the start of last season (12-8), while Hawaii is under .500 ATS (6-7) when it has four-plus days off in that span. Utah could have been had as a nine-point favorite last night, but there is still value in this number at FanDuel, as other competing shops like BetMGM and bet365 are as high as -11.5.

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College basketball best bets made 11/30/2023 at 6:33 a.m. ET

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