It's not quite the 185-game opening night, but college basketball still features a 28-game schedule involving Division I teams on Tuesday, and we have you covered with our daily college basketball player props and best bets for Tuesday based on the best college basketball odds.
While the majority of AP top-25 teams secured comfortable wins on Monday, the fourth-ranked Michigan State Spartans experienced a different fate, as they were defeated 79-76 in overtime by Sun Belt Conference favorites James Madison.
Spartans head coach Tom Izzo had been 73-0 in his career in home games in November before that loss. Michigan State is the first AP top-5 team to lose its season opener against an unranked opponent since 2005, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
Here are our college basketball player props and best bets for Tuesday (odds via our best March Madness betting sites; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale).
(Odds via DraftKings)
- Florida Gulf Coast vs. Indiana (-12.5)
- Mount Saint Mary’s vs. Maryland (-20.5)
- Stony Brook vs. St. John’s (-18)
- Florida A&M vs. Creighton (-33.5)
- Auburn vs. Baylor (-2)
- UC Irvine (-1) vs. San Jose State
- Ja’Kobe Walter (Baylor) Over 9.5 points vs. Auburn (+100 via DraftKings) ⭐⭐⭐
- Drew Pember (UNC Asheville) Over 19.5 points vs. Michigan (-120 via DraftKings) ⭐⭐⭐⭐
- Florida Gulf Coast +12.5 vs. Indiana (-110 via Caesars) ⭐⭐⭐⭐
- St. John’s -18 vs. Stony Brook (-110 via Caesars) ⭐⭐⭐⭐
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Tuesday’s college basketball player props
Ja’Kobe Walter (Baylor) Over 9.5 points vs. Auburn (+100 via DraftKings) ⭐⭐⭐
Ja'Kobe Walter was rated as the seventh-best impact freshman by ESPN.com's Jeff Borzello, and he very well may lead the Bears in scoring by season's end. Most pundits ranked Walter as the best pure scorer in the freshman class, and he scored 22 and 15 points in preseason scrimmages against Texas A&M and Gonzaga, respectively.
There is a lot of scoring that Baylor needs to replace in losing the likes of Keyonte George, Adam Flagler, and LJ Cryer, but all scouting reports point to the future NBA lottery pick in Walter being able to score right from the get-go.
Editor's note: The Over on this prop has been juiced to -170 ahead of tipoff, illustrating the importance of reading this column early.
Drew Pember (UNC Asheville) Over 19.5 points vs. Michigan (-120 via DraftKings) ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Drew Pember is the reigning Big South Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year, and he has already drawn the attention of Michigan's interim head coach, Phil Martelli. Pember exploded in the Big South Conference tournament, averaging 29.7 points and 11.3 rebounds per game, and shooting 21-for-49 from the field in three games.
Pember is looking to rebound from being held to just 13 points in the NCAA Tournament game against UCLA, arguably the best defensive team that UNC Asheville faced all season. Pember scored 40 points in the team's season opener against UCF, and he scored 20-plus points in 19 games last year. Hunter Dickinson is no longer manning the middle in Ann Arbor, which leaves the Wolverines' interior defense susceptible to one of the best scorers they will see in non-conference action.
Caesars has its Over of 19.5 points juiced even higher to -127, so the best value is found at DraftKings.
Florida Gulf Coast +12.5 vs. Indiana (-110 via Caesars) ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Indiana had five players who averaged more than eight points or better last year, and just one of them returns, as the Hoosiers are a blend of transfer portal talent and impact freshmen. The lone returning player who averaged more than eight points per game is Xavier Johnson, but he has some rust to shake off after missing the final three months of last season with a broken foot.
Florida Gulf Coast was voted second in the preseason ASUN coaches poll and returns three double-digit scorers from a 17-win team last year. The Eagles started last season with a 13-point road win at USC, and the veteran team won't be intimidated by Assembly Hall, even on an emotional night when they mourn the passing of Bobby Knight.
St. John’s -18 vs. Stony Brook (-110 via Caesars) ⭐⭐⭐⭐
The buzz is back at Madison Square Garden as Rick Pitino is in his first season as St. John's head coach. Pitino did very well in the transfer portal to get players who fit his scheme, and two of them can flat-out score, as UPenn transfer Jordan Dingle has averaged 20-plus points per game over the last two seasons, and Harvard transfer Chris Ledlum averaged 16.7 and 18.8 points over the previous two years.
Stony Brook still has non-conference matchups looming with Nebraska and Michigan State, but an 11-22 team from a year ago and one that is picked to finish ninth in the CAA preseason poll should prove no match for the Red Storm that formed a quasi-Ivy League All-Star team. The Red Storm offense should get plenty comfortable in the season opener against a Seawolves team that ranked 358th in turnover percentage forced (14.0%) last season.
The -18 found at Caesars and DraftKings provides better value than the -18.5s at some of our other best sports betting sites.
College basketball best bets made 11/7/2023 at 6:37 a.m. ET
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