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College basketball best bets.
College basketball best bets.

College basketball fans are treated to a 30-game midweek slate as many programs play their second games of the season, and we have you covered with our daily college basketball player props and best bets for Wednesday based on the best college basketball odds.

The early trend this college basketball season is big favorites covering with ease, especially on Monday's opening night, with favorites of 20 or more points going 23-8 ATS, per college basketball pundit Jon Fendler.

The only top 25 team in action Wednesday is No. 10 Florida Atlantic, which many will have their eye on after last year’s surprising Final Four run. Will it be the second ranked team to fall this season after Michigan State's embarrassing opening night loss?

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

Wednesday’s college basketball schedule and odds

(Odds via DraftKings)

Wednesday’s college basketball best bets

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Wednesday’s college basketball player props

Andrew Taylor (Mississippi State) Over 3.5 rebounds vs. Arizona State (-135 via bet365) ⭐⭐⭐

Mississippi State instantly became an elite defensive team in head coach Chris Jans’ first season. The Bulldogs held teams to 61 points per game, their best defensive performance over a season in 20 years. The defense was the key reason for snapping a three-year NCAA tournament drought, as the team consistently struggled to shoot the basketball, and its points per game dipped from 70 in 2021-22 to 65.7 last year.

Marshall transfer Andrew Taylor was brought in to boost the offense, as the All-Sun Belt player averaged 20.2 points per game last season. But the Bulldogs will still hang their hats on the defensive end, especially early in the season. Solid defense means plenty of misses, and Taylor has averaged 4.6 rebounds per game in all four collegiate seasons.

With Caesars and DraftKings juiced to -139 and -145 for the Over, the best value is found at bet365.

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Wednesday’s college basketball game picks

Florida Atlantic Under 74.5 vs. Loyola Chicago (-125 via bet365) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Florida Atlantic returns nearly everyone from a roster that made a Final Four run last year, and not taking anything away from last year’s dream season, but would it have even made the NCAA tournament if it didn't squeak out a three-point win over Middle Tennessee in the CUSA semifinals?

Loyola Chicago underperformed with just 10 regular-season wins last year, as it uncharacteristically allowed 72.5 points per game (up from the 61.5 points per game the Ramblers allowed in 2021-22). However, the team returns 74.2% of its scoring, 71.4% of its rebounding, and 75.5% of its assists from last season, and that consistency should bode well for defensive improvement early on.

In addition, head coach Drew Valentine brought in two second-team All-Ivy League players, Greg Dolan (Cornell) and Dame Adelekun (Dartmouth), along with one of the best individual defenders from the transfer portal in Davidson’s Des Watson. A more veteran offensive presence should help the Ramblers cut down on their 15 turnovers per game from a year ago, forcing the Owls to work for everything they get in the half court.

Those looking to back the Over will find slightly better value at DraftKings, as its -105 price is lower than the -115 found at bet365. However, Under backers have their choice of preferred shop, with each offering -125 odds.

Jackson State ML vs. San Diego (+106 via FanDuel) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Jackson State has a significant edge in returning production, as it ranks 12th in the country with the most minutes back from last year’s team, while San Diego is much lower at 144th. The Toreros look like they have much work to do after their narrow 68-64 victory over DII Sonoma State. They were outrebounded 30-27 in the game and were bailed out by 27 free-throw attempts on 27 Sonoma State fouls.

Jackson State outrebounded Memphis in its opening night loss and scored a respectable 0.94 points per possession despite 23 turnovers. We do not expect turnovers to be an issue against a San Diego defense that forced turnovers at the 225th-highest rate last year and ranked an abysmal 363rd in defending the 3-point line (41.0% allowed).

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FanDuel is the only one of our best sports betting apps offering plus-money odds for this wager, as the next-best price that any competitor offers is -105.

Bucknell +15 vs. Pennsylvania (-110 via Caesars) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

We did not learn much about UPenn, a team picked to finish fifth in the Ivy League preseason poll, after its 102-57 opening night win over John Jay. Head coach Steve Donahue played 10 players for at least 12 minutes each to find who will replace Jordan Dingle’s scoring after he led the Ivy League at 23.4 points per game last season. That scoring and leadership are difficult to replace, and the Quakers were the conference’s worst-rated team in terms of turnover margin (minus-2.43).

This is a four-star play, as turnovers should again be an issue for UPenn against a Bucknell team that forced turnovers on 20.1% of possessions in its opening-night loss to Delaware. The Bison have increased their win total in the last three seasons under head coach Nathan Davis, and we expect them to play tough in this non-conference matchup. 

The line is moving away slightly from Bucknell, as the Bison were as low as +14 yesterday. Thus, we would not put anyone off waiting for a better number if they think UPenn will go off as a higher favorite, but we do not mind the value of the +15 from several of our best sports betting sites.

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College basketball best bets made 11/8/2023 at 6:39 a.m. ET

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