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College basketball best bets.
College basketball best bets.

A high-profile matchup in London between the Michigan Wolverines and Kentucky Wildcats kicks off an action-packed college basketball slate. We have highlighted the odds, movements, and our college basketball best bets for Sunday.

Nine AP top-25 teams are in action to close out the first week in December. Three (No. 4 Arizona, No. 7 Creighton, and No. 18 North Carolina) look to avenge losses in their last games, while No. 23 Iowa State hosts St. John's in the latest edition of the Big East-Big 12 Battle.

Here are our best bets for Sunday’s college basketball slate (odds via Caesars Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook, and BetMGM; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale).

Sunday’s College Basketball Schedule and Odds

(odds via DraftKings)

  • Michigan (+320) vs. Kentucky (-390)
  • North Carolina (-105) vs. Virginia Tech (-115)
  • St. John’s (+165) vs. Iowa State (-195)
  • Nebraska (+750) vs. Creighton (-1150)
  • California (+2200) vs. Arizona (-17513)
  • Minnesota (+1300) vs. Purdue (-4000)
  • Oregon (+410) vs. UCLA (-520)
  • Alcorn State (+3500) vs. Tennessee (-20000)
  • Northwestern (+255) vs. Michigan State (-305)

Sunday’s College Basketball Best Bets

  • Spread: Oregon +10.5 (-110 via BetMGM)
  • Spread: Virginia Tech +1.5 (-115 via BetMGM)
  • Total: St. John’s-Iowa State Over 142.5 (-110 via FanDuel)
  • Upset: Maine (+110 via Caesars)

Top College Basketball Picks for Sunday

Spread: Oregon +10.5 (-110) ★★★★

UCLA looks for a second consecutive PAC-12 win against a shorthanded Oregon team with six players averaging more than 24 minutes per game. However, the Ducks are much healthier now than they were toward the end of the Phil Knight Invitational when they had a walk-on in the starting lineup.

N'Faly Dante is a matchup nightmare, and he returned from injury to score an efficient 22 points on 11-of-16 shooting in just 24 minutes. He is a big reason why Oregon ranks third in the conference in points in the paint (34%).

UCLA's interior defense is not its strength, as it allows 51.4% (224th in the country) from 2-point range. In addition, opponents have been able to penetrate and attack the Bruins' weak interior defense, as the Bruins rank 315th in the country in the percentage of opponents' shots coming from 3-point range (43.6%). 

BetMGM along with PointsBet are the only two sportsbooks at which you can get 10 points with the hook, while also paying standard juice to back the underdogs. Thus, these sportsbooks provide much better value than the +9.5 found at FanDuel, as the spread has moved significantly in Oregon’s favor there.

Spread: Virginia Tech +1.5 (-115) ★★★

North Carolina opened as a 1.5-point favorite, and at every other sportsbook except BetMGM, the line has jumped the fence to Virginia Tech -1. Thus, as Hokies backers, we will gladly pay a little extra in juice to get rare points on the spread.

The Tar Heels' season is spiraling fast, going from preseason No. 1 to likely out of the top 25 if they lose this game. A loss would be North Carolina's fourth straight, and it has lost two of its previous three trips to Blacksburg. The three-game losing streak has many starting to speculate if its lofty preseason ranking was due to simply getting hot at the right time at the end of the year last year.

A big reason for the Tar Heels' recent woes is that they are 15-for-59 (25.4%) from 3-point range during the three-game losing streak. In addition, Armando Bacot has committed four fouls in each, which was especially an issue in their last game against Indiana, as he was limited to just 28 minutes.

Virginia Tech is one of the country's cleanest and most efficient offenses, turning the ball over at the fourth-lowest rate (13.4%). North Carolina is 0-3-1 against the spread in its last four road games.

Total: St. John’s-Iowa State Over 142.5 (-110) ★★★

Iowa State made one of the biggest splashes of the season by being the first team to hand then-No. 1 North Carolina its first loss at the Phil Knight Invitational. However, the Cyclones' defense was somewhat exposed in that tournament, as it allowed an average of 71.7 points during the three games.

The Cyclones have not faced any team that resembles St. John's this season. The Red Storm play at the second-fastest tempo in the country, while Iowa State has not played anyone inside KenPom's top 143 in adjusted tempo. Thus, we expect it to get caught up in the track meet that St. John's wants to turn this game into while also forcing turnovers at a high clip (30.7% turnover rate forced is the second-highest in the country), which should lead to plenty of easy buckets of its own.

While the Under has cashed in 10 of Iowa State's last 11 games, the Over is 5-2-1 in St. John's last eight, and it is more likely it speeds up the Cyclones than Iowa State slowing the Red Storm down.

Upset: Maine (+110) ★★★

With this being the first of two games to tip off in London, we expect the circumstances and early start time to level the playing field between the favorite and the underdog. However, Marist has yet to do much to prove it should be a slight favorite in this matchup. The Red Foxes snapped a four-game losing streak with back-to-back wins, but one took overtime against KenPom's 224th-ranked team, and the other victory came in a game when they scored just 52 points and attempted two free throws while shooting 29% from 3-point range.

Marist ranks 354th in adjusted offensive efficiency, while Maine is 22nd in effective field-goal percentage. In addition, the Black Bears have covered the spread in six of their last seven games, while the Red Foxes have failed to cover the spread in their last four neutral-site games.

This line has moved in Maine’s favor thus far from an opening number of +120, so be sure to get the Black Bears at plus odds while you can.

Where to Bet on College Basketball

Here are our top-rated sportsbooks:

College basketball best bets from 12/4/2022 at 7:20 a.m. ET.