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College basketball best bets.
College basketball best bets.

A light 15-game college basketball slate is the perfect appetizer ahead of an intriguing weekend schedule. Read on for our college basketball best bets for Friday based on the top NCAAB odds.

The Tennessee Volunteers became the latest highly-ranked school to be upset on Wednesday night. The Florida Gators made history with that victory, according to ESPN Stats & Info. Bettors would be wise to keep that trend in mind when the newest AP poll comes out on Monday afternoon.

Here are our college basketball best bets for Friday (odds via BetMGM and PointsBet; Pick confidence is based on a 1-to-5-star scale).

Check out our top college basketball picks and our best March Madness betting sites.

Friday’s college basketball schedule and odds

(odds via DraftKings Sportsbook)

  • Boise State vs. San Diego State (-5.5)
  • VCU vs. Saint Louis (-3.5)
  • Kent State vs. Akron (-2)
  • Cornell vs. Princeton (-3)

Check out our best March Madness odds and Wooden Award odds.

College basketball best bets for Friday

  • Spread: Quinnipiac -5.5 vs. Fairfield (-105 via BetMGM) ⭐⭐⭐
  • Moneyline: Princeton ML vs. Cornell (-145 via PointsBet) ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Total: VCU-Saint Louis Over 140.5 (-110 via PointsBet) ⭐⭐⭐
  • Upset: Boise State ML vs. San Diego State (+220 via PointsBet) ⭐⭐⭐

College basketball top picks

Spread: Quinnipiac -5.5 vs. Fairfield (-105) ⭐⭐⭐

Quinnipiac is red-hot over its last eight games while going 7-1, including six seven-plus-point wins. Its only loss over that span was to an Iona team the Bobcats led 45-28 on the road at halftime. Fairfield is a combined 1-3 straight up against the top four teams in the MAAC, and the Stags rank seventh or worse in adjusted offensive efficiency and effective field-goal percentage during league play. 

This is a three-star play because there should be a significant gap in the 3-point shooting of these teams. Fairfield is shooting just 28% (10th) beyond the arc in league play, while Quinnipiac is in the top five and boasts the second-highest 3-point field-goal percentage of any MAAC team.

All the sportsbooks are in unison with the -5.5 point spread. But BetMGM is offering the only way to back the favorites at less than the standard -110 juice.

Moneyline: Princeton ML vs. Cornell (-145)⭐⭐⭐⭐

Princeton is 8-1 SU at home during its previous nine Ivy League games dating back to last season. The Tigers earned a hard-fought 75-68 victory at Cornell on Jan. 7, and this is their first rematch against a conference opponent in 2022-23.

The Tigers overcame 18 turnovers in the first meeting while going to the free-throw line 13 more times than Cornell. They also held the Big Red way below their season-scoring average (84.9 points per game). This is a solid four-star play, as Princeton should own a significant advantage on the backboards. The school is the Ivy League’s best rebounding team (plus-7.8 rebounding differential), and it'll be up against the third-worst squad in that category (Cornell’s rebounding differential is plus-1.0).

PointsBet is the only sportsbook offering the Tigers at lower than the consensus opening number of -150.

Check out our best sports-betting sites for New Jersey.

Total: VCU-Saint Louis Over 140.5 (-110) ⭐⭐⭐

This is a matchup of two of the Atlantic 10’s top three teams in adjusted offensive efficiency, effective field-goal percentage, and 3-point shooting percentage.

VCU should be able to get into a rhythm offensively on the road, as the Billikens aren't built to expose the Rams’ biggest weakness. VCU turns the ball over on 19.8% of possessions (14th) in league play, but Saint Louis forces turnovers at the A-10’s lowest rate (14.9%). The Billikens have scored or allowed 70-plus points in eight of their previous nine games, and Saint Louis’ league-best assist-to-turnover rate (16.1-11.9) should help the team succeed against the disruptive VCU defense.

The Under has cashed in five of VCU’s last six games, and in 10 of Saint Louis’ 13 against teams with a winning record. Thus, a wager on the Over is a contrarian play.

Upset: Boise State ML vs. San Diego State (+220) ⭐⭐⭐

San Diego State is looking for revenge against a Boise State team that won all three matchups in 2021-22, including the Mountain West Championship game that resulted in the Broncos’ first-ever conference tournament title. Though seven total points decided those three contests, Boise State held the Aztecs to three of their four-lowest scoring outputs of the season, making the +220 odds here awfully enticing.

Scoring should once again be difficult for San Diego State, as the Broncos rank ninth or better nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency, offensive-rebounding percentage allowed, and 3-point percentage defense.

The underdog is 4-0 ATS in the last four meetings between these teams. But we're opting for the better value on the inflated moneyline odds rather than the +6.5 points one can find at FanDuel.

College basketball best bets made 2/3/2023 at 6:15 a.m. ET.

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