College Basketball Best Bets Today: Odds, predictions and picks for Wednesday, January 25th

By Adam Burke  (VSiN.com) 

January 25, 2023 11:30 AM
USATSI_19815840

College basketball schedule today has 48 games

We have more games to pick from tonight than we’ve had the last two days combined, so hopefully there will be some good value bets on the board for Wednesday. We’re starting to get some rematches in conference play and it’s important to handicap those in the right context (he says after losing Oklahoma State/Texas under very badly last night).

Look for outliers from the first game. Did one team light it up from 3? Was there a major injury that altered the outcome? Was there a big free throw discrepancy? Was it a bad spot (off an overtime game, weird travel, off an emotional win, etc.)? The books are trying to keep a handle on 363 teams and a whole lot of games, not to mention continued NFL, NBA and NHL action. Find your edges and look to capitalize.

A couple guys that are good at finding edges are Jonathan Von Tobel and Andy MacNeil. See what they have to say with today’s NBA best bets and NHL top picks.

One other note: The games are sorted by Rotation Number, not strength of pick or anything like that. Some sportsbooks list by Rotation Number. Others list by start time. Just wanted to clear up any confusion with that.

 

 

Here are some thoughts on the January 25 card (odds from DraftKings):

Cal Baptist Lancers (-4, 128.5) at UT Arlington Mavericks

Cal Baptist hits the WAC highway for a Texas two-step against UT Arlington and UT Rio Grande Valley this week. The Lancers have played the third-toughest conference schedule to this point per Bart Torvik and have gone a solid 4-3. UT Arlington will be easily the worst team they’ve played in WACtion thus far and the Lancers have won four of their last five.

There are 13 teams in the WAC and UT Arlington ranks 12th in eFG% offense and defense. The Mavericks are allowing opponents to shoot 44.4% on 3s in league play and face a Cal Baptist team that shoots 3s at the highest rate in the conference. As long as Cal Baptist shoots somewhere close to their averages, they should cover this game. If they go above and beyond, this one may get ugly. They’re shooting 33.3% for the season, but 35.9% against WAC opponents.

The Lancers are a strong defense at the rim. The Mavericks have a fairly high shot share on Close Twos per Torvik, but they don’t finish well on those chances and are a terrible 3-point shooting squad. Arlington has played the ninth-ranked conference schedule and ranks just 10th in conference-only adjusted offensive efficiency and 12th in conference-only adjusted defensive efficiency. Cal Baptist has played the third-ranked schedule and ranks second in offensive efficiency and third in defensive efficiency.

Pick: Cal Baptist -4

Texas A&M Aggies at Auburn Tigers (-4.5, 137.5)

This is a really interesting SEC tilt down in Alabama tonight and I like the underdog Aggies getting a couple of possessions in Auburn. I like Texas A&M’s approach against a team like Auburn. The Tigers have allowed a 43% shot share on Close Twos per Torvik and Texas A&M gets to the rim and finishes well, ranking 83rd in FG% and 55th in shot share. Auburn has the 21st-highest shot share at the rim on defense.

Defensively, the Aggies limit chances at the tin. Their shot share against on Close Twos is the 14th-lowest in the nation. So, using those metrics, it would suggest that Texas A&M gets a lot more looks at the rim, which are high-percentage shots. It also means that Texas A&M forces teams to take a lot of long jumpers. Their shot share against on 3s is 45.8%. Auburn is shooting just 29.9% on 3s, which ranks 332nd in the nation against Division I opponents.

This is the kind of game that makes Auburn really uncomfortable because they can’t shoot from outside. I also see the rate of chances that they allow at the rim and feel like their 43rd-ranked FG% against of 53.1% can’t really continue.

Both teams should get cracks at offensive rebounds here, but those often lead to fouls. Texas A&M is a 74.9% team at the line, while Auburn is at 68.8%. I’ll take the Aggies at the underdog price.

Pick: Texas A&M +4.5

Lehigh Mountain Hawks (-3, 140) at Holy Cross Crusaders

I’m digging deep into the Patriot League for this one and it looks to be a sizable mismatch between Lehigh and Holy Cross. The Mountain Hawks are laying -2.5 at most shops around the country, but DraftKings has one of the few -3s in the market. Lehigh won the first meeting at home by 18 points and only had a one-point edge at the free throw line.

Lehigh had 28 shot attempts at the rim in that game to 20 for Holy Cross. The Mountain Hawks should have success getting the ball inside again. Holy Cross has allowed a 46.1% shot share on Close Twos as defined by Torvik. That is the second-highest percentage in the nation (Siena), so Holy Cross struggles to defend at the rim. To make matters worse, Lehigh is firing away at 42% on 3s in conference play. What has saved Holy Cross in Patriot play is the top 3P% defense, but I don’t think that continues. Lehigh was 10-of-20 in the first meeting.

Holy Cross has been a bit better on offense the last two games, but that’s more of an outlier due to 3-point shooting. The Crusaders just have a bad offense all around. They’re shooting 64.9% at the free throw line for the season, while Lehigh is at 74.3% overall and 77.8% in Patriot League play. If they need to finish off the cover at the line, they should have a good chance at that.

Pick: Lehigh -2.5 (widely available)

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