College Basketball Best Bets Today: Odds, predictions and picks for Wednesday, March 1st

By Adam Burke  ( 

March 1, 2023 12:08 PM

College basketball schedule today has 39 games

There’s an old weather proverb about March coming in like a lion and out like a lamb. Maybe they were talking about college basketball instead. The Month of Madness is here and that means even more conference tournaments and the Big Dance. Plenty of content will be coming your way on those topics, like it already has with some of our conference tournament previews.

Hopefully the picks come in like a lion as well. February certainly went out like a lamb. It was a month on the plus side, albeit barely, after a final-week dip. (Tracking sheet)

Here are some thoughts on the March 1 card (odds from DraftKings)

Missouri Tigers (-4, 148.5) at LSU Tigers

Missouri will be looking for the regular season sweep of LSU down in Baton Rouge here. Missouri won the first meeting by 10 back on Feb. 1 and led by as many as 18 in the first half. For Mizzou, it was a terrific offensive showing with 1.236 points per possession, but they’ve had a lot of those in conference play. This is a very good offense.

That is a huge part of the handicap for this game. Missouri is 15th in eFG%, 15th in 2P% and 51st in 3P%. Meanwhile, LSU is 292nd in eFG%, 304th in 2P% and 236th in 3P%. The two teams are pretty similar defensively. The one blemish for Missouri is defensive rebounding and that is something that LSU exploited in the first meeting with 15 offensive boards, but it still wasn’t enough to do anything other than lose 87-77.

Missouri is an efficient offense at the rim, coming in with a FG% of 65.2%, which ranks 23rd in Close Twos per Bart Torvik. Meanwhile, LSU is finishing at just 56.2% on those shots, which ranks 267th. When you also consider that LSU is allowing opponents to post a 66.2% FG% on Close Twos, you have a huge advantage for the Missouri Tigers in this game.

Also, Missouri is shooting 36.5% on 3s and LSU is pushing opponents into a 3-point attempt on 41.7% of shots. LSU is shooting 33% from 3 and Missouri is forcing a 3-pointer on 43.6% of shots. Missouri just has a way more efficient offense in a game with two similar defenses.

Lastly, Missouri has a TO% on offense of 16.4% that ranks 54th and a TO% on defense that ranks fifth in the nation at 24.5%. LSU is at 18.8% on offense and 18% on defense. That could lead to some extra possessions for Mizzou, who likes to push the tempo.

Pick: Missouri -4 

Tulane Green Wave (-6.5, 155) at East Carolina Pirates

This is a weird home-and-home between Tulane and East Carolina, who will play their two conference games against each other on Wednesday and Saturday. Tulane should have big advantages in both games, including this first meeting tonight. East Carolina is a really bad offensive team, coming in 310th in eFG%. They are one of the worst jump-shooting teams in the nation, ranking 283rd in 2P% and 299th in 3P%.

The problem is that they’re taking a 3 on 42.6% of their shot attempts and cashing in at just 31.7%. In this game against Tulane, they’ll be pushed to take even more than usual, as the Green Wave have a 3P Rate against of 43% and a shot share of just 29.9% against on Close Twos. That is the 24th-lowest rate of shots at the rim against, which means East Carolina will have limited chances to get to the basket.

Not only is ECU inefficient offensively, but Tulane is 11th in TO% on offense at 14.8% and 74th in TO% on defense at 20.2%. The Green Wave won’t give up possessions. And they love to run. Bart Torvik has them down for the third-fastest adjusted tempo in the nation.

Lastly, Tulane has a FG% on Close Twos of 65.3% (21st) and East Carolina is 356th in the country in shot share against on Close Twos at 44%. I don’t see ECU stopping Tulane much and I don’t see the Pirates having offensive success in a game that will be played at a higher tempo than they want.

Pick: Tulane -6.5

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