College Basketball Betting Picks for Friday 12/1/23
The college basketball season always provides a flurry of twists and turns that few saw coming -- especially when March Madness comes around. This can make college basketball one of the most challenging sports to bet on.
Fortunately, we have plenty of tools available that can aid our chances of taking the most favorable college basketball bets. Bart Torvik and KenPom are excellent sources that give insights into team-level efficiency, and Sports Reference provides a wide range of useful team stats, as well.
Let's check out FanDuel Sportsbook's college basketball odds and select some of the best bets of the day by utilizing the mentioned tools.
Please note lines are subject to change throughout the day after this article is published.
College Basketball Best Bets
No. 19 Brigham Young University at Fresno State
BYU -15.5 (-102)
The BYU Cougars have come out strong this season. Their 6-0 record has earned them a spot in the AP Top 25 rankings, with their most notable win coming against a then-17th-ranked San Diego State team.
The season is young, but it's safe to say that the Cougars have already surpassed expectations. Last month's preseason Big 12 Poll had BYU ranked 13th out of 14 teams. A transition from the bottom of the Big 12 totem pole to a national ranking is indicative that BYU was underrated but is also overperforming. And while a national ranking by this season's end may not be in the cards, I do think they can cover in tonight's game against the Fresno State Bulldogs.
BYU's average winning margin through six games sits at a towering 33.83 points. Fresno State (3-3) isn't impressive enough to stop the Cougars from winning this game by half of that average.
KenPom's college basketball ratings have BYU as the 9th-ranked team, while you have to scroll far down to find Fresno State in the 169th spot.
BYU is averaging 92.3 points per game (sixth-most) and Fresno State's 142nd rank in adjusted defensive efficiency will do no favors in slowing down this offense.
Starting BYU forward Fousseyni Traore suffered an injury in their most recent game and is listed as day-to-day. From Mark Pope's comments, it seems more likely than not that the Cougars will be without Traore tonight, which will hurt them. Traore leads the team with a 64.1 field goal percentage (FG%) and is one of their best defenders.
Though Traore's absence will be felt, BYU does have the 13th-best effective field goal percentage (58.6%), which should pair nicely against Fresno State, who allows a 46.0 FG% (287th-worst).
Fresno State fell to James Madison University (No. 22) by a whopping 31 points last week. JMU has been impressive this season, but I don't think it would be a stretch to compare them to BYU -- both teams have over-exceeded expectations thus far and are winning games at impressive margins.
No. 4 Connecticut at No. 5 Kansas
Connecticut Moneyline (+126)
The UConn Huskies (7-0) will visit Allen Fieldhouse tonight for a game against the Kansas Jayhawks (6-1). As non-conference games go, it doesn't get much more exciting than this.
The two most recent NCAA Champions are in play for another championship-caliber season, and tonight's game will shake things up in the AP Top 25 rankings. UConn has won 24 consecutive non-conference games, and though they enter tonight as the road underdogs, I think that streak stays alive against Kansas.
Kansas' pure talent is undeniable. Kevin McCullar Jr. and freshman guard Elmarko Jackson are key prospects for the 2024 NBA Draft, Hunter Dickinson enters his senior year as one of the best players in college basketball (averaging 21.7 points and 12.7 rebounds), and K.J. Adams Jr. and Dajuan Harris Jr. round out this stellar roster.
But the Jayhawks haven't gelled to the tune of this talent just yet. They won close games against Kentucky (then-No. 17) and Tennessee (then-No. 7), but they looked uninspired and discombobulated in their 73-59 loss against Marquette (then-No. 3). Earlier this week, they were only able to get by Eastern Illinois by eight points and even kept the game within three points in the final minutes.
The Huskies have had an easier go of it schedule-wise, but they've impressed nonetheless. Six of their seven games have been 20-plus-point victories, while their other remaining win was a 10-point defeat over Texas (then-No. 15) to win the Empire Classic.
Lauded draft prospect Stephon Castle (knee) has missed the last five games for UConn and will remain out tonight, but the Huskies have enough talent to back his absence up. After all, they haven't had to rely on Castle just yet, with Tristen Newton, Cam Spencer, Alex Karaban, and Donovan Clingan all averaging 14-plus points.
The Dickinson-Clingan matchup at the post should be a fun one to watch, and I think Clingan could go toe-to-toe with Dickinson. He's fresh off a 29-point, 7-rebound outing and is a rare opponent that matches Dickinson in size (both are 7'2). When Kansas' big man faces a small team, he goes off -- he scored 27 points and grabbed 21 boards against a very small Kentucky Wildcats team. His height has been a huge advantage that could be taken away from him tonight.
KenPom's college basketball ratings have UConn as the third-best team, while Kansas ranks 7th. BartTorvik's rankings have UConn two spots ahead of Kansas.
The Huskies are a more disciplined team on defense and have a higher schedule-adjusted defense ranking than Kansas, per numberFire.
The game environment will favor Kansas, and a road victory won't be easy to come by for UConn. But I think the reigning champs are in a place of momentum right now, while Kansas is still in the growing stages of gelling their new talent.
The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author's advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.