College Basketball Betting Picks for Friday 3/8/24

Riley Thomas
Riley Thomas_riley8
College Basketball Betting Picks for Friday 3/8/24

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

Evansville Purple Aces vs. Drake Bulldogs, 6 p.m. ET

Drake -13.5 (-115)

The Drake Bulldogs -- who rank 54th in KenPom -- play in their first game of the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) Tournament on Friday against the Evansville Purple Aces, who upset 7-seeded Illinois State on Thursday. Drake holds the No. 2 seed in the tournament and has the second-shortest odds to win it (+200), per FanDuel's college basketball conference tournament odds.

Against the 10-seeded Aces, the Bulldogs are significant 13.5-point favorites. Earning an outright bid as a mid-major for the NCAA Tournament looks unlikely, so Drake could be in a must-win situation for the tournament. It begins with Friday's matchup with Evansville.

I like the Bulldogs' chances of rolling to a cover. They rank 35th in adjusted offensive efficiency -- the second-best mark in the conference -- while the Purple Aces are 185th in adjusted defensive efficiency. Drake ranks in the 90th percentile with 80.7 points per game (PPG), shoots 48.3% from the field (93rd percentile), and totals 20.2 two-point makes per contest (77th percentile).

Frankly, I'm not sure how Evansville can slow this potent attack. The Aces rank in the bottom 38% in PPG allowed, opponent field goal percentage (FG%), and opponent two-point percentage. The Bulldogs' dominant scorer Tucker DeVries (21.9 PPG) leads the team with 218 three-point attempts on the season. The Purple Aces sit in the bottom 3% in three-point attempts and makes allowed per game, setting DeVries up for another dominant performance.

One of Evansville's sole strengths on offense is ranking in the 71st percentile of two-point shots per contest. Drake has the answer, for only 28.2% of their opponents' shots are close twos (98th percentile).

Don't expect an upset in this one. The Bulldogs are 8-2 over their last 10 games and have won 10 straight contests against the Purple Aces. Give me Drake to cover the spread in their first appearance in the 2024 MVC Tournament.

Boise State Broncos at No. 21 San Diego State Aztecs, 10 p.m. ET

Under 136.5 (-105)

Two potential NCAA Tournament teams clash in the Mountain West as San Diego State plays host to Boise State. The Broncos' offense has heated up like a frying pan over the last six games at 83.0 PPG (76.0 PPG on the season). However, only two of the six opponents ranked in the top 100 of adjusted defensive efficiency. Both of these squads also ranked outside the top 30 in defense.

The Aztecs' defense should be a much bigger challenge for Boise State. San Diego State boasts the ninth-best adjusted defensive efficiency and holds opponents to 65.8 PPG (92nd percentile). The Broncos rank in the 59th percentile in three-point shots per game compared to sitting in the bottom 25% in two-point attempts per contest.

SDSU is among the bottom 100 with opponents taking 41.1% of their shots from three, but the Aztecs rank in the 95th percentile in opponent three-point percentage (30.2%). Plus, Boise State has converted only 13 of their last 43 three-point shots (30.2%). I'm not too worried about the Broncos' three-point shoot when considering their recent efficiency.

Both teams sit among the 61st percentile for the slowest paces in college basketball. This is further emphasized by each team ranking outside the top 200 in field goals attempted per game (out of 362 teams).

San Diego State logged only 66.5 PPG over their previous four contests, and Boise is in the 77th percentile in two-point attempts allowed per game. This is key with the Aztecs sitting in the bottom 21% in three-point percentage compared to the 64th percentile in two-point percentage. The Broncos have the tools to slow SDSU's greatest scoring strength.

The under has hit in four consecutive games for the Aztecs; I expect this trend to continue.

If you’re betting on college basketball action happening March 8th, you can take advantage of FanDuel Sportsbook’s Boost Builder. See the promotions page for more information.

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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.