College Basketball Betting Picks for Sunday 3/17/24

Austin Swaim
Austin SwaimASwaim3
College Basketball Betting Picks for Sunday 3/17/24

The college basketball season always provides a flurry of twists and turns that few saw coming -- especially when the NCAA Tournament 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

Florida vs. Auburn, 1:00 P.M. EST

Florida +5.5 (-110)

After a day of wild conference tournament upsets in college hoops on Saturday, can the Florida Gators pull another?

That answer has to unequivocally be yes given the way their last meeting with the Auburn Tigers went. The one-game sample between these teams was an 81-65 win in Gainesville for Florida, holding Auburn to their lowest total of points in SEC play this season.

UF is a handful between the 13th-most efficient offense in college basketball (per KenPom) with the 18th-highest tempo. Will Richard and Walter Clayton Jr. give the Gators a backcourt advantage even with Auburn's Johni Broome lurking on the wing. Neither of these teams really play through a big.

DRatings projects this spread to be just 4.6 points, and numberFire's model expects a margin of 4.3 points. After what we saw in February, I'd be surprised if the Gators can't keep things tight.

Temple vs. UAB, 3:15 P.M. EST

Under 138.5 (-105)

Of all potential conference winners, the Temple Owls would be the most surprising.

Not only do the Owls have a 16-19 record, but they're ranked 180th (!) in KenPom's adjusted overall efficiency metric. A one-point, jarring upset of talented-but-inconsistent Florida Atlanta has allowed them to face the UAB Blazers for the American Athletic Conference Championship.

UAB is no blue blood, either. They're ranked 106th in KenPom and hold Bart Torvik's 211th-ranked defense. That would have been a huge issue against FAU, but Temple's 228th-ranked offense is skill-based matchmaking.

Overall, I'm siding with the under on this middling total due to the tempo of these schools. UAB's 168th-ranked tempo (per Bart Torvik) is below average, but it looks like the "Showtime" Los Angeles Lakers in comparison to the Owls' 234th-ranked spot.

numberFire has this total at 138.2 points -- a sentiment that both Bart Torvik (133.0) echos. Temple averaged just 65.7 points per game in three contests prior to the legendary upset of FAU.

Wisconsin vs. Illinois, 3:30 P.M. EST

Wisconsin Over 72.5 Points (-114)

You'll see the Illinois Fighting Illini as part of some not-so-great lists on FanDuel Research this week, and today's game could prove why.

Illinois' defense is ripe for an upset of a top seed in the NCAA Tournament. They're just 81st in KenPom despite the site's 10th-overall ranking due to elite offense, which we saw on display with a 98-point win (and comeback) to make the Big Ten Championship Game. Their efficiency also comes with the 57th-ranked tempo in D1 hoops, which is why I'm targeting the Wisconsin Badgers' team total in this spot.

Wisconsin posted 83 points at home in their only meeting with the Illini this year, and this represents a great spot for Sconny to put up points. They're a glacial 307th in adjusted tempo (still per KenPom) themselves, so this is a gigantic pace-up spot against a defense that's more susceptible than some fans might think based on their record.

While split on the outcome of this game, most college hoops analytic sites like the Badgers' potential to score today. Bart Torvik expects 77.0 points out of Wisconsin on Sunday, and DRatings projects 73.7 points.

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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.