College Basketball Betting Picks for Thursday 2/29/24

Aidan Cotter
Aidan CotterAidanCotterFD

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

Memphis at East Carolina

East Carolina +4.5 (-110)

The Memphis Tigers are 4.5-point road favorites against the East Carolina Pirates, and I'm all over the home underdogs.

Memphis has had a rollercoaster of a season, peaking at No. 10 in the AP Poll after a 15-2 start. They've since gone 5-6, dropping four of five road games in the process.

In conference play, the Tigers have relied on their offense to lead the way. Memphis leads the AAC in effective field goal percentage and ranks third in offensive rating. They're third in total rebound rate, too.

Memphis does turn the ball over at the second-highest rate, but their biggest issues come on defense. The Tigers rank 10th among 14 AAC teams in defensive rating, and they sport the conference's fourth-worst scoring defense. They've given up at least 75 points in all seven conference road games.

East Carolina hasn't had as many highs as Memphis, but they also haven't had as many low points. At 14-13 overall (7-7 in the AAC), the Pirates are the definition of an average basketball team.

The Pirates sport the AAC's second-best defensive rating, and they've held opponents to the fourth-lowest effective field goal percentage. They do struggle on the glass, and their 98.4 offensive rating leaves a lot to be desired.

They have been much better at home, winning 11 of 18 games at Minges Coliseum and averaging 72.4 points per game. They've hung with a number of high-caliber opponents at home, losing to South Carolina by six and North Texas by one.

numberFire's model has Memphis winning by 3.6 points here, projecting East Carolina to cover 53.2% of the time. Bart Torvik's is even higher, projecting Memphis to win by 0.9.

I'll back the model in a clash between the AAC's fastest team (Memphis) and one of the slowest (East Carolina), banking on the home underdogs to dictate the pace and slow things down. Memphis hasn't proven remotely trustworthy away from home this season, so we can take East Carolina +4.5 and consider East Carolina Moneyline (+172) given their home prowess.

No. 23 Gonzaga at San Francisco

San Francisco +4.5 (-120)

The No. 23 Gonzaga Bulldogs travel south to take on the San Francisco Dons. In a battle between the WCC's second- and third-best teams, I'll trust San Fran to defend their home court and cover as 4.5-point underdogs.

Both sides have breezed through the rest of the WCC. San Francisco is 11-3, dropping two games to first-place Saint Mary's and one to Gonzaga on the road. Gonzaga is 12-2, losing to Saint Mary's but also getting upset at Santa Clara.

The earlier matchup between these teams was tight. Gonzaga pulled out a five-point win, but San Francisco led at half and had it tied at the under-eight-minute timeout.

The Dons nailed 11 threes in that one, par for the course for a team that shoots threes at the second-highest rate in the conference. Gonzaga gives up the fourth-most three-point attempts in the WCC, so another busy night from deep is certainly in the cards.

The biggest thing we can take away from their first matchup was the rebounding battle. Gonzaga edges San Fran in conference rebound rate, but the Dons outrebounded them 41-32 head-to-head. They corralled 13 offensive rebounds -- an area Gonzaga's struggled all year. They've allowed the third-most offensive rebounds and second-chance points per game in the WCC.

I'm banking on San Francisco controlling the glass and lighting things up at home tonight, and that swings me their way spread-wise. The Dons only have one home loss this season, so we can take a peek at San Francisco Moneyline (+152), as well.

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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.