College Basketball Betting Picks for Tuesday 3/12/24

Aidan Cotter
Aidan CotterAidanCotterFD
College Basketball Betting Picks for Tuesday 3/12/24

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

Saint Louis vs. Rhode Island, 5:30 p.m. ET

Saint Louis Over 78.5 Points (-105)

The Saint Louis Billikens face off with the Rhode Island Rams in the opening round of the Atlantic 10 Tournament. The 14th-seeded Billikens find themselves as 2.5-point favorites against the 11th-seeded Rams. The over/under is set at 154.5 points. While I don't have enough trust in SLU's offense to back them against the spread, we can look for them to go over their 78.5 team total in what should be a high-scoring affair.

SLU and URI finished 5-13 and 6-12 in conference play, but they took different paths getting there. The Billikens started just 1-8 but won three of their last five games to close out the year. Among those were road wins over No. 7 seed St. Bonaventure and these very Rams. For Rhode Island, they started 3-0 and sat .500 as recently as February 6th. However, the Rams struggled mightily down the stretch, dropping seven of their final eight games.

Consequently, Saint Louis sits at No. 157 nationally in Haslam Metrics' momentum metric. Rhode Island is 327th.

Despite Saint Louis' ugly record, they really started to pick things up on offense over the final month of the year. In their final nine games of the season, SLU averaged 83.2 points per game and ranked 32nd nationally in adjusted offensive efficiency, per Bart Torvik. They were 39th in effective field goal percentage, 46th in three-point field goal percentage, and 19th in pace over that span.

In that same sample on the other side, Rhode Island allowed 77.3 points per game and slotted in at No. 265 in adjusted defensive efficiency. They ranked 301st in effective field goal percentage allowed and 303rd in three-point attempt rate allowed while playing at a top-100 pace.

If you're thinking, "Boy, Saint Louis' offense has been rolling and Rhode Island's defense has been struggling" -- you'd be spot-on. We saw that play out in their March 2nd matchup where the Billikens dropped 94 points in a road victory. Both sides shot the cover off the ball in that high-scoring affair, but a career-high 30 points from SLU's Gibson Jimerson proved to be the difference-maker.

The junior sharpshooter was a huge reason Saint Louis' offense clicked down the stretch. He averaged 19.1 points per game over the final seven games, posting a 25% usage rate. That uptick in usage was much needed with leading scorer Sincere Parker missing four of their final five games. That said, the Billikens put up 79 points per game in those absences, so I'm in on their team total regardless of his status. The potential return of their 15.9-point-per-game scorer would only further bolster my confidence in SLU's offense.

I'm expecting Saint Louis' offense to stay hot here and take advantage of a below-average Rhode Island D. After putting up 94 points against the Rams less than two weeks ago, consider Saint Louis Over 78.5 points (-105) in tonight's win-or-go-home opening round.

Stony Brook vs. Charleston, 7:00 p.m. ET

Stony Brook 1st Half +5.5 (-105)

Another ticket to the NCAA Tournament will be punched when the No. 7 seed Stony Brook Seawolves face the No. 1 seed Charleston Cougars in the Coastal Athletic Association (CAA) championship tonight. Charleston is favored by 9.5 points, and the over/under is set at 149.5 on FanDuel Sportsbook. I'd lean Stony Brook +9.5 between the sides, but my favorite way to play the 'ship is taking Stony Brook +5.5 in the first half.

At first glance, it's hard to fade the Cougars here. Charleston rides the nation's second-longest active win streak (11 games) into tonight's final, and they're sixth in positive momentum. While they won the first game of the CAA tournament by 24, Charleston won by only five in the semifinals. They previously beat Stony Brook by six in the regular season, though that was back in early January.

Charleston was, by all accounts, the best team in the CAA all year long. They won the regular season by two full games and finished with the conference's top net rating (+14.8). Three of their starting five made All-League teams, and their first guy off the bench won the CAA Sixth Man of the Year. Then, of course, there's head coach Pat Kelsey who just won CAA Coach of the Year.

Stony Brook, meanwhile, is undeniably the Cinderella of this CAA tournament. After going 10-8 in the regular season, the Seawolves took down 10 seed Northeastern, 2 seed Drexel, and 3 seed Hofstra to reach the final. They finished the regular season with just the sixth-best net rating (+3.9), ranking fifth in both offensive and defensive rating.

That said, Stony Brook has been playing their best ball of the season. They're 12th in positive momentum and have won six of their last seven games. They held a halftime lead in six of those seven, a reoccurring trend for the fast-starting Seawolves. Stony Brook is just 229th in first half scoring offense, but 81st in first half scoring D. Including the CAA tournament, the Seawolves have trailed by more than five points at the half in just four of 21 conference games.

We saw that strong early play from Stony Brook the first time these sides squared off. While Charleston eventually won by six, it was Stony Brook that held a seven-point halftime lead, going up by as many as 15 in the first period. With an NCAA Tournament bid on the line, I'm expecting the Seawolves to come out strong yet again.

numberFire's model projects Charleston to win by 7.2 points here, so Stony Brook +9.5 is certainly in play. However, I'm wary of backing the Seawolves over a full 40 minutes against a superior team. Instead, given their track record of early success, I'll take them to cover 5.5 in the first half.

No. 17 Gonzaga vs. No. 21 Saint Mary's, 9 p.m. ET

Gonzaga -3.5 (-110)

Though Tuesday's slate is light on high-profile games, the West Coast Conference features a top-25 matchup with the No. 17 Gonzaga Bulldogs facing the No. 21 Saint Mary's Gaels in the conference championship. Gonzaga is favored by 3.5 while the over/under is set at 137.5 on FanDuel Sportsbook. I like the Bulldogs to come out on top here, covering the spread in the process.

This will be the third meeting of the season between these west coast powers. They split the regular season series, with the road team winning both prior contests. However, Gonzaga's really picked things up since they lost to Saint Mary's on February 3rd. They've won nine straight since and rank first nationally in adjusted offensive efficiency and effective field goal percentage over that span.

Gonzaga is 41st in positive momentum, while Saint Mary's is 119th. That isn't to say the Gaels are struggling -- they went 15-1 in the WCC and have won 17 of their last 18 games -- but they aren't peaking in the same way as Gonzaga.

Though neither side was spectacular in the non-conference portion of their schedule, Gonzaga's 11-5 start was uncharacteristic of a Mark Few team. At one point, the Bulldogs were on the wrong side of the bubble, but they're now projected to be a No. 7 seed in the NCAA Tournament, according to Bracket Matrix's consensus projections. Saint Mary's is projected as a No. 8 seed, so there's not a whole lot on the line big picture.

Still, while both teams are safely in the field, Gonzaga proved how far they've come in the regular season finale against Saint Mary's. They took down the Gaels 70-57 in a hostile environment, leading by as many as 19 points in the first half. Gonzaga took a 5-3 lead just three minutes into the game and led the rest of the way.

Gonzaga is peaking at the right time, and they just beat Saint Mary's by double-digits on the road. In a neutral environment, I like the Bulldogs to stay hot here and cover as 3.5-point favorites.

If you’re betting on any NCAAB action before Selection Sunday on March 17th, you can take advantage of FanDuel Sportsbook’s College Basketball Boost Builder. See the promotions page for more information.

Looking for more college basketball betting opportunities? Head over to FanDuel Sportsbook to check out all of the upcoming college basketball odds.

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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.