College Basketball Betting Picks for Tuesday 3/5/24

Riley Thomas
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College Basketball Betting Picks for Tuesday 3/5/24

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

No. 3 Purdue Boilermakers at No. 12 Illinois Fighting Illini

Over 162.5 (-118)

The top matchup of the night is a top-12 battle between the Big Ten's best teams -- Purdue and Illinois.

Both teams have been rolling, with the Boilermakers going 9-1 over the last 10 games while the Fighting Illini have gone 8-2 during the same span. Each squad is led by an elite offense as Purdue boasts KenPom's second-best adjusted offensive efficiency and Illinois carries the third-best mark in the category.

With each team ranking in the 98th percentile by averaging over 84.0 points per game (PPG), we should be in store for a high-scoring game. I'm backing the over thanks to both squads holding some advantages on offense.

Let's start with the Boilermakers' offense. Of course, the unit is carried by Zach Edey, who totals 24.0 PPG while shooting 62.6% from the field. The 7-foot-4 center has been a constant force, elevating Purdue's offense to one of the best two-point attacks in the nation. They shoot 67.4% on close twos (97th percentile) while averaging 20.5 two-point makes per contest (83rd percentile).

The Fighting Illini could be in deep trouble as they rank 103rd in adjusted defensive efficiency and severely lack when it comes to defending the rim. It may take a miracle for Illinois to slow Edey as the Illini rank in the bottom 5% in two-point attempts and makes allowed per game.

The Illini's frontcourt of Quincy Guerrier (1.48) and Dain Dainja (1.75) also have Defensive Bayesian Performance Ratings (DBPR) of under 2.00, per EvanMiya. With Edey taking 49.9% of his shots at the rim and shooting 84.9% on those attempts, the Boilermakers' offense could roll thanks to their star center.

On the other end of the court, Purdue ranks in the bottom 29% in two-point and three-point attempts allowed per game. The perimeter defense has been particularly concerning as the Boilermakers give up 7.6 made threes per game (bottom 37%) while ranking outside the top 100 in opponent three-point percentage.

The Illini certainly have a quality three-point attack, sitting in the 79th percentile of three-point makes and attempts each contest. It's been like shooting fish in a barrel lately for Illinois as they've made 42.7% of their threes over the last four games.

The over seems like the top pick for this game thanks to these explosive offenses, both of which rank within the 91st percentile of made field goals per contest. With each unit holding advantages for tonight's clash, reaching over 162 points could be as easy as counting to three.

No. 16 Alabama Crimson Tide at Florida Gators

Florida Moneyline (-125)

Florida fell out of this week's AP Top 25 Poll following a loss against South Carolina. The Gators have the chance to climb right back into the polls with upcoming games against Alabama and Vanderbilt. Florida must win out and will need some help to secure a double bye for the upcoming SEC Tournament.

The Crimson Tide are another team looking to secure a double bye for the conference tournament and are likely one win away from doing so. Both teams are hoping to secure a Quad 1 win tonight, which will aid their seeding for the NCAA Tournament.

So, who has the upper hand for tonight's SEC collision?

Florida has been tabbed as the home favorite as they are 13-1 the Stephen C. O'Connell Center while Alabama is barely over .500 on the road at 5-4. The Gators fell short of taking down the Tide in the previous head-to-head matchup, suffering a 98-93 loss in overtime. This could be the night for Florida to enact revenge.

Both teams rank in the 91st percentile of the quickest tempos in college basketball while totaling over 84.0 PPG. As 175.5-point total suggests, tonight's game should be points galore. Florida shouldn't have too many issues scoring as they rank in the 93rd percentile of two-point makes and attempts per game while the Crimson Tide are in the bottom 28% in allowed two-point makes and shots each contest.

The advantages continue for the Gators as they have converted 27 of their last 70 three-point shots (38.6%). For comparison, Florida has shot only 33.9% from three on the season. The Gators have also totaled 9.0 three-point makes over the last five games; this would rank in the 90th percentile for the year. This is yet another weakness for Alabama, who ranks outside the top 200 in allowed three-point attempts and makes per contest.

The Tide also love to shoot the three, notching 30.7 attempts per game (99th percentile). While Florida is 87th in adjusted defensive efficiency, their three-point defense is a strength. The Gators are in the bottom 7% in two-point makes allowed per game, compared to ranking in the 64th percentile in both three-point makes allowed per game and in opponent three-point percentage.

Both offenses will likely excel in this matchup, but someone needs to get stops to come out with the win. Thanks to Alabama ranking 100th in adjusted defensive efficiency, I believe Florida could squeak by with the victory.

No. 21 San Diego State Aztecs at UNLV Rebels

San Diego State -2.5 (-102)

Unranked home teams upsetting top-25 squads in conference play goes together like bread and butter. In fact, backing the home underdog when the spread is small has been a consistent winner for many. However, I'm going against that grain when it comes to San Diego State-UNLV.

The Aztecs are only 2.5-point favorites on the road, but I still believe in SDSU to cover due to potential advantages in the paint. Let's get one thing straight -- neither of these teams shoot the three well. San Diego State is in the bottom 37% in three-point makes per game while UNLV is in the bottom 31% of the same category.

This favors the Aztecs as their weakness on defense has been defending the three (bottom 20% in three-point attempts allowed). This shouldn't be too much of a worry, with the Rebels shooting only 32.2% from deep over the past five contests. It's a different story for SDSU's paint defense as opponents average only 16.0 made twos per game (90th percentile) and 33.2 two-point shots per contest (88th percentile).

On offense, the Aztecs shoot 62.8% on close twos (84th percentile). This could be San Diego State's path to victory with UNLV sitting outside the top 100 in all of two-point makes, shots allowed per game and opponent two-point percentage. According to EvanMiya, the Rebels do not have one starter with a DBPR of over 2.00. This should allow the Aztecs' leading scorer, Jaedon LeDee (20.8 PPG), to flourish as 90.5% of his shots are two-point looks.

If you’re betting on college basketball action happening March 5th, 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.