College Basketball Betting Picks for Wednesday 1/31/24
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. Metrics via numberFire unless otherwise stated.
College Basketball Best Bets
Richmond at Fordham
The Richmond Spiders (15-5, 7-0 conference) ride the nation's second-longest active win streak into tonight's bout with the Fordham Rams (9-11, 3-4). I'm expecting the Spiders to pick up their 11th straight W tonight and cover as 2.5-point favorites in the process.
Richmond notched its biggest win of the season in its most recent outing, beating Dayton by five to take sole possession of first place in the Atlantic 10. The Spiders sport one of the best defenses in the country and rank second in the conference in scoring defense (63.3 points allowed). Although they're just 12th in scoring offense, Richmond owns the A-10's lowest turnover rate (10.8%) and third-highest three-point field goal percentage (38%).
Fordham, meanwhile, has dropped three of their last four games and has yet to win a home conference game. Two of those home losses came to Davidson and La Salle -- teams who've otherwise combined for a 2-10 conference record. In conference play, Fordham ranks 12th in scoring defense (78.3 points allowed) and fourth in scoring offense (76.4 points scored), though both numbers are inflated thanks to a triple-overtime game.
The Rams struggle to defend the three, allowing the highest three-point rate in the conference. That bodes well for Richmond, as they're highly efficient from beyond the arc. Senior guard Jordan King (19 points per game) has hit multiple triples in five of seven conference games, and he'll give the Spiders the best player on the floor.
As long as Richmond hits its outside shots, the Spiders should cruise to a comfortable win. Considering Fordham has allowed A-10 opponents to shoot 43% from beyond the arc at Rose Hill Gymnasium, that feels like a safe proposition.
numberFire's model has the Spiders winning by 4.2, so I'll back the model and take Richmond -2.5.
Notre Dame at Virginia
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish (7-13, 2-7) visit the Virginia Cavaliers (15-5, 6-3) in what's expected to be a low-scoring affair. The over/under is set at just 115.5, by far the lowest total on tonight's slate.
That's still not low enough, and I see value in the under.
Notre Dame and Virginia feature the two low-scoring offenses in the ACC, averaging 60.8 and 65.6 points per game, respectively. They're simultaneously the top two scoring defenses, with the Cavaliers allowing 62.3 points per game and the Irish giving up 63.2.
Part of that is because of how slowly both teams play. Not only are they the two slowest-paced teams in the ACC -- they're two of the slowest-paced teams, period. Among 362 Division-I teams, Virginia ranks 361st in KenPom's adjusted tempo while Notre Dame ranks 334th.
That's led to both teams heavily trending under this season. Both squads have played 20 games -- 15 went under for Virginia, and 13 went under for Notre Dame.
Although the Irish had their highest-scoring game of the ACC season in an earlier matchup with Virginia, it came via a red-hot night from three. ND nailed 11 three-pointers at a 48% clip in that win -- by far their best shooting performance in conference play. For the Cavaliers, that was just the second time they allowed a conference foe to shoot greater than 40% from three and both were on the road. At John Paul Jones Arena, only one visiting team made more than 30% of their three-point shots.
This is the perfect storm for a low-scoring affair. Even with a low total, there's value in taking under 113.5.
Vanderbilt at No. 16 Auburn
The Vanderbilt Commodores (5-14, 0-6) visit the No. 16 Auburn Tigers (16-4, 5-2) in what looks like a lopsided affair.
Yet, even with Auburn favored by 18.5 points, I'm on the home favorites to cover the spread.
Auburn enters tonight's action ranked 16th in the AP Poll. The Tigers dropped eight spots after losing a pair of road games last week, but they're well-positioned to bounce back at Neville Arena tonight.
For one, Auburn already beat Vanderbilt by 15 points on the road. They held the Commodores to 38% shooting in that one, outscoring them by 16 in the paint and out-rebounding them by nine.
Given how conference play has gone for both sides, I expect more interior dominance from Auburn.
Per Bart Torvik, the Tigers have scored 43% of their buckets at the rim this season, the third-highest rate in the SEC. They're shooting 62% on such attempts (fifth) and 53% on two-point attempts overall (third).
Vanderbilt, meanwhile, struggles to defend the interior. They've let up the sixth highest at-rim field goal percentage in the conference and the fourth-highest two-point field goal percentage overall.
Even if the Commodores hold their own down low, Auburn's defense should give the Tigers plenty of room to cover the spread. In three home conference games, Auburn has given up 60 points just once. Overall, they've permitted a league-low 64.4 points per game in SEC play. They similarly pace the conference in both overall field goal percentage allowed, and three-point field goal percentage allowed.
That does not bode well for Vanderbilt -- not when they sport the SEC's second-worst scoring offense. The Commodores are shooting just 39% in conference play.
Predictably, that's led to a number of lopsided defeats. Of Vandy's six conference Ls, four came by double digits. Their -10.8 average scoring margin is the second worst in the SEC while Auburn's +12.3 scoring margin leads the conference.
numberFire's model pegs Auburn to win by 20.6 points tonight. Given how the earlier matchup went, I'll take Auburn -18.5 and expect the Tigers to roll.
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.