College Basketball Best Bets (1/24/24): Expert Picks & Predictions For Wednesday’s Slate

Find college basketball best bets and expert picks for the Wednesday slate, including analysis of Samford vs. Furman, Auburn vs. Alabama, and Colorado State vs. Nevada.

College Basketball Best Bets Today (1/24/24)

There are some intriguing college basketball games on the Wednesday slate, including seven ranked teams in action. In this article, I’ll break down some of my favorite betting spots on the board. Two games in this article fit one of my favorite trends in college basketball in backing a home unranked favorite over a road ranked underdog.

Ranked teams have struggled on the road all season, going 47-62 SU (43%). We’ve seen several “upsets” this year where a ranked team loses on the road in a spot where the market saw it coming. In fact, unranked home teams have gone 33-23-1 ATS (59%) against road ranked teams this season. Over the last two years, that trend is 130-90-1 ATS (59%).

With that trend in mind and a constant goal to buy low and sell high on teams, let’s get to work.

College Basketball Best Bets Record 2-0 (+2 units)

Samford at Furman

Samford was featured as a team to sell in my recent buy-sell report for Lineups, and I’m fading them as they hit the road to face Furman on Wednesday night. Samford has won 17 straight games, a historic run for the program, and they’re the first team in program history to receive votes in the AP Top 25 poll. However, it’s time to sell high for a number of reasons.

Samford has played the 324th-ranked schedule by BPI this season and has feasted on a slew of bad teams. They’re a prime regression candidate as they’ve shot 40.9% from 3-point range, which is third in the country, but they’re only slightly above average in open 3 rate per ShotQuality. Based on the quality of 3-point shots they’ve obtained, the Bulldogs should be shooting around 33% from deep.

You might remember Furman from March Madness last year, when they upset Virginia in the first round. JP Pegues, who hit that memorable game-winning shot, is back for his junior season and averaging 17.7 points, 5.3 assists, and 4.2 rebounds per game. He’s joined by Marcus Foster and Alex Williams who are all averaging over 16 points per game this season.

Furman is a team with some positive regression indicators as they’re 314th in KenPom’s luck ratings and have five losses this season graded as ShotQuality wins. This has been a historically difficult road matchup for Samford as Furman is 11-3 at home against them all-time, and I’m betting on that continuing on Wednesday night.

Best Bet: Samford -2.5 (play to -4)

Auburn at Alabama

Bruce Pearl deserves a ton of credit for his coaching job this season as Auburn is 16-2 and up to #8 in the AP Top 25. However, I’m not sold, and it appears the market isn’t either as the Tigers are underdogs on Wednesday against an unranked Alabama team.

Auburn’s strength of schedule ranks outside the top 100 in the country per ESPN’s BPI and KenPom had their non-conference schedule ranked 158th. They’re 5-0 in conference play, but only one of their five conference opponents ranks top 75 in the country per KenPom. Alabama will be the best team Auburn has faced all season by a sizable margin.

Alabama is coming off a disappointing 20-point road loss against Tennessee, but the Volunteers were perfectly equipped to handle the Tide’s offense with arguably the best defense in the country. Still, head coach Nate Oats didn’t mince his words after that game, issuing a clear challenge to his players.

“I am still trying to figure out, are we a competitive group that does what it takes to win?” Oats said. “Or do we just got a lot of really talented players that fold when they’re in the middle of tough games against good teams? I’m not sure yet. I hope we have some competitive guys.”

The Crimson Tide remain one of the most dangerous offenses in the country, ranking second in adjusted efficiency. Senior Mark Sears leads the way with 19.8 points per game on blistering 53-47-82 shooting splits, and Auburn simply hasn’t seen a scorer like him this season. Auburn ranks 7th in defensive efficiency, but they simply haven’t faced an offense like this all season.

Alabama has dropped to 12-6, but they’ve gone through a gauntlet of a schedule with the 5th-ranked strength of schedule per ESPN. That schedule included games against three top ten teams by BPI – Purdue (2nd), Arizona (3rd), and Creighton (9th). The Tide are a clear team to buy as they get into an easier portion of their schedule, and that starts on Wednesday.

Best Bet: Alabama -3 (play to -4.5)

Colorado State at Nevada

Nevada is on the heels of three tough losses in conference play, and they’re looking to bounce back on Wednesday night. Losses to Boise State and San Diego State are excusable – those are two of the top teams in the Mountain West this season – but a loss to Wyoming, who ranks 194th in KenPom’s adjusted efficiency margin, certainly raised some eyebrows.

Wyoming has shot well from deep all season, but Nevada was unlucky to catch them on a night where they were especially hot, making an absurd 56% of their three-point attempts in the game. I expect the Wolf Pack to ratchet up the defensive intensity on Wednesday night – after all, this is a team that ranks top 30 in steal and block rate and 48th in adjusted defensive efficiency per KenPom.

Ultimately, I see this as a great buy low spot for Nevada after its three-game losing skid. The Wolf Pack were off to a 15-1 start punctuated by impressive wins over Washington, TCU, and Georgia Tech. Steve Alford is one of the most respected coaches in mid major hoops and I’m betting on him pressing the right buttons and getting his team back in the win column.

Nevada is also a fit for the trend mentioned above as a home favorite over a ranked road team in Colorado State, who’s up to #24 in the AP Top 25. I’m betting on the Wolf Pack protecting home court on Wednesday.

Best Bet: Nevada -2.5 (play to -4)

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I've been a huge sports fan for as long as I can remember and I've always loved writing. In 2020, I joined the Lineups team, and I've been producing written and video content on football and basketball ever since. In May 2021, I graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in sport management. My goal is to tell enthralling stories and provide meaningful insight on the sports I write about while helping you cash some bets along the way.

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