Get college basketball best bets for the 3/6/23 slate, featuring best bets for New Orleans vs. Southeast Louisiana and BYU vs. Saint Mary’s.
College Basketball Best Bets (3/6/23)
The vibes stayed high in the world of college basketball as we added another 1.9 units to our massive 9.73-unit Saturday. Illinois came from behind to pull out the road cover, Drake raced to a massive win and clinched their ticket to the dance, Texas State eked out a third straight cover, and Drew Pember brought home UNC Asheville with a live halftime bet.
I can’t promise the results will be quite as elite as they’ve been the past couple of days. Unit allocation remains paramount, even as we’re in the midst of a hot streak. That said, let’s keep the good times rolling on Monday as we get closer to the peak of March.
March College Basketball Bets Record: 23-9 (+12.93 units)
New Orleans Privateers at Southeast Louisiana Lions
The New Orleans Privateers are on an absolutely torrid run to close this season. They are 5-1 straight up and against the number over their last six games and, as a result, they’re ranked sixth in Hasmaletrics’ positive momentum rating.
Junior guard Jordan Johnson is a huge reason for this run of form as he’s averaging just under 23 points over his last eight games. He’s up to the 42nd-ranked player in KenPom’s offensive ratings.
Tonight, Johnson faces a Southeastern Louisiana defense that he torched twice during the regular season. He totaled 43 points across those two matchups while hitting 12 of 18 three-pointers. That performance from deep was part of a combined 19-36 shooting clip from 3 for New Orleans across those two matchups.
The Privateers are an excellent three-point shooting team – they rank 13th in the country with a 38.4% clip – and they’re facing a Lions defense ranked 351st in 3-point rate allowed this season. The Lions don’t do well to run opponents off the three-point line, either, as they rank 312th in three-point attempt rate allowed.
Despite ranking 300th in KenPom adjusted defensive efficiency, the Lions are 18-13 this season. They rank 52nd in KenPom’s luck ratings, however, and are due for negative regression. New Orleans, meanwhile, is 231st in luck and on the opposite end of the regression spectrum.
In these teams’ first matchup, New Orleans lost by five points on the road. However, the second matchup at home was a 16-point SLU win. That was mostly due to the Privateers turning the ball over 24 times.
Turnovers have killed New Orleans all season as they rank second-worst in turnover rate on offense. They also rank fourth-worst in allowing potential breakaway points off steals per Haslametrics.
Southeast Louisiana ranks 80th in turnover rate on defense, and they will likely win the turnover battle here. However, the Lions rank 298th in points per possession in transition per ShotQuality and won’t consistently turn those turnovers into points.
Bart Torvik has New Orleans as the second-ranked team in the Southland since they started their current run of form on February 16, and I like that surge to continue against an overvalued Southeastern Louisiana team.
Best Bet: New Orleans +5 (play to +3.5)
BYU Cougars at Saint Mary’s Gaels
BYU has started the West Coast Conference Tournament in style with double-digit wins over Portland and Loyola Marymount. Now, in the semifinal, they face a Saint Mary’s team that beat them twice during the regular season.
The Gaels have had an extended break due to the double bye format – they haven’t played since their regular season finale on February 25th. That’s an eight-day period without any games played for Saint Mary’s.
It’s a constant deliberation whether or not the long layoff prior to a postseason game helps or hurts a team. I’m of the opinion that it’s situationally dependent, and for a Saint Mary’s team that has seen its offense go through stretches where it’s stuck in the mud, I believe we could see some rust from the Gaels in the scoring department.
Saint Mary’s has had an excellent defensive season as they rank fifth in adjusted efficiency on that end per Kenpom. Haslametrics has them ranked fifth in near proximity shooting percentage allowed and sixth in potential points allowed off second chance opportunities.
However, the Gaels are due for some regression on that end. ShotQuality has them rated as just the 319th-ranked defense in half-court expected points per possession. In particular, they are due for regression in their interior defense. ShotQuality projects that they should be allowing opponents to shoot 8.6% better at the rim.
BYU is well equipped to test that potential vulnerability as they rank 11th in near-proximity field goal percentage per Haslametrics. Forward Fousseyni Traore leads BYU with 13 points per game, and the Mali product is built like a linebacker at 6’6”, 240 lbs. He can have success inside against the Gaels in this game.
Final | BYU 82, Portland 71.
— Sean Walker (@ActuallyDSW) March 4, 2023
The last thing I find concerning about Saint Mary’s as we enter postseason play is their reliance on their home court. Haslametrics ranks them 326th in the country in their away-from-home rating.
In this neutral-site environment in Las Vegas, I expect a much stronger advantage for BYU who has an undergrad population of about 31,000. Compare that to Saint Mary’s, a private university with an undergrad population of about 2,000, and the Cougars should be able to make this almost a home game with their alumni packing the house.
ShotQuality has this game projected as a two-point Saint Mary’s win, and I believe BYU will give them everything they can handle. Add in a potentially rusty Gaels offense and an environment that should favor the underdog, and we have the makings of an upset.
I’m putting a unit on the spread here and a half unit on the Moneyline from some of my Saturday profits. You should be able to find the ML around +250, and I’ll track it there.
Best Bet: BYU +6.5 (play to +4.5) and 0.5 units on ML (+250)