Get college basketball best bets for 3/7/23, featuring best bets for Massachusetts vs. Richmond, Georgia Tech vs. Florida State, Loyola-Chicago vs. Saint Joseph’s, and Notre Dame vs. Virginia Tech.
College Basketball Best Bets (3/7/23)
The Monday slate wasn’t our best as we finished with a 1-2-1 record and lost 1.15 units. However, with how hot the weekend was, I expected some natural regression, and it could have been worse with BYU rescuing the push on their +7 spread. New Orleans racing to that win was certainly the highlight of the night. As always, you can find our full bet history and posted plays on this spreadsheet.
Tuesday is loaded to the brim with college basketball, and there are so many exciting games to break down. I’ll be updating this page throughout the day with any additional plays I have. With the first game tipping off at 8:30 AM PST, let’s get to work.
March College Basketball Bets Record: 26-13-1 (+10.83 units)
Notre Dame +7 (play to +5.5)
Virginia Tech has become the trendy team to pick to win the ACC tournament. The Hokies have flashed moments of brilliance at various points this season, and they won four games in four days last year to win the tournament and clinch a spot in the tournament.
However, I have some major concerns about this Hokies team. First, they are incredibly erratic and they rank 329th in consistency according to Haslametrics. They won 12 of their first 13 wins before losing seven straight games.
The Hokies also have a habit of playing down to their competition. Big wins over Duke, Miami, and Pitt are underscored by losses to Georgia Tech and Boston College in games where they were favored by 9 and 13 points, respectively.
Virginia Tech is also poor on the road. They rank 348th in Haslametrics’ away-from-home ratings and are 2-9 ATS on the road, which is the worst mark in the ACC. While the ACC tournament isn’t a true road environment, that’s still a concerning reliance on their home court.
In the first round, the Hokies face a Notre Dame team that has a dreadful 3-17 conference record. However, as we enter the college basketball postseason, regular season records matter not. The Irish are fighting for something different this week.
Head coach Mike Brey enters his final ACC tournament, and it’s fitting as the tournament returns to Greensboro, North Carolina where Brey’s Irish won in 2015. Brey called that championship the “ultimate memory,” and it meant even more to him that his parents were able to see it before passing away shortly after.
Like Brey, this Irish team is experienced and confident. They rank third in experience and 79th in continuity per KenPom as five of the six players averaging 8+ points per game are seniors. The one player in that group of six that isn’t a senior is freshman guard J.J. Starling.
However, Starling was shut down for the remainder of the season as he’s dealing with knee issues. In the macro sense, that injury hurts Notre Dame’s already miniscule chances of making a run to win this tournament given they already rank fourth-worst in KenPom’s bench ratings.
For this game, though, it might actually help. Notre Dame’s lone win in the month of February came without Starling. While he was a highly regarded five-star recruit and the 21st-ranked prospect in his class per 247, there’s less pressure on the seniors on this team to cater to his usage.
Notre Dame is ranked outside the top 300 in luck this season per KenPom and they rank first in the ACC in record luck rating, indicating expected positive regression – they should have a record of 16-15 rather than 11-20 per the site.
The Irish are a fantastic shooting team as they’re 34th in free throw rate at 76.2%. They also can knock down threes as they rank 12th in spacing and 18th in percentage of points that come from three-pointers. In their loss to Virginia Tech this year, the Irish hit 13 of 30 threes (43.3%).
Despite Virginia Tech having a free throw advantage of 25 to 7 in terms of total trips, the game was close throughout. It’s also worth noting that Notre Dame doesn’t foul much – they rank 45th in free throw rate on defense as opponents average 15.3 trips to the line per game.
It’s tough to imagine Notre Dame’s stock being any lower than it is right now, but this is still a talented group of seniors led by one of the most respected coaches in the country in Mike Brey. With everyone flocking to back Virginia Tech in the futures market, I’m zagging the other direction and betting Notre Dame to not only cover but to win in this game.
Best Bet: Notre Dame +7 (play to +5.5) and ML (0.5 units at +250)
Gonzaga -2.5 (play to -3.5)
Tonight, we have the rubber match between Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s for the West Coast Conference championship after these teams split their series during the regular season. However, that 1-1 split is somewhat misleading due to what happened in the first game.
Saint Mary’s was favored at home in the first matchup, but Gonzaga led throughout the entire game. The Zags led by as many as 11 points in the first half before the Gaels made a late surge to push the game to overtime, where they outlasted their opponent.
In the second matchup, Gonzaga didn’t relent as they once again led throughout the game, by as many as 19 points, and won by 9. For most of the two matchups, Gonzaga dominated and it wasn’t particularly close.
The Gaels like to slow games down as they rank just 359th in adjusted tempo per KenPom. The Bulldogs are on the other side as they rank 65th in adjusted tempo and like to play in the open floor as much as possible.
In addition, Gonzaga can give Saint Mary’s trouble in the paint. Senior big man Drew Timme averaged 21 points against the Gaels this season and will put pressure on their defense that ranks outside the top 300 in shot making allowed per ShotQuality.
ShotQuality projects that Saint Mary’s should be allowing opponents to shoot 8.6% better at the rim this season based on the quality of shots taken, and that’s why I targeted BYU against them last night. While that didn’t fully come to fruition, I expect Timme to continue to take advantage.
Overall, Gonzaga is ranked first in adjusted offensive efficiency per both KenPom and Haslametrics. They present a much tougher test for Saint Mary’s than anyone else in the WCC. The Gaels will have to keep up offensively, and that’s a problem for an offense that is very prone to long scoring droughts.
Gonzaga is playing its best basketball of the season with 11 wins in 12 games – the only loss was that aforementioned overtime defeat at the hands of Saint Mary’s. As a result, they rank 6th in Haslametrics’ positive momentum ratings.
The Zags were underrated for a while this season, but nobody should be overlooking them now as the tenth-ranked team per KenPom and fourth-ranked per Haslametrics. Against a Saint Mary’s defense that is due for some regression and an offense that can get stuck in the mud at times, I expect a dominating Gonzaga win.
Best Bet: Gonzaga -2.5 (play to -3.5)
Richmond -2.5 (Play To -3.5)
So you’re telling me there’s a postseason college basketball game at 8:30 AM PST tomorrow that I can bet on? Count me in.
It’s been a difficult end to the season for Richmond as head coach Chris Mooney underwent heart surgery and has taken a leave of absence. Former Richmond player Peter Thomas has taken over as the interim coach, and it’s been a rocky 1-3 start.
However, I believe the few days off before this game will be huge after that situation was a shock to the system for this team. While Mooney is a great coach and we hope he gets back to full health, there shouldn’t be a massive drop-off to Thomas.
In the first round of the A10 tournament, Richmond faces a UMass team that got the better of them this season in an 85-76 Minutemen win. However, ShotQuality rated that as a one-point Spiders victory mostly due to UMass shooting 47.8% from three in that game.
The Minutemen shoot just 33.6% from three this year which ranks 201st in the country, so you can see where that expected regression is coming from. Overall, Richmond is a team due for a bit of positive regression as they ranked outside the top 300 in KenPom’s luck ratings.
In addition, the Minutemen got 28 free throw attempts in that game. That’s a pretty high number against a Richmond team that allows just 15.1 free throws per game and ranks 47th in free throw rate allowed.
Richmond’s strength is with its three-point shooting as the Spiders rank top 25 in spacing and frequency of three-point shooting per ShotQuality. UMass ranks 294th in three-point attempts allowed, so they won’t run the Spiders off the three-point line.
Overall, expect a rejuvenated effort from a Richmond team with senior leadership in big men Tyler Burton and Neal Quinn, who combined for 39 points in that prior game against UMass. With the added motivation of playing for their ailing coach, I love this matchup for the Spiders.
His name is Tyler Burton.
— Richmond Basketball (@SpiderMBB) March 4, 2023
Best Bet: Richmond -2.5 (play to -3.5)
Georgia Tech -1.5 (Play To -2.5)
In the first round of the ACC tournament on Tuesday, we have two teams headed in opposite directions. Georgia Tech has won six of its last eight games and ranks fourth in positive momentum per Haslametrics.
Meanwhile, Florida State has lost six of seven to close this season and ranked 311th in momentum. The Seminoles’ lone win over that span was a shocking come-from-behind road win over Miami that was capped by a buzzer-beating three.
Beyond the dichotomy between these teams’ recent run of form, this matchup presents some advantages for the Yellow Jackets. Georgia Tech ranks fourth in the ACC in three-point shooting attempts and sees 42.1% of its total field goals come from beyond the arc.
Meanwhile, Florida State is awful at defending the three-point shot – they rank 348th in the country as they allow opponents to shoot 37.9% from long range. They also struggle to run opponents off the three-point line, allowing them to shoot 40.8% of their shots from range which ranks 292nd, and rank 338th in open 3s allowed per ShotQuality.
Georgia Tech is led by their guard duo of Lance Terry and Miles Kelly who combined to hit on 7 of 14 threes in their matchup against Florida State earlier this season. Kelly is on a heater right now as he’s hit 5+ threes in four straight games and is shooting 47.9% from deep over that span.
GT sophomore 6’6 G Miles Kelly is now averaging 13.9PPG, on 41% FG and 37% 3PT.
24.3PTS over his last 3. Arguably Tech’s best pro prospect.
Coming off a 30 ball @ Syracuse. pic.twitter.com/Ps4RqcHlWN
— GREENLIGHT MEDIA (@atlgreenlight) March 4, 2023
Neither of these defenses are particularly great, but Georgia Tech sits over 100 spots higher in KenPom’s adjusted efficiency on that end. They also have a certified enforcer in Javon Franklin who averages 1.3 steals and 1.6 blocks per game. That’s enough for me.
The Yellow Jackets ride their recent hot form, particularly from three-point range, to a statement win on Tuesday to open up the ACC Tournament.
Best Bet: Georgia Tech -1.5 (play to -2.5)
Loyola-Chicago +1.5 (Play To Pick ‘Em)
In Loyola-Chicago’s first season in the Atlantic 10, they haven’t experienced the same level of success that they’ve grown used to. The Ramblers finished the regular season with a losing record for the first time since 2015 and had their fewest wins since 2011.
Saint Joseph’s, meanwhile, went 14-16 this season, but they closed the year poorly with a 1-4 record in their final five games. As a result, they rank 282nd in Haslametrics’ momentum.
Two of the Hawks’ wins came against the Ramblers by a combined 43 points. However, they are only 1.5-point favorites here with the spread moving against them. I believe the market reaction here is very telling.
The first matchup was a 31-point beatdown by the Hawks. The Ramblers shot 25% from 3, 56.5% from the free throw line, and had their defense completely cave. However, in the second game they led throughout before ceding a 16-2 run to Saint Joseph’s at the end.
This time out, I like Loyola-Chicago to get the win. The Ramblers are well-equipped to attack a Hawks defense that struggles against deep shooting. Its opponents hit 35% from deep, which ranks 240th, and shoot 42.1% of their total field goal attempts from three, which ranks 319th.
In that second matchup, senior guard Braden Norris was the standout as he hit 7 of 9 three-point attempts and finished with 25 points. However, I expect Philip Alston, who is shooting 40.9% from 3-point range but finished with just nine points in that game, to stand out here.
THE BANK IS OPEN PHILIP ALSTON!
OVERTIME AT UD ARENA! pic.twitter.com/HDV2Z7zSqL
— Mid-Major Madness (@mid_madness) February 1, 2023
Saint Joseph’s lives and dies by the three. They rank 21st in frequency of three-point shots at 45.2%. Unfortunately for them, it’s die by the three more often than not as they shoot just 33.2% from deep, which ranks 226th in the country.
The Hawks shot a combined 27 of 62 from three across their two games against the Ramblers this year, and I can’t imagine that continues, especially against a defense that ranks about average in allowing 34.8% from deep.
Best Bet: Loyola-Chicago +1.5 (play to pick ‘em)