College basketball is one of the more entertaining sports to bet on due to the sheer volume of games that take place each day. As the regular season winds down and conference tournaments start up, this is a great time to hone your betting prowess before March Madness.
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Under 155.5 (-106)
The Tulane Green Wave are 12.5-point home favorites over the East Carolina Pirates, and while that’s a high enough spread to possibly lean toward backing the Pirates, it’s the over/under that’s showing the most value tonight.
The Green Wave love to play fast, so much so that they rank third in adjusted tempo this season, per BartTorvik. That’s in stark contrast to the Pirates, who play at a more average adjusted tempo (169th), which could prevent this game from becoming a track meet.
While Tulane is the superior team on both offense and defense, they don’t rebound well (361st in offensive rebounding rate and 236th in defensive rebounding rate), and they aren’t particularly great at shooting the three-ball (182nd in three-point shooting percentage). That makes them far less likely to run up the score from second-chance points and fast breaks, and it’s improbable that they rain down a whole bunch of threes.
East Carolina is quite good on the offensive glass (34th), too, which could help them take advantage of this rebounding weakness. Given that the Pirates shoot the ball quite poorly — they’re 313th in effective field goal percentage — second-chance opportunities on offense could lead to more time being wasted than actual points.
These two teams played in East Carolina earlier this week and combined for 151 points, coming up short of this line. numberFire’s model projects the two teams to put up 148.2 points tonight and gives the under a 62.0% probability of hitting.
Sam Houston State -7.5 (-108)
The Sam Houston State Bearkats are hands down the stronger team in this WAC matchup, and we should expect them to cover a spread that should probably be double-digits. Both BartTorvik and KenProm rank the Bearkats as a top-70 squad, which is over 100 spots higher than the Abilene Christian Wildcats, a team that falls outside the top 180 on both sites.
More specifically, Sam Houston State’s solid ranking is the result of a tough-as-nails defense. They come in with the 21st-best adjusted defensive efficiency, per BartTorvik, which includes high marks in effective field goal percentage defense (78th), defensive turnover rate (9th), and defensive rebounding rate (80th).
On the other hand, Abilene Christian’s defense is closer to the back of the line, sitting 251st in adjusted defensive efficiency.
The teams are more evenly matched on offense, and the Wildcats even have a slight overall edge, ranking 133rd in adjusted offense compared to 167th for the Bearkats. However, Sam Houston is one the best three-point shooting teams in the country, cracking the top 10 in three-point field goal percentage, so they can light up the scoreboard here and there when they get hot from beyond the arc.
In their lone meeting this season, Sam Houston won by 15 points — and that was on the road.
Our model projects the Bearkats to win and cover 62.2% of the time, and BartTorvik’s numbers see them winning by 11.3 points.