The weekend is here.
The Action Network has partnered with the guys at Three Man Weave to bring you college basketball best bets twice weekly. The trio of Matt Cox, Ky McKeon and Jim Root highlight the top three games they’re betting for the day’s college basketball slate.
Friday’s best bets have been provided by Ky McKeon as of Thursday night. Follow Ky and the rest of the crew on Twitter at @3MW_CBB, and download the Action App to easily track your bets for Friday’s college basketball action.
Friday College Basketball Odds & Picks
|Click on a game to skip ahead|
|Charlotte vs. UTSA||CANCELED|
|Detroit vs. Robert Morris||6 p.m. ET|
|Cal Baptist vs. Grand Canyon||9 p.m. ET|
All listed odds have been updated as of Thursday evening via William Hill unless otherwise indicated. Specific bet recommendations at the end of each matchup breakdown come from the sportsbook offering preferred odds as of writing on Thursday night.
Always shop for the best price using our NCAAB Odds page, which automatically surfaces the best lines for every game.
Charlotte vs. UTSA
|(Photo by Steve Roberts/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images.)|
Charlotte has been one of the most difficult teams in the country to figure out. Like a box of chocolates in Forrest Gump’s world, you just never know what you’re gonna get.
After that embarrassing performance against UAB back on Jan. 15 in which the 49ers found themselves down 22-1 to start the game, Charlotte has been feisty in the first leg of these C-USA back-to-back series (by the way Charlotte won the second leg of that UAB series, further proving my point about how difficult this team has been to nail down).
In its last four “leg one” contests, Charlotte has 1) lost in overtime, 2) won in overtime, 3) lost by one, and 4) lost in overtime. These games have been gritty, grimy, gross affairs, low-scoring contests with more bricks than the Vanderbilt mansion.
UTSA, meanwhile, has been very good of late.
The Roadrunners have won seven of their last eight games outright and covered six of those contests. Their competition for those games: injured Southern Miss, bi-polar UTEP, injured FIU, and injured FAU. Yes, UTSA has been good, but it’s also caught teams in compromising positions.
The biggest advantage Charlotte has tonight is its ability to draw fouls and get to the free-throw line.
The Niners lead C-USA in percentage of points scored from the free-throw line thanks to the league’s second-best free-throw attempt rate and third-best free-throw percentage.
Only one team allows more free passes to the foul line than UTSA in C-USA play this season — the Roadrunners foul a ton, which should be a fruitful source of offense for an otherwise inept Niner attack.
Charlotte won’t be able to take advantage of UTSA’s poor defensive rebounding, but that’s by choice.
Head coach Ron Sanchez rarely sends crashers to the offensive glass, opting instead to run back on defense before his team’s opponent can attack in transition.
This style is crucial against a Roadrunner team that is very much true to its nickname; UTSA likes to attack in the open floor particularly off defensive rebounds — that action simply will not be there against Charlotte.
In the half-court, Charlotte actually does a good job of denying open looks from deep despite its similar defensive style to Tony Bennett’s squad at Virginia.
Sanchez employs pack-line principles, but his team is still very keen on shutting down 3-point shooters.
Oddly enough it’s been the interior that has crushed Charlotte this season, as opposing teams are converting 54% of their 2-point tries in C-USA play, the second-worst mark in the league.
UTSA is a jump-shot reliant team, which plays right into the hands of the 49er defenders.
The C-USA race is heating up and Charlotte is in danger of falling out of the middle of the pack.
With a win tonight and on Saturday, the Niners put themselves right back into the thick of things. That’s something surely every single player on this roster knows, something that should fuel them to victory at home.
Detroit vs. Robert Morris
|Tipoff||6 p.m. ET|
|(Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images.)|
I’ve denied my evil lords, the Detroit Mercy Titans, long enough. Fading Detroit has proven to be a costly endeavor. I didn’t believe in the shooting, I didn’t believe in the players. Then I watched them play.
Detroit is legit. Some fans might know of Antoine Davis, the electric Titan point guard who ranks third in the nation in scoring at 22.8 PPG, but this team is more than just Davis.
Cal Baptist transfer Bul Kuol is one of the best shooters in the country, knocking down a ridiculous 41.7% of his 108 3-point attempts this year — he has a pure stroke and has one of those shots you think is in every time he lets it fly.
Eight of Detroit’s top nine rotation players are upperclassmen; the Titans are the 15th-oldest team in the country, and they’ve been playing like it over the past month.
Since starting Horizon play 0-4, Detroit is 8-2 straight up and 7-3 against the spread. The Titans went toe-to-toe with Cleveland State last weekend, splitting a two-game series with the current Horizon leader. Robert Morris has been the polar opposite.
After a 2-1 start to league play, the Colonials are 1-9 straight up over their last 10 games and 2-8 against the spread.
To make matters worse, RMU’s star center, A.J. Bramah transferred out of the program a little over a week ago. Bramah was a shoo-in to make the Horizon League’s All-Conference First Team; prior to leaving the squad, Bramah was averaging 21 points and 10.3 rebounds per game. To say he was important would be a massive understatement.
Robert Morris didn’t look helpless in its first series without its big man. In fact, the Colonials even notched a win over Oakland and looked competitive in the other game with the Griz.
But that success needs to be taken with a huge grain of salt. RMU shot 23-of-45 combined from 3 in those two contests against an Oakland zone that some would call terrible and others the worst thing they’ve ever seen in their entire lives.
On the season, Oakland ranks 320th in opponent 3-point percentage allowed. Bramah also missed a series against Wright State in late January.
In Game 1, RMU hung around with the Raiders for a while thanks to a 10-of-25 3-point performance. In Game 2, the Colonials lost by 30.
I expect a 3-point barrage on both sides tonight; neither team defends the 3-point line well.
Detroit is the superior shooting team, and without Bramah, the Colonials’ only hope is to be scorching hot from distance.
The Titans proved in their series with Fort Wayne a few weeks back they are fully capable of out-scoring even a hot-shooting opponent.
Cal Baptist vs. Grand Canyon
|Pick||Cal Baptist +12|
|Tipoff||9 p.m. ET|
|(Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images.)|
Cal Baptist has been impressive in the first leg of these two-game series.
In its last four back-to-back attacks, CBU has beaten Dixie State by 15, New Mexico State by 10, and Sacramento State by 12. Perhaps it’s the unfamiliarity of the Lancers, a team that only recently joined the D-I ranks.
Perhaps it’s that opponents don’t take CBU too seriously in the first go-around.
Or perhaps it’s the fact that Cal Baptist has been liquid fire this season from behind the arc, a trend that is sure to cause issues for even the mighty Antelopes of Grand Canyon.
CBU ranks second in the country in 3-point percentage, converting a ridiculous 41.1% of its 3-point attempts on the season. The Lancers shoot a high volume of 3s and make a high volume of 3s thanks to players like Ty Rowell (42.4%), Reed Nottage (45.8%), and Mark Carbone (48.3%).
Grand Canyon ranks 307th nationally in 3PA rate allowed — that is not good against a team like the Lancers.
To boot, the Lopes are due for some major 3-point shooting regression defensively; opponents are just 26.7% from deep against GCU in conference play, a completely unsustainable number. CBU should find a ton of open looks tonight from deep and hit enough 3s to stay within the double-digit spread.
Grand Canyon will also hopefully be a bit rusty this game. The Lopes haven’t played since Jan. 30 due to a COVID shutdown, and while not all shutdowns are created equally, 20 days is a long time to be out of game action.
Generally, the trend this season has been that teams tend to struggle their first game back out of a shutdown — they do not always struggle, but more often than not, they do. Let’s hope for our Lancers’ sake, that trend holds true tonight.
CBU backers tonight should be worried about the paint battle. GCU is a big team with a talented frontcourt.
Our greatest hope lies in the capable hands of Gorjak Gak, a 6-foot-11 Florida transfer who has completely reinvigorated his career at Cal Baptist.
Gak ranks second in the WAC in defensive rebounding rate and block rate, and the Lopes have not seen anything close to the likes of him since playing major-conference competition back in December.
Gak’s muscle and experience should be an effective deterrent to an otherwise dominant GCU frontline.
Pick: Cal Baptist +12 (Play to +10)
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