Best College Basketball Bets for Today, January 17th

Jan 11, 2022; Lincoln, Nebraska, USA;  Illinois Fighting Illini guard Trent Frazier (1) dribbles
Jan 11, 2022; Lincoln, Nebraska, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini guard Trent Frazier (1) dribbles / Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

We didn't do a Saturday column, which of course would have helped the year-to-date total below a bit after a big day, but you can find all my plays here across all the sports I bet.

Meanwhile, we are treated to a handful of games all day on Martin Luther King Day so let's waste no time and get into them.

As always, odds are courtesy of WynnBET Sportsbook.

Column Record: 13-21-2 (-9 Units)

Illinois (-1) vs. Purdue

You can check out my game preview here, but I believe Purdue's still too overrated in the market against an Illinois team that's 6-0 in conference play.

The Boilermakers' inability to generate turnovers is going to be a problem against this Illinois offense that is No. 1 per KenPom in conference play.

On the other end, Illinois' strong perimeter defense should run the visitors off the three-point line and into Kofi Cockburn's wingspan.

I like Illinois to get it done at home against a Purdue team that has a vulnerable defense that could continue to cost them games in Big Ten play and beyond.

PICK: Illinois -1

Utah (+2) vs. Arizona State

Iain McMillian mentioned this on Monday's episode of Bet & Breakfast and I'm aligned with him on the Utes as short road underdogs.

Arizona State shouldn't be favored over any team in PAC-12 play at this point. The team closed as home underdogs to Colorado on Saturday night in their first game in nearly two weeks and lost by 18.

The Sun Devils offense is going to struggle against the disciplined Utes who may not turn their opponent over, but have solid rim protection despite the loss of seven footer Branden Carlson down low (appendicitis). Carlson has missed the last two, but I expect that the Utes have begun to adjust without him, leaning on the likes of Dusan Mahorcic and Lahat Thioune more. Both are 6'10" and should give an undersized Sun Devils frontcourt trouble.

ASU can't shoot from three, bottom 20 in the country, and are going to struggle to finish around the Utes' interior defense.

Meanwhile, Utah's offense has struggled in PAC-12 play, but they are around the national average in three-point percentage. The team has dropped five straight games, which is pushing them to underdogs, but I believe in their offense to win this game outright.

To be safe I'll take the +2, especially considering Arizona State is shooting below 70% from the free throw line in a projected close game.

PICK: Utah +2, play to PK

Belmont (-13.5) vs. SIU Edwardsville

This is another game I discussed on Bet & Breakfast, but this is a prime spot to back the Bears as big favorites.

After losing by 22 at home to conference rival Murray State on Saturday, Belmont hits the road to face SIU Edwardsville, who will struggle to keep up with the visitors offense.

Belmont is eighth in the country in effective field goal percentage while the Cougars are shooting below 30% from beyond the arc as a team. There should be a ton of possessions with Belmont typically playing games in the 80's and 90's behind their top third adjusted tempo, and I expect them to take their frustrations out on a middling conference foe.

Against teams outside of KenPom's top 200, Belmont has by an average of 27 points across seven games. SIUE is 273rd in KenPom's rating. You can lay it with the road favorites.

PICK: Belmont -13.5, play to -14.5