Conference play is around the corner, but teams are still finishing out loaded non-conference schedules in hopes of beefing up its resume ahead of Selection Sunday, which is always lurking in the minds of college basketball programs.
There are plenty of big games on the docket, but I'm keying in on two neutral site games, including North Carolina vs. undefeated Oklahoma as well as Northwestern vs. Arizona State. Keep reading to find my best bets and full betting breakdown below.
You can bet with me on Caesars Sportsbook, who is matching all new users first bet up to $1,000!
Season Record: 29-23-2, +3.59U
Best College Basketball Bets for Wednesday, December 20th
- Northwestern -4 vs. Arizona State
- North Carolina -3 vs. Oklahoma
Northwestern vs. Arizona State Prediction and Pick
Northwestern is off two poor performances, a loss to lowly Chicago State at home and a 55-point outing against DePaul on the road in a winning effort. Now, the team travels to Phoenix to take on local product Arizona State, which may alarm some bettors given in a semi-away game.
I'm not fazed.
Arizona State's offense is incredibly poor, 209th in KenPom's adjusted offensive efficiency, incredibly reliant on generating free throw attempts to offset it's 231st two-point field goal percentage and 290th three-point percentage. The Sun Devils are physical, 35th in free throw rate, but will struggle with the strong defense of Northwestern, that is 16th in turnover percentage and is great at limiting driving lanes for opponents, allowing a 42% three-point rate (62nd highest in the nation).
If Arizona State can't get inside, I struggle to see the team scoring besides making this a free throw contest, and even then, Arizona State is bottom 15 in free throw percentage this season, a ghastly 62%.
On the other side, Northwestern should round into form against Arizona State's ball pressure defense. The Sun Devils will try to speed up Northwestern with its full court pressure, but few teams are better protecting the rock than the Wildcats with Boo Buie leading the charge. Northwestern is fourth in turnover rate and top 20 in assist rate.
I believe the Cats can out-execute the Sun Devils and win and cover.
PICK: Northwestern -4
North Carolina vs. Oklahoma Prediction and Pick
Oklahoma hasn't played a true road game through its first 10 contests, and while this Wednesday tilt doesn't qualify, it's as close to a road game as you will in the Jumpan Invitational in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The Tar Heels are battle tested this season, coming up short against the likes of UConn and Kentucky in its last two games, but the team has also notched a win at home against Tennessee and on a neutral against Arkansas.
This will be the best offense Oklahoma has seen this season and I believe the Tar Heels defense can give the Sooners some trouble.
On offense, R.J. Davis is averaging over 21 points per game now as he has become the lead ball handler in place of Caleb Love and the Tar Heels offense has looked the part, 10th in KenPom's adjusted offensive efficiency this season. While the team isn't putting up massive numbers from beyond the arc, the team is top 100 in three-point percentage. Further, Oklahoma's perimeter defense is facing a ton of negative regression. The Sooners are allowing foes to shoot 25% from three this season, but ShotQuality deems that it's expected three-point percentage is 8% higher.
UNC is more than capable on offense to expose the Sooners and also have big man Armando Bacot dominating the rim. OU has a strong interior, but not the size for Bacot and the Tar Heels, who are expected to get 7% of shooting regression at the cup, per SQ.
Lastly, Oklahoma is incredibly reliant on getting to the rim, 34th in rim rate frequency, but UNC is top 10 in limiting opponent's shots at the rim and top 40 in field goal percentage at the rim allowed.
The Tar Heels have faced a far tougher schedule and are a poor matchup for the Sooners, I think UNC hands OU its first loss.
PICK: North Carolina -3
Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.
Track Reed's bets here!