College Basketball Best Bets for Today, March 1st

Michigan State's A.J. Hoggard celebrates after a play against Purdue during the second half on
Michigan State's A.J. Hoggard celebrates after a play against Purdue during the second half on / Nick King/Lansing State Journal / USA

Good start to the final week of the regular season with a 2-1 night, but still slightly down on the best bets column. Let's try and get back in the positive as we get into the home stretch.

Here are my four best bets for Tuesday's college basketball card, including one road underdog, a pair of unders and a two team parlay.

If I add anymore plays they'll be posted on my betstamp, which you can find here, but in the meantime, let's get to the plays, courtesy of WynnBET Sportsbook:

Column Record: 77-74-3 (-1.35 Units)

Parlay: Miami (OH)/Villanova

I bet Miami on Saturday afternoon, got a great closing number, and lost by the hook despite leading for much of the first half. The team fell to Toledo by 15 points in what started a floundering Saturday for your boy.

I'm going back to the well, though, taking Miami to win this game outright against the worst offense in the MAC in Central Michigan. Yes, it's on the road, but Miami has the far superior offense, ranking in the top half of ShotQuality's adjusted offensive rating. Their record, per SQ, is 16-13 despite their 12-17 mark. In the RedHawks loss to CMU, the Chippewas shot 13-of-24 from distance, scoring 1.19 points per possessoin despite having the worst effective field goal percentage in conference play. I'm counting on a bounceback for the visitors and a win.

I'll pair them with Villanova, who should take care of business against a Providence team that has already wrapped up the Big East regular season title and may rest some key contributors. Nova is a -525 favorite and the highest rated Big East team, I think they roll easy here.

PICK: Miami (OH)/Villanova ML Parlay (-108)

Michigan State (+4.5) vs. Michigan

From this morning's game preview:

Neither team is adept at forcing turnovers, each bottom five in conference play, but the Spartans do have the size to hang with Wolverines big man Hunter Dickinson. Seven-foot big man Marcus Bingham is a fantastic rim protector and the Spartans allow the 32nd lowest field goal percentage at the rim this season, per Haslemetrics, which is massive against a normally elite Michigan offense inside. Dickinson and co. are top 10 at the rim this season.

Meanwhile, the Michigan defense has struggled mightly this season, unable to slow down anyone at the rim, outside the top 200 in that mark. The team is great on the defensive glass, but they don't expose Michigan State's glaring flaw which is protecting the ball (Tom Izzo's team is worst in the Big Ten with a near 20% turnover rate). The team also is willing to let Michigan State run, their best source of offense, the Wolverines need to slow this tempo down and avoid a track meet.

While the situational spots point towards Michigan, desperate for a tournament-caliber victory and revenge after losing by 16 in East Lansing in January, I can't get to this spread. The Wolverines have fallen short of expectation all season, especially at home with a 7-13 against the spread mark. I like the Spartans to keep it within two possessions.

PICK: Michigan State +4.5

Houston vs. Cincinnati UNDER 135

Houston's defense is going to overwhelm the Bearcats on Tuesday night. The team is third in defensive effective field goal percentage and the visitors are a floundering 293rd in that metric on offense. The team runs a lot of isolation sets but lacks the dynamic ball handling to beat Houston's perimeter defense off the dribble.

Ultimately, Cincy takes a lot of three's with their inability to get inside. The club is inside the top 100 in 3-point rate and middling in rebounding rate.

However, Miller has his team playing fine ball on the defensive side, top 10 natioanlly in two-point field goal defense. That should actually set up quite well against a Houston team that generates a lot of their points from inside.

Houston likes to run in transition, but Cincy does a good job of limiting that attack and making it a half court style game.

Looking back at the early February matchup, the game went over the closing total of 131.5 with the 80-58 final. That game was about a month ago, but this total has shifted too many points in my opinion. The Cougars may have the No. 1 offense in the AAC, but shot 61% on two-point tries in that game against the vaunted Bearcats interior. Not to mention, the two teams combined to shoot 74% on 35 free throw attempts despite both being below 68% on the year.

I'm going to fade this increased total and will take a stab at the under in what should be more of a half court style game. I bet under 135.5, which you can find in our game preview from this morning, but I see value in this down to 134.5

PICK: UNDER 135, play to 134.5

Arizona vs. Houston UNDER 150.5

It may not be pleasant, but my favorite play is on the under between two teams that have been busy on the road and may be a bit flat in a physical matchup.

The first meeting between the two closed 150 and resulted in a 72-63 Wildcats home victory and I see a similar score line playing out on Tuesday night. While Arizona plays fast and wants to push a pace, USC is fantastic at limiting transition opportunities and have the best interior defense in PAC 12 play.

Meanwhile, Arizona is also stellar on the interior, second best in PAC 12 play and each team runs opponents off the three-point line, the two are first and third in three-point rate allowed, respectively.

The Wildcats may be vulnerable yet again with a miserable scheduling spot, but I'm more confident in playing the under given USC's ability to slow the pace and both teams ability to shut down the inside. It doesn't hut that both teams are pretty sloppy with the ball in PAC-12 play as well; USC is 7th in turnover rate while Arizona is 10th.

Read more on Arizona vs. USC in our game preview!

PICK: UNDER 150.5, play to 149

You can find all of Reed's bets HERE!