College Basketball Best Bets for Today, February 17th

Feb 14, 2022; Omaha, Nebraska, USA; Creighton Bluejays guard Alex O'Connell (5) attempts a three-point shot
Feb 14, 2022; Omaha, Nebraska, USA; Creighton Bluejays guard Alex O'Connell (5) attempts a three-point shot / Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

A nice 3-1 Wednesday snapped a bit of a skid, but let's turn our attention to a busy Thursday slate. Not a ton of marquee matchups on the board, but I see enough to play four edges I have.

As always, if I add any plays they will be posted on my betstamp, which can be found here, but for now here's my favorite plays on Thursday's college hoops slate.

Odds courtesy of WynnBET Sportsbook

Column Record: 65-58-3 (+4.2 Units)

Minnesota (+5.5) vs. Penn State

Early start in Happy Valley, but I like the Gophers catching points against a Penn State team that has struggled to win with margin all season long. The team hasn't won a game by more than 5 points in over a month and has done it just twice since the start of December.

These are two basement dwellers in the Big Ten and the possessions should be low, as indicated in the total of 127. Minnesota is elite at protecting the ball (top 10 nationally in turnover rate) so there shouldn't be that many easy transition buckets for the Nittany Lions on offense.

If this game becomes a rock fight I'll take the points between two teams I rate very similar to one another. I project this game to +3 so I'm happy to grab the points especially with Penn State coming off a home upset win over Michigan State earlier this week.

PICK: Minnesota +5.5, play to +4.5

Cincinnati vs. Wichita State UNDER 136.5

From this morning's game preview:

The total closed 134.5 in the team's first meeting that finished with a 61-57 Bearcats win. The two teams are strong on defense and do a great job of defending the rim, each inside the top 50 in near proximity field goal percentage allowed, per Haslemetrics.

Neither offense is that strong with each in the bottom 100 in effective field goal percentage and the Shockers are prone to just hoisting from deep and banking on the likes of Tyson Etienne and Ricky Council to bail them out. However, Wichita State is shooting just 33% from beyond the arc in AAC play, it's simply an inefficient offense.

There's going to be a methodical pace to this one, but the concern of free throws at the end has me a bit worried. Cincinnati struggles in that department, shooting 67% as a team while Wichita State boasts the best free throw percentage in AAC play. If this game is tight late, there can be a ton of fouls to send this game over, but I see both defenses having their way and keeping this game below 65 points on each side. I'll bank on another rock fight and take the under.

PICK: UNDER 136.5, play to 135.5

Parlay: Oregon/Western Kentucky (-104)

The Oregon spread got away from me from the opener of 4 but I believe they are in a great spot to exact some revenge against Arizona State on Thursday night. The Ducks zone defense should give Arizona State's offense fits that is bottom 20 in effective field goal percentage.

Oregon shot 4-of-22 from three in the first meeting, an overtime loss at home, and this team can't afford to drop any teams to poor PAC 12 foes after losing to Cal last weekend if they want to secure an NCAA Tournament berth. I expect we see Dana Altman have his team on point and grab a win, but not as interested in the spread now that it has moved since open.

Instead, I'll pair them with Western Kentucky, who is a considerable home favorite against Charlotte. The Hilltoppers are better than their record indicates, per ShotQuality, with the shot profile looking more like an 18-8 team, not 15-11.

They are in a good spot to knock off a Charlotte team that has struggled punching above their weight class this season.

The 49ers have beaten one team inside KenPom's top 150 this season, Monmouth on opening night, and I don't expect they do so here.

Western Kentucky is 10-4 at home this season and Charlotte is 5-9 against the spread (ATS) as an underdog. I like Rick Stansbury's bunch to win with ease and help get a near even money payout with Oregon.

PICK: Oregon/Western Kentucky ML Parlay -104, play to -110

Creighton (+2.5) vs. DePaul

I bet Creighton +3 last night, and would bet this down to +2. This line is confusing to me and maybe I'm taking the bait, but I have Creighton favored by 3 points, so I don't hate a money line shot on the Bluejays either.

Greg McDermott's team is in the race for an at-large selection in the NCAA Tournament and can't afford a loss to lowly DePaul, who is 3-11 in Big East play and has dropped two straight games in the last week by a combined 5 points.

While Blue Demons got a boost by getting guard Javon Freeman-Liberty back in the lineup, he missed the team's prior seven games and is now playing on one day of rest. How effective will he be?

Meanwhile, Creighton has the best defense in Big East play, holding foes to the lowest effective field goal percentage and should shut down a porous DePaul offense. McDermott's team has the edge inside on both sides of the ball and think they avoid a blemish on their tourney résumé on Thursday.

PICK: Creighton +2.5, if it drops below +2 play the ML at +105 or better.

You can find all of Reed's bets HERE!