College Basketball Best Bets Today, Jan. 6: Trust Ohio State to Cover

Ohio State Buckeyes forward E.J. Liddell (32) celebrates making a shot and getting fouled during the Ohio State's win over Wisconsin
Ohio State Buckeyes forward E.J. Liddell (32) celebrates making a shot and getting fouled during the Ohio State's win over Wisconsin / Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA

It seems like after a herky jerky schedule through the month of December, we can finally get our college basketball best bets column on track on a more consistent basis.

Conference play is underway for all the major conferences and we have a loaded slate to comb through. Here are four games I bet on.

All odds are courtesy of WynnBET Sportsbook.

For more plays posted before and after publish, you can check out all of them in real time here.

Column Record: 10-9-2 (+0.1 Units)

San Francisco (+2.5) vs. Loyola-Chicago

While I make Loyola-Chicago slight favorites in this matchup, several factors point me towards the Dons, who are making an easier trip to Salt Lake City, Utah for this late notice matchup. Meanwhile, the Ramblers are trekking from Chicago for this one after sitting out nearly a month due to COVID-19 Protocols.

While Loyola-Chicago has been shooting the cover off the ball, fourth in the country in three-point percentage, USF shuts down the perimeter, allowing a bottom 30 three-point rate.

I'm going to trust the team that will lack rust and has less travel for this one in a game over a possession.

PICK: San Francisco +2.5

Ohio State (+3.5) vs. Indiana

I can't get to this number with the Hoosiers who are lacking a signature victory this season. Meanwhile, Ohio State was able to navigate an overtime win at Nebraska on Sunday without their physical big man Kyle Young (who should be available for this one) and victories over Duke and Wisconsin to their name.

The Hoosiers have the size to challenge E.J. Liddell and the Buckeyes don't turn their opponent over, outside the top 300 per KenPom, but in a game that is lined over a possession I believe the Buckeyes top 10 offense can hang around.

Not to mention, Indiana shoots 67% as a team from the free throw line if this one is close late.

PICK: Ohio State +3.5, play to +3

North Texas (-2) vs. UAB

The key to beating UAB is to play in the half court, which I believe North Texas can do with their top 50 turnover rate and third slowest average possession length on offense.

The Blazers run a hyper active zone that loves to generate live ball turnovers and play in transition. If you make them play at a methodical pace with a score in the 60's, they are vulnerable. I trust that the home team will be able to out-execute and cash this ticket.

North Texas' offense has struggled of late this season but advanced metrics are quite high on them. ShotQuality ranks their adjusted offense 33rd in the country. I'll lay the bucket in a battle of two elite Conference-USA teams.

Pick: North Texas -2

SMU (+2.5) vs. Cincinnati

While it feels that Cincinnati is in a good spot after losing their AAC opener at home to Tulane, I'm going to back the streaking Mustangs, who I make favorites in this game.

SMU is one of the hottest teams in the country, covering each of their last six games and winning their last eight. Point guard Kendric Davis is doing everything for this offense, posting an effective field goal percentage of 58% and an assist rate of nearly 33%.

While Cincinnati has a stiff defense, top five in effective field goal percentage defense, I don't expect their offense to run away with this game considering they are shooting 28% from three and 65% from the charity stripe.

This feels like a game sure to go down to the wire and I'll side with the best player on the floor in Davis to get us home.

PICK: SMU +2.5