Finals week continues around college campuses' leaving us sports bettors with limited hoop slates to comb through, but that's not stopping us from finding value, even if it's coming from the mid-major ranks.
One of the most intriguing games on the condensed Wednesday college basketball card is out west with Weber State traveling to take on upstart Nevada. The Wildcats have notched some impressive wins against the likes of Saint Mary's and Yale, but also have dropped three games to teams outside the KenPom top 100, how will this translate as it travels to face a budding mid-major team in Steve Alford's Nevada squad, who is hoping to make an NCAA Tournament push in 2024?
I break down the near double-digit spread, which side I'm backing, and Stony Brook's pursuit of a home win as a small favorite against a surging Norfolk State team. Can the Seawolves get back to .500 on the year?
Here's two more best bets for Wednesday's card, as always you can find my college basketball bets (as well as every other bet!) on my betstamp, @rw33
College Basketball Season Long Record: 23-20-2, +0.89U
Best College Basketball Bets Today, December 13th
- Stony Brook -2 vs. Norfolk State
- Weber State +9.5 vs. Nevada
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Norfolk State vs. Stony Brook Prediction and Pick
Let's sell high on Norfolk State on the road after a nice run of games that includes a 34-point win against KenPom sub-300 foe William & Mary, 93rd VCU, and a late rally to beat No. 205 Illinois State. The Spartans are 7-3 on the season as the team is uber-reliant on generating turnovers (23.6% is the seventh-highest mark in the country) to offset its porous offense that is 328th in effective field goal percentage.
Looking back at the three wins, William & Mary was without two starters for much, if not all of the game, and the latter two have turnover rates in the bottom 100. Stony Brook is just above the national average in terms of turnover rate (17.5% 157th) and has one of the lowest free throw rates allowed in the nation (22% is the eighth lowest in the country).
Stony Brook has lost to four of five games by KenPom top 120 teams, and another to Wagner by one. I believe the team is undervalued given a tougher schedule and can mitigate some of Norfolk State's advantages.
It's also worth noting that the team will be able to get threes up in this game, Norfolk State is allowing a 50% three-point rate this season, which is right into the Seawolves' preferred offense, taking perimeter shots at a 41% rate, 86th highest in the country. Further, the team is 117th in three-point percentage.
I think the Seawolves are undervalued and can win this one by a few possessions.
PICK: Stony Brook -2
Weber State vs. Nevada Prediction and Pick
Nevada is off to a strong start this season, but Weber State is one of the most underrated teams in the country, and I expect a far closer game than this point spread indicates on Wednesday night.
Weber State is 38th in ShotQuality's adjusted overall metric, owed a staggering amount of shooting variance in the team's direction, including a 6% increase in finishing at the rim and nearly 4% from beyond the arc. The Wildcats, who return its entire starting five from last season, are shooting more than 7% worse on two-point shots this season. The team is down from 51.8% (99th in the nation) to 44.6% (322nd).
Nevada runs a compact defense that has a seven-footer in Jazz Gardner protecting the rim, but ShotQuality grades the Wolf Pack's defense as quite fortunate as well, due to a 5% drop in the opponent's field goal percentage at the rim.
Nevada has defeated one team inside KenPom's top 100 this season and I believe the team is being overvalued at home. Weber State is an elite transition defense, allowing teams to run at a bottom 10 percentage this season, so this game can have limited possessions and a swift change in shooting splits.
I'll take the near-double digit dog to keep this close.
PICK: Weber State +9.5
Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.