College basketball continues to take center stage as football season winds down, and the betting action is heating up.
We have more conference play on Wednesday night, headlined by Clemson looking to continue a torrid start to the season in Coral Gabels against Miami, who has some injury concerns heading into this one, dictating the betting market. However, should you buy into that? I'm eyeing the point spread in this ACC meeting as well as a two-team moneyline parlay on this evening's slate.
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Best College Basketball Bets for Wednesday, January 3rd
- Clemson vs. Miami (+1.5)
- Parlay: Villanova/VCU (-116)
Clemson vs. Miami Prediction and Pick
Miami's two key shot creators are banged up with Nijel Pack dealing with a back injury while Wooga Poplar has an ankle ailment. The Hurricanes' offense falls off when both are off the floor, but the defense improves quite a bit, per Hoop-Explorer. Of course, the team is facing a stiff test in Clemson, who is holding foes to a 46% effective field goal percentage, the 54th-best mark in the country.
If both bucket-getters can't go, Miami is in a tough spot, but I still believe this Clemson team is due for harsh regression on the road and I'm going to take a shot on the home underdog.
Clemson allows a ton of catch-and-shoot threes, the 34th most in the country, and Miami is 19th in ShotQuality's points per possession metric. Overall, the unit is shooting north of 41% from beyond the arc and Clemson is owed a 2% rise in three-point percentage, per SQ.
Even more glaring is that Clemson is owed an 11% increase in field goal percentage at the rim. If Miami can get even one of Pack or Poplar in the lineup the team may be cooking with its ability to get into the paint and finish.
PICK: Miami +1
Xavier vs. Villanova Prediction and Pick
The first of two legs in a moneyline parlay is Villanova, who is a hefty favorite at home against Xavier.
This is a matchup nightmare for Xavier, who wants to play in the open court and attack defenses before they are set, but there are few more disciplined defenses in the country than Kyle Neptune's Wildcats, who do a great job of getting back on defense, ranking inside the top 100 in terms of potential quick points off breakaway steals per 100 possessions per Haslametrics and transition rate per SQ.
Xavier's offense is around the national average in terms of effective field goal percentage, and I can't trust the group to find answers against a compact Villanova defense that forces teams to shoot threes. The Muskies would much prefer to generate looks inside around its penetration, but Villanova's length and gap defense should slow that down.
Nova is in good shape to grab a win at home, and I'll pair it with another home favorite...
St. Bonaventure vs. VCU Prediction and Pick
VCU is on the upswing as A-10 play picks up. While it's a small sample size, the injection of two transfers Joe Bamisile (Oklahoma, three games) and Sean Bairstow (Utah State, two games) has paid off quickly.
Per Hoop-Explorer, VCU is scoring more than 15 points per 100 possessions and allowing less than 17 when the two share the floor. It's a small sample size against poor competition, but it's clear that this VCU team is set to outperform its season-long metrics with these two impact transfers on the floor.
I'm wary of laying the points with the Rams given that each team is outside the top 300 in terms of KenPom's adjusted tempo metric, but I believe the home team is in a good spot to get a win.
VCU has been plagued by poor shot-making thus far but is getting great looks, top 20 in SQ's shot selection rating. With the two transfers lifting the teams' ability to make those quality looks, I believe the team is well equipped to handle the Bonnies' defense that is 255th in field goal percentage at the rim and hasn't played a true road game outside of its home state of New York yet.
Pair Villanova and VCU together to get a fairly priced moneyline parlay of two likely home winners.
PICK: Villanova/VCU ML (-116)
Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.
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