Daily Dunk: Best College Basketball Bets Today (Penn State Will Challenge Michigan State)

Penn State is poised to give Michigan State a tougher challenge than people expect on Thursday night

Dec 29, 2023; University Park, Pennsylvania, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions guard Kanye Clary (0)
Dec 29, 2023; University Park, Pennsylvania, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions guard Kanye Clary (0) / Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Let's bet some college basketball tonight, shall we?

We have a loaded slate of games on Thursday night and I have three bets locked in, including one on the intriguing Big Ten matchup between Penn State and Michigan State. Can we go 3-0 tonight? I'm certainly going to try.

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Best College Basketball Picks Today

  • Penn State +13.5 (-110) vs. Michigan State
  • Coastal Carolina +8.5 (-115) vs. Texas State
  • Arizona -12.5 (-110) vs. Colorado

Penn State vs. Michigan State prediction

If you can look past their 7-6 record, you'll see Penn State is a solid team that has a chance to give Michigan State some fits tonight. The Nittany Lions may not have the offensive numbers the Spartans have, but they're right up there with them defensively.

Penn State enters the game ranking 71st in defensive efficiency and 86th in opponent effective field goal percentage. The team also does a great job handing on to the ball, ranking 75th in turnovers per possession, which will play a huge role in keeping the score within reach.

Strong, fundamental basketball including solid defense is enough to keep this game closer than the spread indicates. I'll take the points with Penn State in this Big Ten showdown.

Coastal Carolina vs. Texas State prediction

When you look at some of these numbers for Texas State, there's just no way I can lay eight points on this team. Not only are the Bobcats one of the worst shooting teams in the country, ranking 325th in effective field goal percentage, but they cough the ball up all over the court too, turning the ball over on 21.6% of their possessions which is the 12th worst mark in the country.

Coastal Carolina has significantly better shooting numbers than Texas State, coming in at 144th in effective field goal percentage, but it does admittedly struggle on its own end of the floor. With that being said, the Chanticleers have more than enough weapons to cover the spread as 8.5-point underdogs.

Colorado vs. Arizona prediction

The Colorado Buffaloes have posted some fantastic numbers this season, but we have yet to see them in a true road game. The games they haven't played at home have taken place at neutral sites and they're one road game was still at altitude at Colorado State and they went on to lose that contest, 88-83.

Now, we'll see them play in Arizona in a hostile environment at McKale Center. Can they keep pace with one of the best teams in the country? I certainly don't think so.

There's one key area for Colorado tonight that could cost them and that's turnovers. Despite posting great numbers in other areas against inferior opponents, the Buffs are still turning the ball over on 19.2% of possessions. That number certainly isn't going to improve against this Wildcats team that's inside the top 100 in forcing turnovers.

I'll lay the points with Arizona in this Pac-12 showdown.

Odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.

You can check out all of Iain's bets here!