Daily Dunk: Best College Basketball Bets Today (Target Gonzaga, East Carolina on Thursday)

Feb 24, 2024; Spokane, Washington, USA; Gonzaga Bulldogs guard Nolan Hickman (11) celebrates a
Feb 24, 2024; Spokane, Washington, USA; Gonzaga Bulldogs guard Nolan Hickman (11) celebrates a / James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

While Thursday's college basketball card has a handful of high major matchups, the mid majors take center stage, including a few on the NCAA Tournament bubble.

Gonzaga's offense has clicked over the month of February, and the team is a few wins away from securing a bid in the 'Big Dance,' and a semi-road game against San Francisco can go a long way for Mark Few's Bulldogs.

We have a best bet out west in that West Coast Conference showdown, but first let's hit on East Carolina's hopes to spoil Memphis' faint NCAA Tournament hopes at home. Can the Pirates keep up with the Tigers?

It's our best college basketball bets for Thursday's slate:

College Basketball Season Long Record: 130-109-5, +14.97U

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Best College Basketball Bets Today

  • Memphis vs. East Carolina (+4)
  • Gonzaga (-3.5) vs. San Francisco

Memphis vs. East Carolina Prediction and Pick

Memphis has been overvalued all season long, and I'll fade the Tigers yet again on the road.

The Tigers have been an incredibly sloppy group when it comes to protecting the ball. The team is 13th in turnover rate in AAC play while ECU is turning opponents over at the highest rate in league games. Memphis is reliant on its physicality to overwhelm opponents, but the Pirates aren't bothered, fouling at a low rate and doing a great job on the glass.

While ECU's offense is an eye sore, the team is 13th in AAC effective field goal percentage and isn't a dangerous threat from the perimeter, the Pirates get up plenty of catch-and-shoot threes, 90th in frequency according to ShotQuality. Meanwhile, Memphis is outside the top 300 in 'Open 3 Rate.' There will be chances for ECU to get clean looks from the perimeter.

With Memphis' inability to handle ball pressure, and its undisciplined defense, I can't trust this team to go on the road and win by margin.

Over the last 11 games, in which the Tigers are 5-6, the team has won one road game (at AAC bottom feeder Temple by seven). I think ECU can keep this competitive on Thursday.

PICK: East Carolina +4

Gonzaga vs. San Francisco Prediction and Pick

Gonzaga failed to cover as nine-and-a-half point favorites in the first meeting but did have a handle on the game for much of it. While a typical six-point swing for home court is somewhat normal, this isn't the case on Thursday as the game will be played on a neutral court (although near the San Francisco campus). I believe this negates much of the HCA and the first matchup showcased that the Bulldogs may have the answers to win comfortably again.

Gonzaga's offense has been thermonuclear this month, third in adjusted offensive efficiency, per Bart Torvik, and the team scored easily in the first meeting, 54% on twos and 33% on threes but shot just 64% on 34 free throw attempts.

Both teams are elite at finishing at the rim, each top five in field goal percentage at the bucket, but Gonzaga was able to slow down Mogbo with Anton Watson and limit his effectiveness. Elsewhere, the Dons failed to get much going downhill, shooting just 45% on twos in the loss.

I think there are schematic edges for Gonzaga in this one that can't be negated. Led by guard Ryan Nembhard, who dished out six assists and only turned it over twice in the first meeting, the Dons aggressive defense that leads the WCC in turnover rate wasn't as potent.

I think the Bulldogs can pull away again with its ability to get cleaner looks inside, especially with its current form on offense.

I'll lay the points in this "road" setting.

PICK: Gonzaga -3.5

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.