Daily Dunk: Best College Basketball Bets Today (Trust Home Teams on Wednesday)

Xavier Musketeers guard Dailyn Swain (3) dunks the go-ahead points which would be for the win in the
Xavier Musketeers guard Dailyn Swain (3) dunks the go-ahead points which would be for the win in the / Sam Greene/The Enquirer / USA TODAY

Wednesday night college hoops action takes the stage and we have a trifecta of home teams showing betting value.

Xavier is desperate for an impressive victory, and can get some payback after St. John's smoked the Musketeers last month, is it worth taking the small home favorite? I'm also looking to fade two teams that have struggled on the road in Baylor and Wake Forest.

Here are my three favorite bets for Wednesday's college hoops slate.

College Basketball Season Long Record: 79-59-3 (+15.97U)

New FanDuel users, sign up below to get $200 in bonus bets when you win your first bet of just $5!

Best College Basketball Bets Today

  • St. John's vs. Xavier (-1.5)
  • Baylor vs. UCF (+3)
  • Wake Forest vs. Pitt (-1.5)

St. John's vs. Xavier Prediction and Pick

This is a rematch from a Red Storm thrashing on December 22nd, an 81-66 win for St. John's in which the usually sure-handed Musketeers turned it over 18 times in the loss.

While many will point to the "revenge" angle, I find this to be a good landing spot for Xavier after getting boat raced by UConn on the road by 33 points on Sunday afternoon, giving some inherent market value on the home team on Wednesday night.

Xavier is a strong matchup for the Johnnies, bolstering an elite rim protection unit, and allowing the 11th-lowest field goal percentage at the cup this season. That's massive against a rim-reliant St. John's team that is shooting 30% from the three-point line at the second-lowest rate in conference play.

Meanwhile, Xavier is a strong ball-handling unit, top third in turnover percentage, so I find that the prior meeting is more of an outlier than the norm. Further, Xavier's offensive rebounding can give St. John's leaky coverage on the defensive glass (Xavier is second in Big East OREB% vs. St. John's 10th DREB%) and can give the Musketeers a necessary edge to cover the one possession spread.

PICK: Xavier -1.5

Baylor vs. UCF Prediction and Pick

The cracks are obvious in the Bears' armor. The team's defense is a rim funnel and its harsh regression from three-point range has led to middling Big 12 results. Baylor has dropped three straight (two in overtime) and now hit the road to face UCF, who bolsters an elite defense.

While the Knights are a step down in class, I can't trust Baylor to run away and hide against a defense that is top 10 in adjusted defensive efficiency on the year.

UCF's defense checks in the top 50 nationally in effective field goal percentage allowed, turnover rate, and defensive rebounding percentage, which is going to keep the Baylor offense at bay. This is a team that has struggled when leaving Waco, going 1-2 in true Big 12 road games with its lone win being a road overtime victory against Oklahoma State.

Meanwhile, I'm counting on the poor UCF offense to find some answers with the way Baylor defends the rim. The Knights are dead last in two-point field goal percentage , but Baylor's inability to stop penetration is going to lead to enough easy buckets to keep this game close. Baylor is allowing teams to shoot 55% on two's this season and 62% at the rim, 315th in the country.

Given that Baylor plays at a methodical tempo, the team is the slowest Big 12 team in league play, I believe UCF can keep this one within a few possessions.


Wake Forest vs. Pitt Prediction and Pick

I fear that Wake Forest is a "home court merchant."

The Demon Deacons bolster an elite offense, 35th in KenPom's adjusted offensive efficiency metric, but the team has not been the same when it leaves home. Steve Forbes' group ranks 335th in Haslametrics' away-from-home rating, going 2-6 on the road straight up, beating only Towson and Boston College.

Wake is a devastating three-point shooting team, shooting 38% from beyond the arc this season, but a lot of that is baked into the team's success at home when the team is playing true road games, the group is shooting only a middle of the road 34% from deep.

Pitt is starting to get big performances from the likes of forward Blake Hinson, 20 or more points in two of three games, and the team has the size to check the Wake Forest frontcourt. I believe the Panthers can do enough to get a home victory.

PICK: Pitt -1.5

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.