Daily Dunk: Best College Basketball Bets Today (Trust Kansas to Get Back on Track?)

College basketball betting preview, prediction and best bets for North Carolina vs. Wake Forest and Kansas vs. Cincinnati on Monday

Jan 20, 2024; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Cincinnati Bearcats guard Dan Skillings Jr. (0) dribbles
Jan 20, 2024; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Cincinnati Bearcats guard Dan Skillings Jr. (0) dribbles / Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

It's a condensed Monday night college hoops slate, but we still have two Final Four hopefuls taking the floor in Kansas and North Carolina.

The Jayhawks continued to struggle on the road, losing a second Big 12 game away from Lawrence, but return home to Allen Fieldhouse to host Cincinnati, but are you paying too much of a tax to back the Jayhawks?

Meanwhile, North Carolina continues to emerge as one of the best teams in the country, but will face an offensive-minded Wake Forest on Monday, who has emerged as a strong ACC team.

Here's how I'm playing the two biggest games on a small Monday slate.

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College Basketball Betting Record: 63-49-3 (+9.76U)

Best College Basketball Bets for Monday, Jan. 22

  • Wake Forest vs. North Carolina OVER 156
  • Cincinnati +8.5 vs. Kansas

Wake Forest vs. North Carolina Prediction and Pick

This game should feature plenty of possessions with two teams that like to play in the open court.

North Carolina has been humming on both sides of the ball this season, and has even survived a swoon in 3-point shooting through the early stages of conference play. The Tar Heels are shooting below 32% in ACC games this season, 12th in the conference and way down from the team's top 100 ranking over the balance of the season.

While Wake runs teams off the 3-point line and into the transfer Efton Reid's seven foot frame, the team runs itself into foul trouble quite a bit, which will be impactful against a physical UNC team that leads the ACC in free throw rate in conference play.

On the other end, Wake Forest brings in the best offense in terms of KenPom's adjusted offensive efficiency in conference games. The team is shooting lights out from beyond the arc, and UNC's inability to pressure the ball (264th in turnover percentage) will let the Demon Deacons run its offense with little issue.

North Carolina is holding teams to 23% shooting from beyond the arc in league play, but if you look deeper, that number is a bit smoke and mirrors.

The team benefited from Clemson's off shooting game, hitting only one of 18 3-pointers, and also faced several poor perimeter shooting teams like North Carolina State. Wake Forest is shooting 39% from deep over the balance of the season and can ring up the Tar Heels from the perimeter, who ShotQuality deems is due a five percent increase in opponent's 3-point shooting.

I like the over in what should be an up tempo affair.


Cincinnati vs. Kansas Prediction and Pick

Kansas is off of a loss on the road to West Virginia as the team continues to struggle away from home in Big 12 play, and while the team is likely going to get back on track with a win at home, I think this is far too big of a spread against Cincinnati.

The Bearcats have been competitive in the team's first year in the Big 12, going to BYU and winning outright as a double digit underdog, knocking off TCU at home and losing by one possession to the likes of Baylor and Texas.

Cincinnati is an elite defensive unit, presenting length all over the floor and an excellent rebounding team. The Bearcats are seventh in defensive rebounding percentage and 54th in two-point field goal percentage allowed. This is big against a Kansas team that isn't comfortable shooting from the perimeter, bottom 40 in terms of 3-point rate, and lacking a floor spacer to open up the interior for big man Hunter Dickinson.

KU is the best Big 12 offense according to KenPom, mainly due to its 61% two-point field goal percentage. However, Cincy's interior defense is going to pose problems that can force the team to take contested mid-range shots or 3s, which may be ripe for a step back as league play continues.

Many will point to Kansas returning home as a reason to back the Jayhawks, but this number has shifted way too far. This number is -6 according to KenPom and closer to -5 per Haslametrics. I'll take the Bearcats to keep it within the number.

PICK: Cincinnati +8.5

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.

Track Reed's bets here!