Top College Basketball Picks Today (Back Minnesota, Northwestern to Cover in Beginning of ACC / Big Ten Challenge)

Northwestern Wildcats guard Boo Buie (0) reacts to basket at Welsh-Ryan Arena in Evanston. The Wildcats are 6.5-point favorites vs. Pitt tonight.
Northwestern Wildcats guard Boo Buie (0) reacts to basket at Welsh-Ryan Arena in Evanston. The Wildcats are 6.5-point favorites vs. Pitt tonight. / Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Tonight's college basketball betting cards kicks off the starting round of the ACC / Big Ten Challenge, as the Minnesota Golden Gophers head to Blacksburg, Virginia to match up against the Virginia Tech Hokies, while the Northwestern hosts the Pitt Panthers in Evanston, Illinois to begin the Big Ten's home game outside of Chicago.

Now that teams are back in their home arenas following all the pre and post-Thanksgiving tournaments, will we see improved play, or perhaps some tired legs after all the travel and back-to-back-to-back action.

For even more betting previews, predictions and more, be sure to check out our College Basketball page HERE:

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Top College Basketball Picks and Predictions Today

  • Minnesota +12.5 (-110) @ Virginia Tech
  • Northwestern -6.5 (-110) vs. Pitt
  • Sam Houston +4.5 (-110) @ Nevada

Minnesota vs. Virginia Tech Odds, Prediction and Pick

They've gotten off to a slow start, but the Golden Gophers defense has been solid enough that I'm willing to take them to cover against a hot Hokies squad tonight. Minnesota ranks 31st in opponent effective field goal percentage, as well as 79th in defensive efficiency.

Virginia Tech, on the other hand ranks 157th and 133rd in those two categories.

The Hokies offense has been better, ranking 25th in effective field goal percentage, but I think this spread is a bit of an overreaction to early season results.

I'll back the Golden Gophers with the points on Monday night. - Iain MacMillan

You can track Iain's bets on Betstamp here.

Pittsburgh vs. Northwestern Odds, Prediction and Pick

As a Pittsburgh native, I miss Jamie Dixon, even though I'm a Penn State fan.

As a basketball fan at least, there were meaningful games played in the city. That’s how rock bottom this program is right now. The only two quality opponents Pitt has faced, Michigan and West Virginia, absolutely destroyed them, and VCU beat them at a neutral site. 

Northwestern is as good if not better than those teams because of how elite they’re playing defensively so far. While most have come vs. cupcake opponents, their recent matchup with Auburn proved to me their defense is real. 

The Wildcats are by no means great, but they have a balanced scoring attack with Boo Buie, Chase Audige, Ty Berry, and Robbie Beran; each averaging just over 10 points a game. That can give them plenty to handle Pitt, especially if they continue to hold opponents to 32.2%, 26.3% from 3-point range, and under 52 points per game. - Josh Yourish

Follow all Josh Yourish’s bets HERE

Sam Houston vs. Nevada Odds, Prediction and Pick

Don’t sleep on the Bearkats!

Sam Houston State has yet to allow more than 55 points this season, blowing out South Dakota and Northern Illinois in its last two matchups. 

Nevada has a solid offense, coming in 101st in the country in adjusted offensive efficiency at KenPom, but Jason Hooten’s Bearkats squad will make things tough with the turnover happy defensive attack. 

Sam Houston State ranks 54th in opponent effective field goal percentage while limiting second chances, and ranking 14th in opponent offensive rebound percentage.

Nevada’s only loss came in overtime to Kansas State, and they thrive at getting to the free throw line, which may be how they attack a strong Sam Houston defensive front.

Ultimately, 4.5 points is too many to give this undefeated Bearkats team. KenPom projects this as a two-point win for Nevada, so I love getting 4.5 points with the Bearkats, who I believe can win it outright. 

Find Peter Dewey’s full betting record here.

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.