Top College Basketball Picks Today: Best Bets for La Salle-Villanova, Lehigh-Syracuse Highlight Season Opener

Mar 25, 2022; Greensboro, NC, USA;  A general shot of the game ball for the NCAA Women's tournament
Mar 25, 2022; Greensboro, NC, USA; A general shot of the game ball for the NCAA Women's tournament / William Howard-USA TODAY Sports

Hi, hello, are you ready?

The college basketball season is here, meaning chaos will take over our televisions for the next six months as we sift through 363 D1 teams in order to find valuable bets. With a massive opening slate, but no ranked vs. ranked matchups, it's imperative to be careful combing through each game in pinpointing sides and totals to take.

You can find the best odds, spreads and totals for every game on the slate here.

There is more turnover in college basketball than ever before with the transfer portal shifting the looks of teams at all times, leaving bettors asking questions early in the season.

Here are a few bets to dip your toe in the water and get this season off to a good start. As always, you can track my bets right here at BetSided, as well as on BetStamp here.

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Top College Basketball Picks and Predictions Today

  • La Salle vs. Villanova UNDER 137.5
  • Lehigh +18.5 vs. Syracuse
  • Winthrop +11.5 vs. Penn State
  • Buffalo +3 vs. Colgate
  • Western Michigan-Minnesota UNDER 136.5
  • UL-Monroe +21 vs. Texas A&M

La Salle vs. Villanova Odds, Prediction and Pick

La Salle faces in-state foe Villanova in a "Big 5" matchup, and the first of the Kyle Neptune era with the Wildcats. Replacing Jay Wright is a tall order, but it's even more challenging when 'Nova enters the season shorthanded, down Justin Moore and top recruit Cam Whitmore.

Meanwhile, the Explorers bring on Fran Dunphy from Temple to reignite their rebuild. There is a ton of familiarity as Dunphy is a Philadelphia legend and has plenty of experience against 'Nova. He also landed a pair of rangy defenders in the Drame twins from St. Peter's, who can each match up nicely against the Villanova frontcourt.

Under Wright, the Wildcats became a methodical offense that ranked in the bottom third nationally in tempo. At Fordham, Neptune pushed it closer to the top third, so there may be some growing pains as Neptune either adjusts his coaching style or the team's play to his liking from his prior stop.

Either way, the injuries to the top-end talent for Villanova and the transition at head coach makes me think we see some growing pains on the Wildcats side. Meanwhile, I don't expect La Salle to have their offensive identity set under Dunphy just yet.


Lehigh vs. Syracuse Odds, Prediction and Pick

This game should feature a ton of points between two three-point friendly offenses, but I think the Mountain Hawks can keep this relatively close. Lehigh was a top 10 three-point shooting offense last season, hitting on 38% of their perimeter shots, but more importantly, they allowed the lowest in the country.

That's imperative against an Orange team that was 17th in the country in 3P% and allowed a bottom 10 three-point rate. The Syracuse zone defense is built to shut down the paint and allow three-point looks, which the Mountain Hawks will happily do.

Jim Boeheim's team was outside the top 200 in adjusted defensive efficiency according to KenPom last season and I don't see massive changes on that side of the ball.

PICK: Lehigh +18.5

Winthrop vs. Penn State Odds, Prediction and Pick

This is a bad matchup for the Nittany Lions, who were bottom 10 nationally in turnover rate and pace, not a recipe to win by margin against an athletic Winthrop team that likes to play fast and has a ton of length.

The Eagles were dominant on offense last season, ranking 113th nationally while posting a top 10 effective field goal percentage. While they did lose big man Micheal Anumba to injury for the season along with fellow big D.J. Burns, the team still has high usage wing Cory Hightower to take advantage of a middling Penn State defense.

PICK: Winthrop +11.5

Buffalo vs. Colgate Odds, Prediction and Pick

Colgate gave Wisconsin a scare in the first round of the NCAA Tournament last season, but this team is now down their lead guard Nelly Cummings, who transferred to Pitt. That could be problematic against a Bulls defense that shuts down the perimeter and has the length to challenge Colgate's pick-and-roll offense.

The Bulls have to rely on transfers, but I trust their defensive scheme to out-pace Colgate at home in their opening game.

PICK: Buffalo +3

Western Michigan vs. Minnesota Odds, Prediction and Pick

Minnesota checked in at 285th in pace last season, per KenPom, and Western Michigan was even slower at 331. This game is set to be a grinder with limited possessions between two teams that were outside the top 300 in turnovers generated nationally.

The key to this game will be if the Gophers can put up enough on offense to clear this total, but the team is without their leading shot maker from last season in forward Jamison Battle, in addition to possibly Marquette transfer Dawson Garcia.

Minnesota is going to slow this game down, protect the ball, and be happy to push into the high 60's in this one, while WMU's bottom 50 offense continues to sputter into the new season.


College Basketball Best Bets for Monday, November 7

Track all of Reed's bets at Betstamp HERE!

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.