The sportsbooks have released their betting odds for tonight’s college basketball action, and three games interest me: Princeton vs. Rutgers, Northern Illinois vs. Marquette, and USC vs. Kansas State.
For your Best Bets, you should wager on Princeton ATS, Northern Illinois, ATS, and USC ML. My recommendations are backed by OddsTrader’s computer AI and by my handicapping.
- Princeton +5.5 (-110)
- Northern Illinois +23.5 (-110)
- USC ML (-150)
Monday, November 6, 2023 – 07:00 PM EST at CURE Insurance Arena
Our computers project Rutgers to defeat Princeton by one point.
Because Rutgers is favored by 5.5 points, a one-point Scarlet Knight victory leaves a lot of room for Princeton to cover the spread. Therefore, I recommend investing in Princeton ATS.
Rutgers’ Lack of Offense
Betting on Rutgers to cover a spread will drive you crazy. Conversely, those betting on the Scarlet Knights’ opponents will often feel relief.
This is because the Scarlet Knights, as evident throughout their season last year, will miss many shots at point-blank range, including layups and short two-point jump shots.
Nationally, they ranked 299th in effective field goal percentage.
Why Things Won’t Improve
Now, a look at the Scarlet Knights’ offseason moves does show an attempt to improve offensively.
Let’s acknowledge why somebody might make the mistake of liking Rutgers tonight: they did acquire a UMass guard who has shown the ability to play quickly and up the pace. Likewise, their former four-star recruit Gavin Griffiths is supposed to be a good shooter.
However, there is similar hype every year for the Scarlet Knights, and yet head coach Steve Pikiell’s product doesn’t change to any significant extent, as their offense is annually subpar at best for apparently deeper reasons.
This year’s new players and youth will take time to integrate with the rest of the team and to develop.
Rutgers wants to make up for its lack of efficiency on offense by dominating the glass in order to amass second-chance points, but Princeton is a notoriously tough opponent – recall that the Tigers beat both Arizona and Missouri on the glass in last year’s NCAA Tournament.
With rebounding machine Caden Pierce still around, Princeton can continue to thrive on the glass.
Under head coach Mitch Henderson, the Tigers love to shoot the three, and they always do it well. Naturally, this proclivity to shoot threes makes them match up well against a Rutgers defense that annually ranks well in the bottom half nationally at limiting opposing three-point attempts.
While the Scarlet Knights are bricking their shot opportunities, Princeton will be thriving from deep with guys like Blake Peters, who converted 39.7% of his three-point attempts last year.
NCAAB Pick: Princeton +5.5 (-110) at Bet365
Monday, November 6, 2023 – 08:30 PM EST at Fiserv Forum
Our computers project Marquette to win by 17 points.
In terms of covering the spread, however, such a margin of victory does not come close to sufficing, because the Golden Eagles are favored by 24 points. Accordingly, you should invest in Northern Illinois.
In order to win by as many points as the sportsbooks are asking Marquette to do, a team has to be sufficiently motivated.
It takes extra energy to win by more than 24 points rather than to win by an amount, such as ten points, that is already comfortable. Regardless of its physical ability to acquire and protect such a lead, Marquette has annually shown the disinclination to do so.
The Golden Eagles, that is, do not take low-profile non-conference games very seriously. Two years ago, for example, they started their season by beating SIU-Edwardsville by eleven points and New Hampshire by five points.
Last season, they led Radford by 21 points with just over six minutes left in the game. They didn’t care to do more, however, as they allowed Radford to cut their lead to ten points.
Northern Illinois’ Shooting
If Northern Illinois lacked effective shooters, then a Marquette backer could say: well, what does it matter if the Golden Eagles’ defense slacks off when Northern Illinois lacks the ability to take advantage?
When the Golden Eagles start to coast with their lead, the Huskies do have the ability to take advantage. Their scorers don’t need much space in order to manufacture points.
Last year, they ranked in the upper fourth nationally in effective field goal percentage. One reliable shot-maker is David Coit, who converted 38.1 percent of his three-point attempts last season.
NCAAB Pick: Northern Illinois +23.5 (-110) at Bet365
Monday, November 6, 2023 – 10:00 PM ET at T-Mobile Arena
Our computers project USC to defeat Kansas State. I agree, you should invest in a Trojans victory tonight.
Missing Key Players
If you like Kansas State, it’s probably because your impression of the Wildcats is affected by its amazing run during last year’s NCAA Tournament. However, you should place yourself one step ahead of the oddsmakers by recognizing that this is not the same team as last year’s.
Last year’s K-State run was ignited by point guard Markquis Nowell and forward Keyontae Johnson. Nowell was unguardable and Johnson likewise helped K-State score a lot of points. But both players have departed, and they are impossible to replace.
Without them, the Wildcats will prove to be overvalued by oddsmakers.
A Lot of Newness
Unlike the end of its last season, the beginning of Kansas State’s season will be rocky. The Wildcats will feature a lot of new players, but it takes time for new players to build chemistry with each other.
This amount of newness in their roster makes the Wildcats a good team to go against in the early stages of the season.
Such new players include transfers from Samford and Mississippi State, in addition to freshmen. While they do have some experience, they won’t have Nae’Qwan Tomlin available, who has been suspended following his arrest. Tomlin was one of their leading scorers last year, in addition to being a strong rebounder and shot-blocker.
Unlike Kansas State, USC returns the “quarterback” of its team, point guard Boogie Ellis.
Ellis provides veteran leadership. He’s a good distributor, an efficient three-point shooter, and, especially when a defense misses a guy like Tomlin, he’s hard to stop without fouling when he drives to the basket. He will be the difference-maker in a game that is begging for personnel continuity.
NCAAB Pick: USC ML (-150) at Bet365
*The line and/or odds referenced in this article might have changed since the content was published. For the latest information on line movements, visit OddsTrader’s free betting odds tool.