Here we are: the last day of February. March Madness is just around the corner, and our college basketball picks are bound to get a lot more profitable once the betting public pours in. Even the Champ Week games should see bigger profit margins attached to their NCAAB lines.
In the meantime, the free OddsTrader BetStation app has dialed up some tasty computer picks for Tuesday’s slate. There are six games at press time with a gap of at least three points between the projections and what you’ll find on the NCAAB odds board; we’ve chosen three of them, starting with the biggest favorites of the bunch.
- Boston College vs. Wake Forest: Wake Forest -8.5 (-110) at Caesars Sportsbook
- Marquette vs. Butler: Marquette -7.5 (-115) at BetMGM
- Clemson vs. Virginia: Clemson +6.5 (-110) at SugarHouse
Tuesday, February 28, 2023 – 07:00 PM EST at Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum
They probably won’t make it to the Big Dance, but Wake Forest (18-11 SU, 16-13 ATS) is projected to beat Boston College (14-15 SU, 13-16 ATS) 80-68 this Tuesday, even though they’re “only” favored by 8.5 points at Caesars Sportsbook.
How Good Is Wake Forest?
Not as good as last year. Sports Reference has the Deacs at plus-9.12 on their Simple Rating System, down from plus-13.24 SRS in 2021-22. That’s not the trajectory they were hoping for in their third season under head coach Steve Forbes – not that one.
They’re still miles ahead of Boston College (plus-1.35 SRS), though. Take the difference between those SRS figures, give Wake Forest a generic three points for home-court advantage, and you get them winning by almost 11 points, which is very close to the gap projected by our AI.
Ken Pomeroy, meanwhile, has the Deacs ranked No. 83 overall (No. 33 offense, No. 157 defense) on his efficiency charts – not Tournament-worthy by any means, but again considerably out front of the Eagles at No. 172 (No. 252 offense, No. 107 defense).
Can the Demon Deacons Go on Without Their Star Player?
There is one big problem for Wake Forest that needs addressing: Their highest-rated player, junior forward Damari Monsanto (plus-6.3 BPM), is out for the season after suffering a torn patellar tendon last Wednesday.
This will eat into WFU’s perimeter offense, where Monsanto led the Deacs at 40.4% accuracy and the entire ACC with 87 made threes. But they still beat Notre Dame 66-58 last Saturday as 7.5-point home faves, with sophomore guard Lucas Taylor playing 18 minutes off the bench and shooting 2-for-4 from deep.
NCAAB Pick: Wake Forest -8.5 (-110) at Caesars Sportsbook
Tuesday, February 28, 2023 – 06:30 PM EST at Hinkle Fieldhouse
Marquette (23-6 SU, 18-10-1 ATS) has taken over the Big East this year, and while other sportsbooks have them at -8 or even -8.5 at press time for Tuesday’s tilt with Butler (14-15 SU, 13-14-2 ATS), you can get the Eagles at -7.5 if you’re willing to pay the -115 vig at BetMGM.
Is It Worth It?
Five cents is probably too much to pay for a half-point in college basketball, but it does give you the same 3.5-point cushion as our Wake Forest pick; the AI says Marquette will win Tuesday’s game 79-68. There’s also something to be said for lowering the variance of your NCAAB picks by trimming away that half-point.
Any way you slice it, the Eagles are the cream of the Big East. Pomeroy has them at No. 12 overall (No. 3 offense, No. 69 defense), two spots ahead of Creighton and worlds away from No. 121 Butler (No. 224 offense, No. 59 defense).
You might want to temper your bet size, though, given how poor the betting public is at evaluating defense.
NCAAB Pick: Marquette -7.5 (-115) at BetMGM
Tuesday, February 28, 2023 – 07:00 PM EST at John Paul Jones Arena
For our third pick, we return to the ACC for Tuesday’s matchup between Clemson (21-8 SU, 15-14 ATS) and Virginia (21-6 SU, 10-16-1 ATS), which the computers have the Cavaliers winning 72-69.
That makes Clemson the easy choice as 6.5-point road dogs at SugarHouse, again giving us 3.5 points of clearance to work with.
Will Clemson Make the Tournament?
Maybe if they beat Virginia. Joe Lunardi has the Tigers among the “Next Four Out” on his latest Bracketology report, with the Cavs earning a No. 4 seed at the moment – but trending downwards after back-to-back road losses to Boston College (+9.5) and North Carolina (-4.5).
Pomeroy, meanwhile, only has Virginia ranked No. 38 overall (No. 75 offense, No. 27 defense) and Clemson No. 68 (No. 72 offense, No. 68 defense), so you can see where the value lies in this contest. Bet accordingly – the AI has spoken.
NCAAB Pick: Clemson +6.5 (-110) at SugarHouse