We’ve seen some really big differences lately between the totals on the NCAAB odds and the projections generated by the free OddsTrader BetStation app. But in the wise words of Randy Bachman, you ain’t seen nothing yet.
Thursday’s slate has some ridiculously huge gaps for us to drive our college basketball picks through, so let’s get right to it.
- North Texas vs. Charlotte: Over 111.5 (-110) at Caesars Sportsbook
- California Baptist vs. Sam Houston State: Over 125.5 (-110) at FanDuel
- Washington State vs. Stanford: Over 134.5 (-110) at BetMGM
North Texas Mean Green vs. Charlotte 49ers
Thursday, February 23, 2023 – 07:00 PM EST at Dale F. Halton Arena
College basketball totals don’t dip below 120 points very often, but this is insane: Thursday’s game between North Texas (Over 13-12-1) and Charlotte (Under 14-9-4) has a tiny over/under of 111.5 at Caesars Sportsbook as we go to press.
The AI says the Mean Green will win 65-64. That’s 17.5 points more than the total, with overtime a very real threat on top of that.
Why Such a Low Total?
Speed, or lack thereof. North Texas is the slowest team in Division I according to Ken Pomeroy’s Adjusted Tempo metric; he has the Mean Green at 58.6 possessions per game, around 9-10 possessions fewer than the average D-I program.
The second-slowest team? You guessed it: Charlotte, at 60.3 possessions per game. And to make matters worse, North Texas is significantly better on defense (No. 45) than offense (No. 74). No wonder these two Conference USA rivals are expected to score fewer points combined than your typical NBA team.
Take a closer look, though, and you’ll see some positives for our NCAAB picks. Charlotte, for example, ranks No. 122 on offense compared to No. 136 on defense, and they’re No. 34 in the nation at 37.4% from behind the arc. Quality over quantity.
The Mean Green are also a bit foul-prone, allowing 19.3 free-throw attempts per game (No. 264). Free throws don’t take any time off the clock, and the Niners connect at a 74.5% clip (No. 74) from the charity stripe. We might not even need overtime to blow this total out of the water.
NCAAB Pick: Over 111.5 (-110) at Caesars Sportsbook
California Baptist Lancers vs. Sam Houston State Bearkats
Thursday, February 23, 2023 – 07:30 PM EST at Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum
Next up, we have another low total between Cal Baptist (Under 15-10) and Sam Houston (11-11 Totals), and another very large gap of 13.5 points for our Over bet, with the computers projecting the Bearkats to win 74-66.
What the Heck Is a Bearkat?
According to school officials, it’s a mythical cross between a bear and a cat, as opposed to an actual bearcat. Their athletic teams were known as the Normals up until 1923, as in “Sam Houston Normal Institute.”
Apparently, bearkats are more ursine than felines; Sam Houston ranks No. 323 overall in tempo at 64.5 possessions per game. They also rank No. 115 on offense and No. 42 on defense, which is obviously not ideal for our basketball picks.
The Lancers (64.3 possessions, No. 323) are one step slower than SHSU, and also tilted in the wrong direction at No. 177 on offense compared to No. 133 on defense. But Cal Baptist has only played once this year with a total this small, and they went Over, while Sam Houston has split their totals at 2-2 in such games.
NCAAB Pick: Over 125.5 (-110) at FanDuel
Washington State Cougars vs. Stanford Cardinal
Thursday, February 23, 2023 – 11:00 PM EST at Maples Pavilion
Alas, Thursday’s PAC-12 game between the Cougars (Under 17-11) and the Cardinal (Over 15-12) “only” has an 8.5-point gap between the total and the AI projection, which has Stanford winning 73-70, but that’s still plenty big enough.
How Slow Are the Cougars?
Not as slow as the Bearkats, of course, but Washington State only gets in 64.4 possessions per game (No. 329). And their imbalance is all wrong for this bet, with the Wazzu offense at No. 77 and the defense at No. 51.
Thankfully, the Cardinal (No. 55 offense, No. 161 defense) have the profile we’re looking for, even if they rank No. 271 in tempo at 66.0 possessions per game. And the clash of styles here is just about perfect, with the Cougars offense highly dependent on 3-point shooting – which hits Stanford right where they hurt:
- Washington State offense: 8.8 3P (No. 47), 36.3% (No. 68)
- Stanford defense: 22.6 3PA (No. 251), 35.5% (No. 293)
All this, plus a very good chance of overtime with the Cardinal favored by a bucket at home. Bet accordingly – the AI has spoken.
NCAAB Pick: Over 134.5 (-110) at BetMGM