Top AI NCAAB Picks for January 26: Big Ten Takes Center Stage

Fletcher Loyer Purdue Boilermakers vs Hofstra Pride
Fletcher Loyer #2 of the Purdue Boilermakers shoots a free throw during the game against the Hofstra Pride at Mackey Arena. Michael Hickey/Getty Images/AFP

Turns out the computers are not infallible. We took the Over with all three of our AI-generated college basketball picks for Tuesday’s slate, and all three went Under instead – two of them by double digits, and the other by a mere half-point.

These things happen. The free OddsTrader BetStation app isn’t Nostradamus; it’s designed to give us a baseline expectation of what’s most likely to happen, so we can find the games on the NCAAB odds board that have the highest potential profit margin, and hammer them with appropriately sized bets.

Those margins are still pretty small: Even a 5-star “deadbolt lock” is going to be a 60/40 flip at best. It’s anything but rare to end up 0-3 (or 3-0) when you make three NCAAB picks; more often, you’ll go 2-1 or 1-2. Let’s see which of these four Plinko slots our money falls into this Thursday.

Iowa Hawkeyes vs. Michigan State Spartans

Thursday, January 26, 2023 – 07:00 PM EST at Breslin Center

No better place to start than the Big Ten, where the computers say Michigan State will beat Iowa 77-75. This makes the Over worth betting on the 147.5-point total at Caesars Sportsbook, a total that’s 4.5 points lower than the AI projection.

Can We Trust Michigan State?

The Spartans are a bit of a mystery. They’ve split the totals at 10-10 thus far, under-performing in both halves of the court; the only real concern for this bet is head coach Tom Izzo’s ultra-slow zone offense, which leaves Sparty ranked No. 305 in Adjusted Tempo (64.7 possessions per game) on Ken Pomeroy’s efficiency charts.

On the other hand, Iowa (Over 11-8) was born to crush totals. These Hawkeyes are the polar opposite of their football program, ranking fifth in the nation on offense and No. 146 on defense. They also manage to fit 69.9 possessions per game (No. 55) on average. Those added scoring opportunities should get us to the Promised Land.

NCAAB Pick: Over 147.5 (-110) at Caesars Sportsbook

Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders vs. Florida Atlantic Owls

Thursday, January 26, 2023 – 07:00 PM EST at FAU Arena

Our second AI pick is even tastier than the first. Florida Atlantic is projected to beat MTSU 76-66, which adds up to 142 points, yet the total at FanDuel is only 135.5 at press time – and the Over comes with a generous –106 vigorish attached.

When Did Conference USA Get So Good?

This is definitely the best basketball we’ve seen from C-USA in quite a while. They check in at No. 10 on the Division I conference rankings at Sports Reference, using their Simple Rating System; that’s one spot higher than the Atlantic 10, one of the most respected mid-majors in college hoops.

Florida Atlantic (plus-11.9 SRS) happens to be the best of this particular bunch. Again, the Owls have the totals split down the middle at 9-9 thus far, but they are a bit better on offense than defense, and a bit faster than your average D-I team.

The Blue Raiders (Over 9-8-1) are the mirror image of FAU, except worse overall at plus-3.4 SRS. The key for our Over bet is the clash of styles: MTSU are relatively efficient scoring inside, where the Owls’ defense allows a high 38.7 2-point attempts per game (No. 289).

NCAAB Pick: Over 135.5 (-106) at FanDuel

Purdue Boilermakers vs. Michigan Wolverines

Thursday, January 26, 2023 – 09:00 PM EST at Crisler Center

Returning to the Big Ten, the best of our three basketball picks is Over 136.5 for Thursday’s Purdue-Michigan tilt, which our computer picks say top-ranked Purdue will win 76-70. That’s a cavernous 9.5-point gap between the projection and the total.

Are the Boilermakers for Real?

They might be a bit over-valued at No. 1 in the polls compared to No. 5 overall (No. 4 offense, No. 16 defense) on the Pomeroy charts, but yes, the Boilers are legit. Matt Painter has built an outstanding program in West Lafayette, one that went to the Sweet Sixteen last year and the Elite Eight in 2019.

Purdue also moves at a snail’s pace (63.7 possessions, No. 331), and they have the Under at 14-6, which is disconcerting. But they’ll be playing the Wolverines (Over 10-9), who are slightly faster than average and slightly tilted towards offense.

This is also a low total compared to what UM are used to seeing. They’ve only played three games so far with an over/under this small, and all three went Over.

Bet accordingly; the AI has spoken.

NCAAB Pick: Over 136.5 (-110) at Caesars Sportsbook is your sports betting command center. Read featured betting strategy compiled from a panel of leading sports betting experts.

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