Here are our experts’ top bets for the NCAA Basketball games this evening.
NC State Wolfpack (PK, 148.5) vs Syracuse Orange
NC State should seem to excel against Syracuse’s matchup 2-3 defense. The Wolfpack shoot well in the mid-range and from 3-point range. They’re also a pretty good offensive rebounding team and just got 6-foot-8 senior Jack Clark back from injury, who is the team’s leading rebounder. The Wolfpack have four players averaging at least 12.2 points per game which will help since they will likely need multiple scorers against the zone.
Syracuse is limiting opponents to a 31.2% shot share on short two-pointers. NC State is only getting to the rim on 32.8% of shot attempts, so they’re more than comfortable with shooting over the defense. NC State’s 3-pont FG% has steadily improved lately and they are shooting 43.5% on 3’s over the last five games.
Syracuse does get the ball inside at an average rate and NC State does allow teams a high shot share on Close Twos at 42.2%, but that shouldn’t be enough to offset the Wolfpack’s 3-pointers. Also, the Wolfpack take care of the basketball about as well as any team in the country, so they shouldn’t throw possessions away against this zone.
In 14 conference games, Syracuse has beaten one top-150 team, and NC State should be much more difficult competition for them.
We like NC State in this game.
University of Illinois (-3.5, 139.5) vs Penn State Nittany Lions
Illinois’ defense has been different on the road. It goes from giving up .825 points per possession to nearly a whole point per possession. On the other side, Penn State’s defense is average and should be something that the Illini can easily attack. Most projections have the over at of 142-143, so there is value on this line. Penn State has the offensive rebounding advantage, and Illinois should be able to have some considerable success scoring in pick-and-roll situations.
There has also been sharp money coming in on the over in the last few hours, which may drive up the total, but that has not happened thus far.
We like the Over 139.5.