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Another huge slate in college basketball tonight and another one of Joey Ruiz's favorite matchups tonight comes from the Southland Conference with New Orleans taking on McNeese State. Joey breaks down his best college basketball bets for Thursday.

College Basketball Picks: 2 Best Bets for Thursday's Games

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New Orleans vs. McNeese State Prediction - 8:30 pm ET

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The Southland as a whole has been good to me this season betting-wise, even though McNeese State and Northwestern State let me down last night. But the real over kings of college basketball are the New Orleans Privateers. New Orleans has been one of my favorite teams to bet overs on because of their pace and style of play. New Orleans is currently ranked 10th in the nation in lowest average time of possession at 15.5 seconds and is number 1 in the nation in foul rate drawn on offense. This means they play extremely fast and physical and get to the line often for free throws with the clock stopped.

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On the flip side, McNeese State also plays very fast as they are ranked 48th in the country in the lowest time of possession at 16.5 seconds. McNeese State is also a great rebounding team and should be able to have an advantage on the glass tonight with their large size/height advantage over New Orleans. This will be the fourth time these two teams have played this year and in the previous 3 games, we saw a total of 174, 162, and 163 points in those games. I expected this total to open much higher and think there is a lot of value on the over between these two teams simply based on the pace they play with. This game should also be relatively close given the -4.5/5 spread and hopefully, it is not a blowout at the end so that one of these teams will foul to extend the game. New Orleans is notorious for fouling to extend games if the score is within 10-12 points, and they rarely just pack it up and give up. I think this will be a high scoring game, so I am rolling with the OVER 149 at -110 between New Orleans and McNeese St for one of my most confident college basketball picks of the night. Play is good up to a total of 154.

New Orleans vs. McNeese State Pick

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New Orleans vs. McNeese State Total Movement

Southern Utah vs. Portland State Prediction - 7:30 pm ET

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Southern Utah has been one of my favorite teams to bet on this year out of the Big Sky Conference. They have played extremely well against the bottom tier of their league, and I think they will have another solid start here tonight. Southern Utah is a really good offensive team as they are currently ranked 107th in adjusted offensive efficiency, 71st in offensive effective field goal percentage, 54th in 2-point percentage, and 82nd in lowest offensive turnover percentage. Portland State has been very bad on defense this season as they are currently ranked 206th in adjusted defensive efficiency, 299th in defensive effective field goal percentage, 338th in defensive 3-point percentage, and 326th in defensive rebounding percentage.

Southern Utah is not a team that crashes the glass hard, but they should have a distinct advantage on the boards in this game. Portland State also started very slow in their first game against a much inferior opponent in Idaho State and I expect another slow start from them here. Southern Utah is also coming off one of their best wins of the season with a double-digit win over Weber State as 6-point underdogs and I think they will be able to carry that over into a strong 1H performance tonight. With that being said, I am rolling with Southern Utah 1H -2.5 at -106 for one of my most confident college basketball picks of the night.

Southern Utah vs. Portland State Pick

  • Southern Utah 1H -2.5 (-106)

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Southern Utah vs. Portland State Line Movement

Article Author


Joey has spent the last 6+ years betting on sports with a focus on basketball and baseball. Basketball is his main focus, and not many people know more about mid-major basketball than him. Whether you need advice on a Saturday night primetime game or a Tuesday night back-alley SWAC/MEAC game, Joey is your man.


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