TheRX’s Top 3 Picks for the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic

Beon Riley Hawaii Rainbow Warriors College Basketball
Beon Riley #10 of the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors shoots the ball against Corey Walker Jr. #15 of the South Florida Bulls. Darryl Oumi/Getty Images/AFP

Hawaii is holding its Diamond Head Classic throughout the entire day. Let’s break down the three later games in the NCAAB odds board with our best bets.

Seattle Redhawks vs. Utah State Aggies

Thursday, December 22, 2022 – 05:00 PM EST at Stan Sheriff Center

The Seattle Redhawks haven’t played a very tough schedule until now. The Redhawks defeated Portland, 80-68, on the road, their best win of the season. A win over Utah State would quickly become the best win of the season, if they can pull it off.

Utah State was undefeated until Monday. The Aggies have wins over Oral Roberts, San Francisco, and Bradley but just lost to Weber State at home. So now Utah State will look to begin a new win streak in Hawaii’s Diamond Head Classic.

Seattle is shooting an effective field goal percentage of 50.1%. They’ve shot 33.9% from downtown and 49.4% from inside the arc.

The Redhawks love to shoot the three ball, and Utah State has given up 39.9% from downtown this season. If Seattle gets good looks from three and shoots at a high percentage, they’ll have a chance to pull off an upset.

However, Seattle also shoots just 64.8% from the foul line and likely won’t win many second chances as Utah State has held opponents to a 20.8% offensive rebounding percentage.

Meanwhile, Utah State is shooting 42.7% from downtown. They’re also hitting 53.1% from inside and 75.2% from the foul line.

The Pick

Neither team will earn a high rate of turnovers, but Utah State should get to the foul line more often, where they’re 75.2%.

Like Seattle, Utah State will struggle on the offensive glass. But as long as they’re hot from the field, it won’t matter.

Let’s back the Over in this game.

NCAAB Pick: Over 147.5 (-110) at BetMGM

George Washington Colonials vs. Washington State Cougars

Thursday, December 22, 2022 – 09:00 PM EST at Stan Sheriff Center

The George Washington Colonials will take on the Washington State Cougars in the third game of the Diamond Head Classic. Washington State has lost four of its last five games. They haven’t defeated any team inside the top 200.

Meanwhile, George Washington has a massive win against South Carolina, but South Carolina is one of the worst teams in Power 5 this season. George Washington has shot it well from the floor this season. They’ve nailed 33.6% from deep and 59.7% from inside the arc. The Colonials are great inside the arc, but they’d rather take a high rate of threes. Washington State has held opponents to 30.6% from downtown.

The Colonials won’t turn the ball over often but won’t get second chances very often.

Meanwhile, Washington State has had trouble holding onto the ball this season. However, George Washington is not very aggressive defensively and likely won’t earn a high rate of turnovers, even against Washington State.

The Cougars have hit 38.4% from downtown and 50.6% from inside the arc. Like George Washington, the Cougars will take plenty of threes. They hit them at a much higher rate and should be able to be more active on the offensive glass as well.

The Pick

George Washington has benefitted from teams missing foul shots. Washington State is shooting above 70% from the line.

Back Washington State to cover the 11.5-point spread.

NCAAB Pick: Washington State -11.5 (-110) at Caesars Sportsbook

Pepperdine Waves vs. Hawaii Rainbow Warriors

Thursday, December 22, 2022 – 11:30 PM EST at Stan Sheriff Center

The Pepperdine Waves have lost four of their last five games against division I teams. They’ll look to get back in the win column against Hawaii after earning a 92-69 win against Cal State Los Angeles.

Pepperdine has been weak on the offensive glass and isn’t getting to the foul line a lot. Instead, they’re 38.4% from downtown and shooting 48.2% from inside the arc.

Hawaii has held teams to 27.7% from deep and 45.5% from inside the arc. The Rainbow Warriors won’t earn a high rate of turnovers but should at least keep Pepperdine at a lower percentage from the field.

On the other hand, Hawaii isn’t all that better offensively. They’ve shot 32.1% from deep and 50.9% from inside the arc.

The Pick

The Rainbow Warriors also won’t get to the foul line consistently, but they’ll at least earn more offensive rebounds and get more second chances.

Still, both defenses have allowed an effective field goal percentage of 45.3 or worse. They’re both in the top 35 in defensive effective field goal percentages. I’ll back the Under in this late-night game.

NCAAB Pick: Under 140.5 (-110) at BetMGM