College basketball is heating up, and we have an amazing slate of games ahead of us. After a week that saw both bubble teams and top-ranked rivals battle it out, we get another day’s slate of top-tier games.
With both the Pac-12 and the Big Ten playing this Thursday, we have some of the best teams in the country on display. A few teams need to turn things around after recent upsets, and others are desperate to cement a stake in the 2023 NCAA Tournament. With so much on the line, no team will let up.
We can also find value in our NCAAB picks as the stakes continue to climb. This season is about to be over, but the opportunity to turn a profit remains. Let’s look at the three best bets for Thursday.
Purdue Boilermakers vs. Maryland Terrapins
Thursday, February 16, 2023 – 06:30 PM EST at XFINITY Center
Purdue was seen as the best team in college basketball three weeks ago, but recent losses have knocked them down a few pegs in the overall rankings. Still, they have every chance to earn the top overall seed in the NCAA Tournament. To do so, they can’t afford to lose any close games.
The next test is against Maryland, a team that’s won five of its last six games. Even in Maryland’s wins, they haven’t dominated on the offensive side of the ball. They’ve only surpassed 80 points twice over the last nine games. The Terps have size at the guard positions, but they don’t have anyone who can compete with the size of Zach Edey.
The real question is if Maryland can eliminate the other players’ contributions. That’s how they almost beat Purdue on the road.
Even with the Terps playing at home, I don’t see them covering. The Boilermakers are more motivated now than ever. They have learned the importance of playing around Edey, and they will have a detailed plan to get other stars involved.
Purdue is truly one of the three best teams in college basketball. If they want to play like one of the best teams, they need to win games like this one.
I see them winning and pulling away in the second half. Despite the home-court advantage, I don’t see Maryland keeping Purdue close for another 40 minutes.
NCAAB Pick: Purdue -1.5 (-110) at FanDuel
Stanford Cardinal vs. UCLA Bruins
Thursday, February 16, 2023 – 11:00 PM EST at Pauley Pavilion
Stanford vs. UCLA is not going to be a competitive game, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t bet on this one.
As a rule, I avoid spreads that are close to 15 points, UCLA is more than 15 points better than Stanford, but too much can happen with a spread this large. The second string can play for 5 minutes and give up a massive lead. UCLA can take its foot off the gas after this game is settled.
Instead, I value the total line for this college basketball game.
The line is low, and you know that UCLA will get their points. It really boils down to whether Stanford can put points on the board against this stout UCLA defense.
Stanford’s offense has been efficient for the last few weeks. I think that is enough to get the over to hit. That momentum will carry, and Stanford should at least have a strong first half.
I don’t expect a close game, but I do expect points to be scored in abundance for half of this game. That will be enough to cause the Over to hit.
NCAAB Pick: Over 130.5 (-110) at Caesars Sportsbook
Utah Utes vs. Arizona Wildcats
Thursday, February 16, 2023 – 10:00 PM EST at McKale Memorial Center
Arizona has one of the best offenses in the country, and they are at home this Thursday. Points will be scored in abundance for sure, but I care more about the double-digit spread at the best sportsbooks.
Arizona has a better offense and a worse defense, but the defense is simply due to the speed of their games. They know how to win by wide margins.
Except for a recent loss to Stanford, Arizona has run teams out of the gym. I see them being motivated after that loss, which is why I see a double-digit victory for the Wildcats.
Not to discredit the talent of the Utah defense, but this is a matter of speed. Arizona plays faster than almost any team, and it will be enough to have them cover.
NCAAB Pick: Arizona -9.5 (-120) at FanDuel