Nursing a Super Bowl hangover, and already despondent that the football season is over? Down bad for the month and looking to get right? Or perhaps you need a little extra scratch to cover the last-minute order for two-dozen roses for Valentine’s Day? (I mean seriously, what is with delivery fees these days?)
Whatever your situation, no matter your prerogative, you’ve landed at the right place. Three Man Weave has partnered with the Action Network to deliver its top three college basketball best bets for Monday, Feb. 14. Today’s Valentine’s Day picks are courtesy of Jim Root of Three Man Weave.
Check out all three of his picks below, including comprehensive analysis for all three matchups he’s betting on Monday.
Monday College Basketball Best Bets
The team logos in the table below represent each of the matchups that Three Man Weave is targeting from today’s slate of games. Click the team logos for one of the matchups below to navigate to a specific bet discussed in this article.
Saint Louis vs. St. Bonaventure
It’s a quick turnaround for the Billikens and the Bonnies, who just played in the Gateway to the West on Saturday.
The weekend matchup comfortably stayed under despite 14 combined points in the final 70 seconds as Saint Louis tried to get back into the game. Prior to that flurry, tempo was slow-ish and half-court scoring was a grind. Expect a similar clash tonight.
Also of note: neither team is deep. The Bonnies are dead last in the entire country in bench minutes, per KenPom. The only reason Mark Schmidt bothered to use his sixth man on Saturday was due to Osun Osunniyi’s foul trouble. If the long-armed paint enforcer can avoid fouling, his rim protection will be a great aid to the under.
Similarly, Saint Louis essentially rolled with a seven-man rotation on Saturday. Point guard Yuri Collins is terrific at pushing the pace opportunistically, but neither team will be looking to make this a track meet.
The historical data is rather compelling for this matchup as well.
Since Travis Ford arrived at Saint Louis in 2016, these two programs have squared off 10 times. The under has hit every single time (!), covering by an average of 9.4 points per game. Both coaches emphasize physicality and grinding in the half-court. Clearly, that effect gets amplified when the two square off.
The usual risks apply: this is expected to be a close game, so late fouling and overtime are a risk. Plus, the market has already hit this hard, betting this total down from 139.5 to 136.
Still, given the familiarity, possible slower tempo, and matchup history, I am willing to risk it down to 135.
Pick: Under 136.5 (Play to 135)
IUPUI vs. Illinois Chicago
Perhaps you noticed a since-deleted tweet making the rounds last week in which IUPUI was actively seeking players from the ranks of its normal students. Desperate times call for desperate measures, folks.
The Jaguars are down to just six players on the entire roster — truly, they had only one lonely teammate on the bench against Purdue Fort Wayne:
Stunningly, IUPUI covered that game with a 7-0 run over the game’s final two minutes. Still, though, the Jaguars have gotten down by 17-plus points in seven of their last eight Division I games, emphasizing their propensity to get blown out.
The poor Jaguars have plummeted to dead last in almost every analytical ranking: KenPom, BartTorvik, Haslametrics. The offense has topped 60 points just once against a Division I opponent the entire season.
That one time? Against this Illinois Chicago team back on Jan. 10.
The Jaguars put a major scare in the short-handed Flames, who were down two key players in that one. That included Damaria Franklin, the team’s best player and offensive engine, and Michael Diggins, their best rim protector.
The risk with laying such a massive price in league play is that the favorite will be complacent. However, since UIC nearly suffered the indignity of being IUPUI’s only DI win, the Flames should be motivated.
The other concern is that, by complete necessity, IUPUI has to keep its starters in for the entirety of the game. A back-door cover is always a risk in that case, but I believe the Flames will be winning by enough to avoid that concern.
Large home favorites are typically not a great bet during conference play, but laying points against IUPUI is an exception.
Pick: Illinois Chicago -17 (Play to -20)
Washington State vs. Oregon
We end our selections out west, where both Washington State and Oregon look to get back on track after embarrassing Saturdays.
The visiting Cougars, desperate for wins to claw back into at-large contention, just lost at home to 8-15 Arizona State. That’s the same Sun Devils team that lost by 23 to Wazzu’s in-state rival only two days earlier.
Oregon topped that, though. Squarely in the bubble mix, the Ducks got boat-raced at home by a California team missing its best player for the remainder of the season. Oregon gave up a 24-0 run early in the first half and trailed by double-digits for the entire final 29 minutes.
To me, the difference is that Oregon still has more to play for in the regular season. Washington State is all but eliminated from at-large contention, while Oregon is still lurking (albeit on the wrong side of the discussion).
Game-planning against Oregon’s changing defenses on a short turnaround is quite difficult, though. Dana Altman has earned that reputation through numerous NCAA Tournament runs. Washington State should have a similar problem.
The key is competing on the defensive glass. Statistically, Wazzu has an edge there, but Oregon has the personnel to battle. In a desperate home spot, the Ducks need to take away second-shot opportunities from the towering Cougars.
The market was also wise to this one, taking the Ducks from -3.5 up to -4.5/-5. I would not put this higher than -5, but given the matchup and circumstances, the Ducks should be the more motivated team.