NCAA CBB Best Bets: Ending 2022 In Style With Conference Play

Dec 30, 2022
NCAA College Basketball Best Bets (December 31)

On the final day of 2022, college basketball bettors will be treated to a full slate of conference matchups. Ten different games have a Torvik Thill Score (TTQ) of 70 or higher, according to Bart Torvik, with the top three games being UConn-Xavier, West Virginia-Kansas State, and Baylor-Iowa State.

It is fitting that this is how we end the year, as the start of 2023 will feature conference contests on a nightly basis for two months as we rapidly make our way to the NCAA Tournament. Saturday is a good opportunity for college basketball teams to head into the new year with some momentum.

We will try to do that from a betting perspective, too, with this week’s bets.

Today’s CBB Best Bets (December 31)

UConn at Xavier Under 151.5 Points (-110, DraftKings)

Let’s start with the best game of the day, which is confirmed by a Saturday-best TTQ of 87 at Bart Torvik. You can’t argue with the numbers. This game should be a fun one with No. 2 UConn (14-0, 3-0 Big East) traveling to face No. 22 Xavier (11-3, 3-0) at 12 PM EST.

The Huskies want to prove they are the best team in the country and continue their perfect start in Big East play. The Musketeers want to insert themselves into this league race and earn their eighth consecutive victory in the process.

My best bet is on the total for this game, as the opening mark of 151.5 does seem a bit high. Xavier is 10-3-1 to the over this season, but UConn ranks fourth in adjusted defensive efficiency. The Huskies rank 142nd in pace and play through big man Adama Sanogo.

UConn being only a 2.5-point favorite might end up being the right side, but I prefer to play the under as my way of predicting that Dan Hurley’s squad should dictate this game. Give us a 75-71 road victory for the Huskies for good measure.

Risk: 1.1 units at DraftKings to win 1 unit. (Playable to 149.5)

Baylor (ML) at Iowa State (-114, FanDuel)

Prior to the season, I bet on the Baylor Bears to win the national title and thought they were the team to beat in the Big 12. The defense is playing worse than expected, ranking 40th in adjusted defensive efficiency. But that shouldn’t be a problem in the Big 12 opener against an Iowa State team ranked 131st in adjusted offensive efficiency.

Scott Drew’s squad has won five in a row entering this road test, a stretch that started with a 64-63 victory. The Bears (10-2) haven’t surrendered more than 63 points during this win streak and might produce better results on the defensive end in a conference that doesn’t feature a lot of offensive firepowers.

It might be a bit before we can start talking about the Bears in the national title conversation, but they are clearly in the mix to win a league crown once again. Even with LJ Cryer’s status uncertain due to a concussion, Baylor should start Big 12 play with a victory over an inferior opponent.

I’m playing the opening Moneyline at FanDuel, but will consider the spread if the line gets too juiced.

Risk: 1.14 units at FanDuel to win 1 unit. (Playable to -120)

West Virginia (ML) at Kansas State (-104, FanDuel)

Staying in the Big 12 and sticking with the Moneyline theme, I am fading the Kansas State Wildcats in their league opener. Kansas State was considered the worst team by the market entering the season, and still has the longest odds to win the league race following its 11-1 start to the season.

It will be interesting to see if KSU can win enough games to make the NCAA Tournament. This would have to be one of those wins, but in the spirit of sticking with preseason priors, I am betting against that.

West Virginia is 10-2 on the year and is 20th on KenPom entering league play. Bob Huggins’ squad has only lost to the likes of Purdue and Xavier, while picking up wins against UAB and Florida. With games against Kansas and Baylor looming, WVU needs to get off to a good start in league play against Kansas State and Oklahoma State.

While this is the second road team I’m betting on, it is worth pointing out that Kansas State’s football program will face Alabama in the Sugar Bowl earlier that day. I’d be surprised if Bramlage Coliseum is packed, so it is certainly a good time for the Mountaineers to come in there and steal a much-needed victory.

Risk: 1.04 units at FanDuel to win 1 unit. (Playable to -115)

For the most up-to-date picks check out my Twitter and subscribe to our Discord. This sheet from Dan Rivera tracks all my betting picks (and those from the rest of the betting staff) on the year. Just click on the tab with my name on it for the results.


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