NCAA Men’s Basketball Previews, Picks, and Predictions for Thursday, March 3

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NCAA Men’s Basketball Previews, Picks, and Predictions for Thursday, March 3
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Here is tonight's 3-pointer, college basketball betting advice on three NCAA men's games.

Penn State vs. Illinois

  • State Farm Center, Champaign, Illinois
  • 7 p.m. ET Tip

The Penn State Nittany Lions will look to bounce back after a tough loss when they travel to take on No. 20 Illinois Fighting Illini tonight.

The Nittany Lions lost to the Nebraska Cornhuskers by a 90-73 final score and were priced as 10.5-point favorites.

Situational Betting Angle

In case you wanted to know, double-digit road underdogs that lost to the spread as a favorite by 25 or more points (Penn State lost to the spread by 27.5 points) are 31-20 against the spread for 61% winning bets since the start of the 2016 season.

The Nittany Lions upset bid might not be in the offing as these teams have gone just 4-27 straight up since 2016.

Trends and Angles Supporting Penn State

The Nittany Lions are 2-1 against the spread this season, 11-4 against the spread the past three seasons, and 56-36 against the spread the past 25 seasons when facing an opponent that makes an average of eight or more 3-pointers.

The Illini are making an average of nine 3-pointers per game this season.

I am all over Penn State a as a double-digit road underdog.

Iowa vs. Michigan

  • Crisler Center, Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • 9 p.m. ET Tip

Keegan Murray and the surging Iowa Hawkeyes will look to take down the Michigan Wolverines in Ann Arbor tonight.

The Hawkeyes have won four consecutive games and covered the spread in three of those. They also have lost just once and lost twice to the spread in the past eight games. They are simply the most efficient offense in the country, even better than Gonzaga right now.

Murray Now Has a Supporting Cast

Murray is one of the most prolific scorers in the nation, ranking fourth with a 23.3 points per game average.

Bryant University’s Peter Kiss, who is averaging 25.08 points per game, Liberty’s Darius McGhee, who averages 24.68 points per game and Detroit Mercy’s Antoine Davis, who averages 24.19 points per game, are ahead of Murray.

Murray at forward and Illinois center Kofi Cockburn, who is averaging 21.48 points per game, are the only players that do not play the guard position that are in the Top-10 in scoring.

NCAA Basketball’s Top 10 Scorers

Rank PlayerTeam Pos. Avg.
1 Peter Kiss Bryant G 25.08
2 Darius McGhee Liberty G 24.68
3 Antoine Davis Detroit Mercy G 24.19
4 Keegan Murray Iowa F 23.32
5 Max Abmas Oral Roberts G 22.68
6 Javon Freeman-Liberty DePaul G 21.86
7 Bryce Hamilton UNLV G 21.67
8 Kofi Cockburn Illinois C 21.48
9 Terrell Brown, Jr. Washington G 21.46
10 Ty Gordon Nichols State G 21.08

Trends and Angles Supporting Iowa

Situational coaching trends are extremely valuable to any professional sports bettor this time of the season.

Iowa coach Fran McCaffery is 22-10 against the spread following a game in which his Hawkeyes out-rebounded the opponent by 15 or more.

His Hawkeyes are also 24-8 against the spread revenging a loss in which they were favored.

I am on Iowa tonight in Ann Arbor.

TCU vs. Kansas

  • Allen Fieldhouse, Lawrence, Kansas
  • 8 p.m. ET Tip

The Kansas Jayhawks will look to end a rare two-game losing streak when they play host to the TCU Horned Frogs tonight.

The Jayhawks have lost back-to-back games by double digits for the first time since coach Bill Self’s first season at Kansas in 2003.

The Horned Frogs are building momentum heading into the Big-12 Conference Tournament and are coming off back-to-back wins installed as underdogs over Texas Tech and these same Jayhawks just two days ago.

Situational Angles

Teams that are ranked in the Top-10 of the polls and are coming off back-to-back double-digit losses and playing at home have earned a 30-11 record and a 24-16-1 against the spread mark over the past 10 seasons.

Drilling through the data and retrieving only home favorites off two double-digit losses reveals a 19-5 record and 15-8-1 mark against the spread, good for 65.2% winning bets.

If you wanted to know about games only played in March, those Top 10 teams are 6-2 straight-up and against the spread.

I am betting Kansas minus the points.

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John Ryan

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