Home | News | Top NCAAB Betting Picks of the Week – December 18th, 2023

Top NCAAB Betting Picks of the Week – December 18th, 2023

By Hank Blaine

An excellent University of Houston team got some bad news Saturday when guard Terrance Arceneaux suffered a torn Achilles in a win over Texas A&M. Arceneaux, a four-star recruit in the 2022 class, is averaging 6 points and 5 rebounds for the fourth-ranked Cougars. So it’s not overly devastating but obviously hurts the depth for Coach Kelvin Sampson. Here are two intriguing early-week matchups around college hoops.

Top NCAAB Betting Picks of the Week (December 18th, 2023)

Marquette Golden Eagles vs. Providence Friars

  • When: Tuesday, December 19th, 2023, 8:30 PM ET
  • Where: Amica Mutual Pavilion, Providence, RI
  • TV: FS1
  • Radio: 94.5 ESPN FM (Marquette) // WDOM 91.3 FM (Providence)
  • Live Stream: FOX Sports
  • NCAAB Betting Odds: Marquette (-4.5) // Providence (+4.5)

Good Big East matchup with a tip of 8:30 PM ET on Tuesday shown on Fox Sports 1. It’s the conference opener for both. No. 6 Marquette (9-2) nearly got caught in a lookahead game last Thursday when it escaped at home vs. St. Thomas (Minn.), 84-79 to close non-conference action. Datin to last season, Marquette has won 17 in a row at home, which is tied for the fourth-longest active streak in the country.

The Golden Eagles had five players in double figures for the first time this season, led by Oso Ighodoro who tied a season-high with 21 points on 7-of-10 shooting, his third 20-point game of the season. Ighodaro is shooting 67.4 percent from the floor for the season, which ranks him first in the Big East and sixth in the nation through games of Dec. 17.

All-American point guard Tyler Kolke had his first double-double of the season with 12 points and 10 assists. Kolek is on pace to become the fifth player (Tony Miller, Travis Diener, Dominic James and Aaron Hutchins) in school history with 1,000 career points (788) and 500 assists (523). Marquette had season-highs in free throws made (22) and free throw attempts (28) and had 19 assists on 27 field goals. It was only the third time this season Marquette was outshot by its opponent. St. Thomas was 52.7 percent from the floor compared to MU’s 50 percent.

The Golden Eagles’ non-conference slate was highlighted by a win over then No. 1 Kansas and a victory at now No. 13/11 Illinois.

Providence (9-2) wrapped up non-conference play with a 78-64 home win over Sacred Heart on Saturday. Junior Bryce Hopkins spearheaded the Friar offense with 26 points and 12 rebounds – it marked his fourth double-double of the season. Freshman Rich Barron had a strong game off the bench, scoring a career-high 14 points on a 4-for-6 effort from three-point territory.

Despite two Friars being out of the lineup with injuries (Devin Carter and Corey Floyd), Providence was able to outscore Sacred Heart, 47-34 in the second half, and 34-32 in the paint, 12-6 off second-chance baskets, 9-5 on fast breaks, and 15-14 in points off the bench. The Friars are 9-0 this season when scoring 71 or more points. They rank first in the Big East and ninth in the nation in blocked shots, averaging 6.4 bpg.

The all-time series between Marquette and Providence consists of 36 games with MU leading 22-14. The teams split the home-and-home series in 2022-23, with each team winning on its home court. The Friars outlasted Marquette, 103-98, in double overtime on Dec. 20, 2022, despite a career-high 29 points from Kolek. MU earned an 83-75 win on Jan. 18, 2023 at Fiserv Forum, with Kam Jones leading four players in double figures with 21 points.

NCAAB Betting Pick: Providence Friars

Baylor Bears vs. Duke Blue Devils

  • When: Wednesday, December 20th, 2023, 7:00 PM ET
  • Where: Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
  • TV: ESPN
  • Radio: 92.3 FM (Baylor) // WDNC 620 AM (Duke)
  • Live Stream: ESPN+
  • NCAAB Betting Odds: TBA

Neutral site game from Madison Square Garden in New York. No. 10 Baylor (9-1) comes off its first loss of the season as the Bears were shockingly blown out 88-64 on Saturday by a good but struggling Michigan State team also at a neutral site in Detroit. The Spartans had a breakout performance with a 30-point lead in the first half, looking like the team respected enough to be ranked No. 4 in preseason AP Top 25. MSU, which had gotten off to awful starts this season, led 22-5 midway through the first half and stayed in control the rest of the afternoon.

“We knew coming in, Michigan State’s a lot better than their record indicated,” Baylor coach Scott Drew said. “Coach Izzo is a Hall of Fame coach. They showed who they are, and who they’re going to be the rest of the year.”

Baylor started the game with six players averaging at least 10 points, but didn’t have a player in double digits until RayJ Dennis made a shot with 7:10 left in the game. Dennis finished with 11 points and Yves Missi had 11 points. Entering the game, the Bears ranked among college basketball’s best with 91.1 points per game by making 43.2% of 3-point attempts. Baylor was held well below its average in part because it shot 31.6% beyond the 3-point arc and had 21 turnovers.

Baylor still has won 15 of its past 17 neutral site games dating back a few years (3-1 this season). BU has posted a combined 195-38 record in November and December games during the Drew era, including a 121-16 mark in November and December games since 2013.

Going directly from Michigan to New York, Drew said the trip will be a great chance to “grow closer as a team before we all head home for Christmas break.” “You’re playing marquee teams, great venues, two NBA arenas,” Drew said. “This is what high school players dream of.”

The Bears are a national-best 27-11 vs. AP top-25 teams over the last four years, with 16 of those wins coming away from home.

Duke has been a moderate disappointment at 7-3 and comes off an 89-68 win over Hofstra last Tuesday. Sophomore Kyle Filipowski finished two assists shy of a triple-double, scoring a season-high 28 points while adding 12 rebounds. Filipowski is the first Blue Devil since at least the 2010-11 season to log a stat line of at least 28 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists and the only ACC player to do so in the same time span. Filipowski was joined in double-figures by Jeremy Roach, Mark Mitchell and Jared McCain, who scored 19, 14 and 13, respectively.

The Blue Devils shot 18-of-29 (.621) from the field in the first half – the best shooting clip by the Blue Devils in the first half this season, surpassing their 17-of-29 (.586) showing against Dartmouth in the season opener on Nov. 6. Duke’s defense held Hofstra to 68 points, 12.4 points below its season scoring average of 80.4. The Blue Devils have now held each of their ten opponents below their respective scoring average.

As a team, Duke held Hofstra to 0 second-chance points through the full 40 minutes. The Blue Devils have accomplished this feat three times through 10 games so far this season. The last time a Duke team did so prior to this year was at least the 2008-09 season. Through the last three games, Duke opponents have scored a total of four second-chance points.

On Monday, the official Duke basketball account hinted at “The Brotherhood” home jerseys making their season debut for Wednesday’s game – Duke technically is the home team. Last December marked the first and only time that the Blue Devils have donned “The Brotherhood” home jerseys (white with navy script) for a neutral-site matchup against a non-conference foe. And that 74-62 victory over Iowa was Duke’s most recent trip to Madison Square Garden.

The Blue Devils are 40-18 (.690) all-time at the current version of MSG and 75-28 (.728) all-time when playing in the greater NYC area. Duke and Baylor have met just once previously, a 78-71 win by the Blue Devils in the 2010 NCAA Tournament South Regional final at NRG Stadium in Houston. The win propelled Duke, led by current Coach Jon Scheyer — then a senior captain, who scored 20 points with four assists and five rebounds versus the Bears — to the program’s fourth of five national titles.

NCAAB Betting Pick: Duke Blue Devils

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