Today’s Top Picks: Three best bets for college basketball on a night to avoid the NBA ahead of trade deadline

With the NBA trade deadline on Thursday, I’m going to avoid betting on any NBA games tonight. You never know what’s going to happen, and with so many players possibly on the move, I don’t want to make a play only to have something significant change between now and tip-off.

Plus, trades that have already happened will have an impact we can’t truly predict yet. For instance, the Timberwolves and Hawks play on Wednesday night, and both were involved in a four-team trade on Tuesday night. Who the hell knows who will play in that game, and how it will look?

Thankfully, there’s plenty of college basketball on the slate tonight, so that’s where my focus will be. All while following trade rumors on Twitter. Odds via William Hill.

1. No. 17 Iowa at Purdue: Purdue -4

Iowa is coming off a big home win against Illinois over the weekend, but like a lot of Big Ten teams, it’s not the same team on the road as it is at home. While its offense travels well, the Hawkeyes go from allowing 66.3 points per game at home to 74.8 on the road. That helps explain why they’re 8-2-2 ATS at home and only 3-3 on the road. We see these same kinds of splits with Purdue, which is 7-4 ATS at home and only 1-6-1 on the road. A major reason for that is Purdue averages 75.4 points per game at home and 59.0 on the road. There’s a reason Purdue is favored here against a team most would consider to be better than it is. Go with the Boilermakers at home.

DFS millionaire Mike McClure saw multiple huge cashes again early in the 2019-20 NBA season and got 2020 off to a blistering start with his optimal lineup returning at least 7x on DraftKings on three of the first five days of the year. See tonight’s picks only at SportsLine. 

2. No. 21 Creighton at Providence: Providence -2

While Creighton’s offense has been spectacular in conference play, its defense has fallen off a bit. Big East opponents are shooting 49.7 percent against the Blue Jays inside the three-point line, which leaves Creighton’s defense ranked dead last in that category. Creighton is also one of the worst defensive rebounding teams in conference play, while Providence is the best on the offensive glass. So with Providence not being a great three-point shooting team, and with a rather significant size advantage helping on the boards, this is a game where I like the Friars.

The XFL kicks off its second iteration this weekend, and SportsLine pro football analyst R.J. White has looked at the matchups and come up with his picks for Dragons-Defenders, Wildcats-Roughnecks, Vipers-Guardians and BattleHawks-Renegades.

3. Wisconsin at Minnesota: Minnesota -3.5

Wisconsin recently lost Kobe King, as he announced he’s going to transfer. King has shown flashes of being able to take games over offensively, though he’s been inconsistent. Either way, he’s a significant part of Wisconsin’s rotation that it no longer has. Now it’s going on the road against a Minnesota team who’s only home loss in conference play came against Michigan State. The Gophers have beaten Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State in The Barn this season, and they’re probably going to beat Wisconsin too. The Badgers don’t have a lot of useful size behind Nate Reuvers, and I expect Reuvers — who can get himself in foul trouble — to have a difficult time stopping Minnesota’s Daniel Oturu.

SportsLine MMA analyst Kyle Marley is up more than $19.000 in the past year on his MMA selections, and he’s back with selections for Saturday’s UFC 247 card. Check out all Marley’s picks over at SportsLine.

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