College Basketball Best Bets: Picks, Odds & Predictions for Friday, December 8

College Basketball Best Bets: Picks, Odds & Predictions for Friday, December 8

This article is part of our College Basketball Picks series.

Most of the college hoops world is taking the night off on Friday, but we still have a few teams lined up to play. Here are today's picks.

Oakland at Eastern Michigan

Oakland enters Friday with a 5-5 record, but don't let the losses deceive you, this team knows how to ball. The Grizzlies have played the 21st-most difficult non-conference schedule in the country, per KenPom, so they're thoroughly battle-tested and even have a major quality win at Xavier. Oakland plays a balanced brand of basketball, ranking close to the D1 average in both offensive and defensive efficiency, with the former being slightly higher. This will come in handy against Friday's opponent, as Eastern Michigan has one of the worst defenses in the country, ranking No. 328 in efficiency.

The Eagles currently have a winning record at 5-3, but unlike their guests on Friday, they have only played two quality teams so far and they get crushed in both games, first losing 94-55 to Butler and then losing 100-57 to Florida Atlantic. The defense is a gigantic problem, as already noted, but the offense isn't much better. Eastern Michigan is ranked No. 244 in offensive efficiency, and its point totals against its two best opponents underscore the extreme challenges it faces when playing against better defensive teams.

When these two teams clash on Friday, the numbers project a turnover advantage for Oakland. The Grizzlies are above average in the turnover department on both ends of the court, while the Eagles are far below average in the same categories. A similar projection follows in the rebounding categories, which doesn't have the same stark difference as turnovers, but nonetheless, Oakland is better on the glass in both directions, so we can also reasonably expect the Grizzlies to have an edge in that area as well.

Based on Eastern Michigan's lackluster defense and Oakland's advantages in other key categories, I like the Grizzlies' odds of leaving Michigan with a victory. I'm taking Oakland in this matchup.

Additionally, both teams strongly prefer a slow game, ranking near the bottom of the country in adjusted offensive tempo. Oakland comes in at No. 312 and Eastern Michigan at No. 322 in offensive possession length, so it's hard to imagine these teams pushing the pace and causing a high-point total. I'm also taking the under in this game all things considered.

College Basketball Best Bet: Oakland -4.5 and Under 140

Illinois Chicago at Jacksonville State

Illinois Chicago isn't great at scoring, but that's okay because it has a strong defense. The Flames rank 60th in defensive efficiency among all D1 teams, but a closer look reveals it might be even better than it seems. Illinois Chicago is holding opponents to 23 percent from behind the arc, the second-lowest percentage allowed in the nation. When factoring in its great interior defense, Illinois Chicago is allowing the 15th-lowest effective field goal percentage, giving them a strong defensive presence all around. The Flames are also blocking shots at the 11th-highest rate in the country, which will come in handy on Friday because Jacksonville State has been vulnerable to blocks, ranking No. 199 in offensive block percentage. Illinois Chicago has a low efficiency rating on offense, but it still has decent shooting numbers, recording the 80th-highest effective field goal percentage. 

The Gamecocks have a similar style of play as Friday's opponent, as they are also much better on defense, although they rank at No. 143 in efficiency, not nearly as stout as the Flames'. On the other end of the court, Jacksonville State has comparable offensive efficiency numbers to Illinois Chicago, although its shooting numbers are not nearly as good. The Gamecocks are making 49 percent of shots inside the arc and under 31 percent from behind it, both numbers being below the D1 average. 

Based on the overall efficiency rankings and shooting numbers, it's hard for me not to favor Illinois Chicago in this matchup. The Flames rank higher in most offensive categories while also having a far superior defense. It's seldom easy winning on the road, but I'm going with Illinois Chicago in this one.

College Basketball Best Bet: Illinois Chicago +1.5

 

Friday College Basketball Best Bets:

Here's a recap of my best college basketball bets for Friday:

  • Oakland -4.5
  • Oakland at Eastern Michigan - Under 140
  • Illinois Chicago +1.5

For up-to-date information on the latest college basketball betting odds and props from multiple sportsbooks, check out the college basketball odds page on RotoWire.

ESPN BET is officially live as of November 2023. Sign up with the ESPN BET promo code ROTO for $250 in bonus bets!

RotoWire Community
Join Our Subscriber-Only College Basketball Chat
Chat with our writers and other RotoWire College Basketball fans for all the pre-game info and in-game banter.
Join The Discussion
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Steve Peralta
Graduated from USC in 2012 while interning for ESPN and FOX Sports. Following graduation, I started working full-time for FOX Sports and been there ever since. Been an avid fantasy player for over fifteen years. In addition to my fantasy teams, you'll also find me rooting for the USC Trojans and New York Yankees.
College Basketball Best Bets: Picks, Odds & Predictions for Sunday, February 25
College Basketball Best Bets: Picks, Odds & Predictions for Sunday, February 25
College Basketball Best Bets: Picks, Odds & Predictions for Saturday, February 24
College Basketball Best Bets: Picks, Odds & Predictions for Saturday, February 24
DFS College Basketball: PrizePicks Selections for Saturday, February 24
DFS College Basketball: PrizePicks Selections for Saturday, February 24
DFS College Basketball: Saturday Preview and Picks
DFS College Basketball: Saturday Preview and Picks
College Basketball Best Bets: Picks, Odds & Predictions for Friday, January 23
College Basketball Best Bets: Picks, Odds & Predictions for Friday, January 23
RotoWire Bracketology 3.0: Strength of Record Primer
RotoWire Bracketology 3.0: Strength of Record Primer