College Basketball Best Bets, Feb. 3: Houston vs Kansas, North Carolina vs Duke, and More!

Vaughn Dalzell shares his Saturday College Basketball card, including top 10 matchups between Houston and Kansas, plus Duke and North Carolina.

Houston (-2.5) at Kansas: O/U 133.5

Kansas is 11-0 at home this season and won 15 straight, so the environment will be a challenging one for a Houston team that is still navigating its way around the Big 12.

Houston is shooting 46% from two in Big 12 road games (11th), 70.6% from the free-throw line (6th), and struggled for more than half of its first halves at TCU, Iowa State, BYU, and Texas. Houston lost to TCU and Iowa State, went to OT with Texas, and won at BYU in its cleanest road win, although there were moments of doubt.

I like Houston long-term, but this is a better spot for Kansas. The Jayhawks handled Oklahoma State on Tuesday, while Houston went to OT with Texas on the road, so both teams are also well-rested entering this game.

To beat Houston, not only do you have to match them defensively, you have to knock down threes and free throws. Kansas shoots 41% from deep at home (24th) on the season and 36.1% in Big 12 home games (6th in conference) with a 78% mark from the free-throw line (28th nationally, 2nd in Big 12).

I grabbed Kansas at +2.5 and -112 odds. I would go down to the ML. I think they close as -1 or -1.5 favorites. Sprinkle some Kansas Big 12 Champ as +600 too.

Pick: Kansas +2.5 (1.5u)

Duke at North Carolina (-4.5): O/U 151.0

Both these teams enter 10-1 in their last 11 games, but UNC is coming off a 74-73 road loss to Georgia Tech, while Duke's won three-consecutive.

These squads match up well per usual, entering with tall, athletic, and well-coached teams. Duke is the better shooting team from deep and forces more turnovers, while UNC is the better rebounding and defensive team.

Duke has the No. 1 adjusted offensive efficiency in the conference and 9th overall in the country compared to UNC who is 19th in offense (4th in ACC) and 4th nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency. This should be another close game.

The Blue Devils have won four straight on the road all by eight or more points this season. Last year, Duke won both meetings versus North Carolina, plus the Blue Devils won two straight and three of the past four at North Carolina.

I played Duke at +4.5 at -115 odds and would go down to +4. I like the chances the Blue Devils win, but will take the points.

Pick: Duke +4.5 (1u)

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Tennessee (-1.5) at Kentucky: O/U 160.0

Both Kentucky and Tennessee enter this SEC matchup coming off home losses, which sets up a ton of hype for this game.

Kentucky has not lost back-to-back games all season, while Tennessee had a three-game losing streak back in November, but those opponents were Purdue, Kansas, and North Carolina -- arguably the toughest three-game stretch for any team this year.

The Vols do have the No. 1 ranked two-point offense in the country over their five true road games (61.8%), but the problem is the defense forces 6% fewer turnovers on the road compared to home, which is something you need against a Kentucky team that is 19th in the country with a 12.8% turnover percentage at home.

Kentucky did not have DJ Wagner (ankle) or Justin Edwards (knee) in the loss to Florida, which was unexpected. John Calipari is unsure if either will play, but Wagner is more important as they have lost two of the four games he sat out.

If Wagner is in, give me Kentucky at home. Kentucky hasn't lost back-to-back home games since 2021 and are 18-4 at home in SEC play since the start of 2022. I will wait for the news, but I don't blame anyone for taking the Wildcats +1.5 at -110 odds on DraftKings now before they are favored.

Pick: Kentucky +1.5 (1u) if DJ Wagner is in

Maryland at Michigan State (-6.5): O/U 130.5

Maryland is one of the hottest teams in the Big Ten after a 2-0 week with wins over Iowa and Nebraska. However, the Terps have had a week off and are now on the road, so rust and road play will be factors.

The Terps are 0-5 in the last five meetings versus Michigan State and scored 59, 58, 72, 67, and 63 points for 63.8 points per game. Maryland's offense should struggle here, as it has in true road games all season.

Maryland owns a 28.8% offensive three-point percentage (301st) in seven true road games and averaged 62.5 points per game. That drops to 56.0 PPG in the four losses.

Michigan State is 4-1 in the past five games and held its opponents to 64.6 PPG during that span. In the four wins, all four opponents scored 66 or fewer points. In nine out of 11 home wins for MSU, opponents scored 62 points or less.

I played the Terps Team Total Under 62.5 at -125 odds and would go down to 60.5.

Pick: Maryland Team Total Under 62.5 (1u)

Penn State at Indiana (-5.5): O/U 150.5

Penn State has a 3-12 record at Indiana and lost six consecutive meetings versus the Hoosiers. However, Penn State is coming off a big road win at Rutgers (61-46), while Indiana beat Iowa at home (74-68), so both enter on a positive note.

Indiana is 11-2 at home this season compared to 2-6 on the road or neutral courts. The Hoosiers have held their opponents to 68 or fewer points in five of its last six home wins. In Big Ten home action (4-1 record), Indiana has a top-three defense that holds opponents to 24% from three (1st) and 45.9% from two-point range (3rd).

Penn State is 1-4 in true road games with a 27.9% offensive three-point percentage (317th) and bottom three offensive ranks across the board in the Big Ten. The Nittany Lions scored 71 or fewer points during regulation in four of five road games this year.

I played the Penn State Team Total Under 72.5 at -110 odds. I'd go down to 70.5.

Pick: Penn State Team Total Under 72.5 (1u)

Season Record: 23-20 (53.4%) +0.58u

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