Jim Root's college basketball Wednesday best bets: Auburn gets back on track

The Auburn Tigers
Photo of Jim Root

Jim Root

NCAAB· 2 months ago

Show Bio

College basketball expert and member of the 3-man weave. Catch me on Pickswise giving you my NCAAB best bets!

Notre Dame Fighting Irish -4.5 over Syracuse Orange (-110)

Two lethal jump-shooting teams meet in South Bend on Wednesday, but one has a distinct matchup edge. Both Notre Dame and Syracuse rank in the top 40 nationally in 3-point percentage. The chief difference, though, is that the Irish defense makes a point to take away the 3-point line, whereas Syracuse’s 2-3 zone allows copious attempts from beyond the arc. Notre Dame ranks 79th nationally in defensive 3-point attempt rate, while Syracuse ranks 357th.

I would give you some statistics on how great Notre Dame is against zones, but teams are mostly too afraid to even bother trying them. Through 27 games the Irish have faced zone on just 29 possessions, per Synergy. For what it’s worth, they have scored 1.14 points per possession in that small sample — a truly scorching number. Head coach Mike Brey’s teams are built similarly year after year, so a quick peek at prior matchups with the Orange zone may be telling. In the last 3 meetings, Notre Dame has scored 1.05, 1.21, and 1.29 points per possession — largely with the same core of players. I expect more of the same here.

This Syracuse zone is especially vulnerable. Jesse Edwards — an intimidating rim protector — is out for the season, leaving the interior to Frank Anselem and Bourama Sidibe. Neither player is quite the force that Edwards was. Coupled with a lack of perimeter athletes, and it’s no shocker that this is by far head coach Jim Boeheim’s worst defense in the 26-year history of KenPom’s efficiency rankings.

Additionally, Notre Dame is still right in the thick of the NCAA at-large picture and the ACC title race (1 game back of Duke). The Orange have improved lately, winning 6 of their last 7 contests, but Notre Dame has tremendous incentive to secure a victory. Between the matchup edge and the extreme motivation, I’m happy to lay up to -5 with the Irish on Wednesday.

Be sure to check out our full game preview for Syracuse Orange vs Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Wake Forest Demon Deacons -1.5 over Clemson Tigers (-110)

Like Notre Dame against Syracuse, this is one ACC team with real at-large aspirations (Wake Forest) taking on another that has tumbled out of the picture (Clemson). The Demon Deacons are one of the best stories in college basketball. In head coach Steve Forbes’ second season, the Deacons have improved from 6-16 to 21-7. A talented group of transfers have stabilized the offense, and point guard Alondes Williams is the frontrunner for ACC Player of the Year.

At the other end of the court, Clemson has some issues. The versatile starting frontcourt of Hunter Tyson and PJ Hall gave foes trouble early in the year, but the Tigers could be without both in this one. Tyson is out with an injury and Hall is also banged up; he played just one minute before exiting on Saturday. Hall is officially questionable, but even if he does play he likely will not be close to 100 percent.

With such roster deficiencies, Clemson would like to rely on its home-court advantage. Traditionally, Littlejohn Coliseum is a tough place to play for ACC foes. That has not been the case this year, though, as the Tigers are just 2-5 straight up at home in league play (and 2-4-1 ATS). On top of that, Wake Forest has been terrific on the road. The Deacs are one of the best road ATS teams in the country, sitting at 7-2 so far with an average cover margin of +6.3 points per game. Hopefully the -1.5 line lingers, but with Clemson’s injury issues I expect it to move quickly. I would take Wake Forest up to -3.

Auburn Tigers -16 over Ole Miss Rebels (-110)

If you tuned into my best bets last week, you would know I love backing head coach Bruce Pearl’s squad at Auburn Arena. The Tigers went up by 20 against Vandy in the second half, and although they allowed the Commodores to push the closing number of -14, they did cover the -13 number that was available when my column was published.

Once again, I’m more than willing to lay a large number with Auburn at home. Following last week’s push, the Tigers are now 12-1-1 against the number at home. I still do not think the number has caught up with their dominance. This one has the added benefit of catching Auburn coming off a disappointing loss. The Tigers should be furious after dropping one in Gainesville this past Saturday, adding to the incentive to run the score up in this one.

Furthermore, Ole Miss has major roster concerns. Robert Allen and Daeshun Ruffin are out for the season, and key guards Jarkel Joiner and Matthew Murrell missed the Rebels’ game on Saturday with illness. Both Joiner and Murrell are expected back for this one, but there could be lingering effects from their bouts with the flu. I don’t want to go much higher than -16 (look what happened last week), but I’ll lay up to -17.

Be sure to check out our full game preview for Ole Miss Rebels vs Auburn Tigers

Loyola (Maryland) Greyhounds vs Navy Shipmen Under 120

A bonus quick-hitter from the extra board!

Both of these teams play incredibly slowly, ranking outside the top 300 in tempo. Additionally, both squads are far better defensively than offensively. Per KenPom, Navy ranks 314th in offensive efficiency but 39th in defensive efficiency; Loyola is 294th and 218th in offense and defense, respectively. Navy especially has been on an under binge. Here are the point totals from the Midshipmen’s last 7 games: 105, 101, 101, 112, 111 (against none other than Loyola), 125, and 92. All 7 of those games went under the game total.

I think that streak continues, and I would take this down to 118.

Make sure you read the rest of our picks for Wednesday’s big college basketball matchups!

Pickswise is the home of free College Basketball Picks and College Basketball Predictions. With top College Basketball picks available daily, including our College Basketball Best Bets.

Virginia Bonuses

See All
FanDuel Sportsbook

$150

Bet $5, Win $150 on either NYY or CWS to win the Sunday Night Baseball matchup (30-1 Odds)!

Sign up for a new account with FanDuel Sportsbook and make your first deposit

Place a $5 bet on the Yankees or White Sox to win the Sunday Night Baseball matchup

If your teams, get 30-1 odds and win $150!

Must be 21 years or over to participate. Reward paid in site credit. Offer valid for new players only. Full terms available at FanDuel Sportsbook.

PointsBet

$500

Get 5x $100 Risk-Free Bets!

Sign up for a new PointsBet account

Make a bet of up to $100 and receive a refund if you lose

Get this offer once a day for the first 5 days you sign up

Must be 21+. Full terms are available at PointsBet.

DraftKings

$200

Bet $5 on Any MLB Game, Get $200 if Your Team Wins!

Sign up for a new account with DraftKings Sportsbook and make your first deposit

Bet $5 on any MLB team to win their next game

Win $200 in free bets + any cash winnings from your original wager

Offer valid for new players only. Must be 21 years or older to play. Reward paid in site credit. Full terms available at DraftKings Sportsbook.

BetMGM

$200

Win $200 If ANY NBA Team Makes a 3-Pointer!

Sign up for a new account with BetMGM, and make a deposit of $10+.

Place a $10 moneyline bet on any upcoming NBA game.

Win $200 if either team in your selected game makes a 3-pointer

21+ and new players only. Full terms available at BetMGM Sportsbook.

DraftKings

$150

Bet $5 on any NBA team, Get $150 in Free Bets if they win!

Sign up for a new account with DraftKings Sportsbook and make your first deposit

Bet $5 on any team to win an NBA playoff game

Win $150 in free bets if your team wins

Offer valid for new players only. Must be 21 years or older to play. Reward paid in site credit. Full terms available at DraftKings Sportsbook.

BetMGM

$200

Win $200 If A Goal Is Scored In ANY NHL Game!

Sign up for a new account with BetMGM, and make a deposit of $10+.

Place a $10 moneyline bet on any upcoming NHL game.

Win $200 if either team in your selected game scores a goal

21+ and new players only. Full terms available at BetMGM Sportsbook.

PointsBet

$2,000

Get $2,000 in Risk-Free Bets!

Register for a new PointsBet account & deposit

Receive a free bet refund up to $500 if your first fixed odds bet loses

& a free bet refund up to $1,500 if your first two PointsBetting Wager loses

Must be 21+. Full terms are available at PointsBet.

Caesars Sportsbook

$1,100

Get up to $1,100 in First Bet Insurance!

Sign up for a new Caesars Sportsbook account

Make your first deposit of $50+

If your first bet is not a winner, get it all back as a free bet (up to $1,100) if you lose!

21+. Terms and conditions apply.

BetRivers

$250

Get a $250 Deposit Bonus!

Sign up for a new BetRivers account using promo code PICKSWISE

Make a deposit & get it doubled up to $250 total

To get a $100 bonus, deposit $100

Must be 21+. Play in IA Only. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-BETS OFF

Unibet

$500

Get a $500 Risk-Free Bet!

Register for a new Unibet account & make a deposit

Place your first bet up to $500 risk-free!

Get refunded up if you lose up to $500

New players only. Terms & conditions apply. 21+. VA only.

BetMGM

$1,000

Get a $1,000 Risk Free Bet!

Register for a new BetMGM & deposit

Place your first bet up to $1,000 risk-free!

Get refunded up if you lose up to $1,000

21+. Terms & conditions apply.

FanDuel Sportsbook

$1,000

Get a $1,000 Risk Free Bet!

Register for a new FanDuel Sportsbook account & deposit

Place your first bet up to $1,000 risk-free!

Get refunded up if you lose up to $1,000

21+. Terms & conditions apply.

DraftKings

$1,000

Get a $1,000 Deposit Bonus!

Register for a new DraftKings Sportsbook account & deposit

DraftKings will match 20% of your deposit up to $1,000 total

To get a $100 bonus, deposit $500

21+. Terms & conditions apply.

Monkey Knife Fight

$100

Claim 100% Instant Deposit Match up to $100!

Register for a Monkey Knife Fight account & deposit using promo code PICKSWISE100

Monkey Knife Fight will match your first deposit up to $100

Deposit $100 and you'll get $100 bonus + a free $5 game

18+. Terms and conditions apply. You must live in one of the states where real money DFS is legal.

Yahoo DFS

$25

Get $25 in Site Credit With Yahoo DFS When You Deposit $5!

Register for a new account with Yahoo DFS and deposit $5+

Enter a $5 DFS contest

Upon entry, you will receive a bonus $25 in credit into your account!

21+ and new players only. Full terms available from Yahoo DFS.

TVG

$300

Get a $300 Risk-Free Bet with TVG Racebook!

Register for a new TVG account and make a deposit

Place your first single horse win-type bet up to $300

If your horse doesn't win you'll get a refund up to $300

21+. T&C's apply. Please gamble responsibly.

TwinSpires

$200

Get a $200 Sign-Up Bonus with Twinspires Racebook!

Open your TwinSpires.com account using offer code BET200

$200 bonus cash will be credited in increments of $100 for every $400 wagered

To earn the full $200 bonus players must wager $800 within 30 days

21+. Terms and conditions apply.