Home | News | Top NCAAB Betting Picks of the Week – February 19th, 2024

Top NCAAB Betting Picks of the Week – February 19th, 2024

By Hank Blaine

St. John’s hired Hall of Fame coach Rick Pitino last year to great fanfare, but the season has been a disappointment for the Johnnies as they blew a 19-point lead to lose 68-62 to fellow bubble team Seton Hall last time out, falling to 14-12 overall and 6-9 in the Big East, which places them in ninth place. There will be no NCAA Tournament for St. John’s barring an unlikely run to the Big East Tournament title. Here are two intriguing early-week matchups around the nation.

Top NCAAB Betting Picks of the Week (February 19th, 2024)

Baylor Bears vs. BYU Cougars

  • When: Tuesday, February 20th, 2024, 9:00 PM ET
  • Where: Marriott Center, Provo, UT
  • TV: ESPN
  • Radio: KRZI 1660 AM (Baylor) // KUMT 107.9 FM (BYU)
  • Live Stream: ESPN+
  • NCAAB Betting Odds: TBA

Baylor (19-6, 8-4 Big 12) still has a shot to win the Big 12 regular-season title but can’t really afford a loss in its first-ever visit to Provo for a league game. The Bears come off a 94-81 win at West Virginia on Saturday, their fifth win in the past six games. The 12th-ranked Bears shot 54% from the floor and took advantage of a Mountaineer defense that had given up 86, 94 and 81 points in their last three losses to BYU, Texas and TCU. Baylor scored on 63.1% of its 65 offensive possessions, turned 14 Mountaineer turnovers into 20 points and made 12 from behind the 3-point arc. The Bears’ largest lead was 22, 71-49, with 10:51 left in the game.

West Virginia rallied late to cut Baylor’s lead to nine, 89-80, on RaeQuan Battle’s 3, but the Bears took care of things at the free throw line. Baylor’s final 15 points of the game came at the line; the last field goal was Ja’Kobe Walter’s 3 with 6:21 to go. Six players scored in double figures, led by the freshman Walter with 23 and VCU transfer Jayden Nunn with 20. Baylor won a tight rebounding battle, 27-25, and scored 22 second-chance points off nine offensive boards.

“It takes a team to win,” said Baylor coach Scott Drew, whose team has won six straight in this series and nine of the last 10. “If you’re going into a game and relying on one person, if they have an off night, you’re done. If the defense takes them away, you’re done. So, it’s great when you have balance, so when it’s not your night, you have people to pick you up.”

This will be a homecoming of sorts for Baylor’s Caleb Lohner. He’s a Texas native but played his final two prep seasons at Wasatch Academy in Mount Pleasant, Utah, and played two years at BYU, starting 44 games and averaging 7.0 points and 6.7 rebounds for the Cougars. Lohner played only three minutes in the Bears’ 81-72 win over BYU on Jan. 9 in their first conference home game in Foster Pavilion, but this is his first time back in Provo since transferring to Baylor after the 2021-22 season.

“Honestly, I do not know (what to expect),” said Lohner, who’s averaging 2.4 points and 2.4 rebounds for Baylor this season. “BYU has incredible fans, an incredible fanbase, but not quite sure how that’ll be approached yet, whether it’ll be signs or boos or what. But I’m hoping I left a good enough mark that I’m not getting things thrown at me.”

The Bears enter third in the nation in 3-point FG% (40.3), fifth in offensive efficiency (122.3) and second in the Big 12 in points per game (82.6).

BYU (18-7, 6-6) won’t win the Big 12 but is an NCAA Tournament team as things stand. The Cougars didn’t look all that sharp Saturday in a 93-83 loss at Oklahoma State as the Cowboys shot 50% from 3-point range (11 of 22) while limiting their opponent to 8-of-35 shooting from beyond the arc (22.9%).

Fousseyni Traore was one of four BYU players to score in double figures as the junior finished with a team-high 17 points, going 7-of-10 from the floor. Trevin Knell led all Cougar starters with 16 while Jaxson Robinson and Dallin Hall finished with 14 and 12, respectively. BYU outrebounded the Cowboys 36-30 including 18-6 on the offensive glass and scored 21 second-chance points to the host’s five. The Cougars also controlled points in the paint (38-36), fastbreak (20-12) and off the bench (39-8).

“We really didn’t have answers,” BYU coach Mark Pope said. “They were terrific sharing the ball. They were terrific shooting the ball, unbelievable. Jamyron Keller stepped into the starting lineup and took incredible advantage of that opportunity.”

NCAAB Betting Pick: BYU Cougars

Duke Blue Devils vs. Miami Hurricanes

  • When: Wednesday, February 21st, 2024, 7:00 PM ET
  • Where: Watsco Center, Coral Gables, FL
  • TV: ESPN
  • Radio: Double T 97.3 (Duke) // Buzz Sports Radio 99.3FM (Miami)
  • Live Stream: ESPN+
  • NCAAB Betting Odds: TBA

Duke (20-5, 11-3) is a half-game out of the ACC lead held by North Carolina. The Tar Heels currently hold the head-to-head tiebreaker but the teams close the regular season against one another. This is the only scheduled meeting with Miami, which was a preseason Top 15 team but on the wrong side of the NCAA Tournament bubble at 15-11 overall and 6-9 in the ACC.

The Hurricanes lost their fourth straight game Saturday, 85-77 at Boston College. Mason Madsen had a career night for the Eagles, finishing with 25 points and a seven 3-pointers – both career highs. Quinten Post added 23 points and six boards. It marked the third time this season the Eagles had two players score 20 or more points in the same game. BC finished with 15 three-pointers in a game for the first time since 2021.

Midway through the second half, Miami went on an 8-0 surge to gain a 64-59 advantage with just under 11 minutes remaining but BC took a 74-73 lead into the final three minutes of action. At the 2:13 mark, Madsen buried his 7th triple. BC did not surrender the lead for the remainder of the game. BC’s defensive corps held Miami to 1-of-8 to close the game.

Norchad Omier and Matthew Cleveland led the Hurricanes in scoring, pouring in 20 apiece for their 11th and fifth 20-point games of the season, respectively. As a team Miami shot 50 percent from 3-point range, knocking down 10-plus threes (13) for the 13th time this season. However, Boston College also shot 50 percent from beyond the arc (15-of-30).

“We played very well for 35 minutes and then made some critical defensive mistakes, missed some easy shots and missed some free throws, which is something we’re normally really good at,” head coach Jim Larrañaga said. “You have to give Boston College some credit. Quinten Post is very, very good and a hard match-up when he’s not only good in and around the basket but also hitting threes. We have to get back home and get ready for Wednesday.”

Omier is one of just two players nationally (Zach Edey – Purdue) to average 17+ points, 10+ rebounds and shoot 60 percent from the field. Omier is one of nine Division I players with 14+ double-doubles this season. The Hurricanes are 24-6 (.884) when Omier has a double-double since he joined the team (2022-23). Injuries have plagued the Hurricanes during ACC play this season as Miami has missed a starter in seven of 15 conference games. The Hurricanes are 2-5 in ACC games without a starter and 0-5 when playing on the road.

Duke won its fourth game in a row Saturday, 76-67 at Florida State. Jared McCain set a Duke freshman record with eight three-pointers, scoring 35 total points – that point total matched the Duke freshman scoring record, joining Zion Williamson, who scored 35 versus Syracuse on Jan. 14, 2019. McCain has made at least three 3-pointers in 10 games. Duke is now 9-1 in those games.

Duke held the lead (44-34) at halftime, the 18th such occurrence this season. The Blue Devils are now 18-0 in those games. Duke’s defense held Florida State to 67 points, 9.5 points below its season average of 76.5. The Blue Devils have held 22 of their 25 opponents to below their respective scoring average. Duke won the rebounding battle, 36-27, including a 15-7 edge on the offensive glass. The Blue Devils are now 15-0 when out-rebounding their opponent. The win secured Duke’s 58th 20-win season and 27th consecutive campaign with at least 20 triumphs (not including the COVID season).

Duke was 2-1 vs. Miami last season but was routed in south Florida, 81-59, as the Hurricanes never trailed. It was the second-biggest Miami victory margin in the series between the schools, topped only by the Hurricanes’ 90-63 win over then-No. 1 Duke on Jan. 23, 2013.

NCAAB Betting Pick: Miami Hurricanes

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