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College basketball picks and best bets for January 18

There’s a few interesting college basketball games taking place this evening. Here’s who we like to bet on tonight.

Orange Bowl Basketball Classic - Florida State v South Florida Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

Happy Thursday everyone!

Tonight’s men’s college basketball slate is a bit on the lighter side as just three AP Top 25 teams will be taking the floor. We did get plenty of action last night and witnessed an upset in SEC play as LSU took down No. 22 Ole Miss at home. Oh, and Texas head coach Rodney Terry got angry over UCF players doing the horns down hand gesture following their game. Gotta have thicker skin after losses like that coach.

As for today’s action...

USF vs. Memphis odds from DraftKings Sportsbook

Spread: Memphis -10
Total: 158.5
Moneyline: Memphis -675, USF +490

No. 10 Memphis is rolling right along through AAC play, but has already had a handful of close calls in conference play. Games against Tulsa and SMU were decided by three points and last Wednesday’s victory over UTSA was decided in overtime. The Tigers finally dropped the hammer in a 112-86 smashing of Wichita State on Sunday, but could be facing a trap game tonight against...USF?

That’s correct! The Bulls have been feisty under first-year head coach Amir Abdur-Rahim and have been competitive in nearly every game they’ve played this season so far. They’ve been able to show some grit under adversity and that was evidenced when they erased a 12-point second-half deficit to defeat Rice 81-73 last Friday. With nearly a week prep for this showdown, I’d imagine they’ll be ready for this battle against a top 10 foe.

Something to note is that things haven’t been particularly easy for Memphis at FedExForum this season. The Tigers are 1-7 against the spread at home this year and tonight’s game may have a dead atmosphere with roads in Memphis iced over. Give me the Bulls to at least cover as a road underdog.

Pick: USF +10

UNC-Asheville vs. Winthrop odds from DraftKings Sportsbook

Spread: Winthrop -4
Total: 148.5
Moneyline: Winthrop -180, UNC-Asheville +150

The Big South has a pretty important game tipping off this evening with UNC-Asheville heading down to Rock Hill, SC, to meet Winthrop. Both teams currently sit near the top of the league standings and a win would set either up nicely as they dig deeper into conference play.

UNC-Asheville is 3-1 in Big South action so far, destroying USC Upstate on January 3 before picking up close wins against both Presbyterian and Longwood. The Bulldogs’ lone loss in league came against first-place High Point last Wednesday, coming up just short in an 84-79 setback. The team is just 1-5 on the road this season, so they’ll need to get over that hump if they want to remain a serious contender in the Big South.

Winthrop has been the masters of winning close games in conference play as three of its victories have come in overtime. The Eagles’ 92-88 win over Radford last Saturday actually went to three OT’s and they were able to make their free throws down the stretch of the final extra period to win. That ability to grind out close wins should come in handy for Mark Prosser’s squad moving forward.

A thing that could play a major in this contest is the free throw line. Winthrop ranks as the top team in the nation in free throw rate at 53% while UNC-Asheville ranks ninth at 44.8%. Their abilities to get to the line could create for a long game where both clubs can rack up easy points, so I’ll go with the over here.

Pick: Over 148.5