Feast Week technically started last week with the tip-off of the Legends Classic in New York.
However, Monday of Thanksgiving week feels like the right time to welcome in the true festivities, including tournaments like the Maui Invitational and Battle 4 Atlantis, among others.
To get you in the holiday spirit, Jim Root of Three Man Weave has your first serving of best bets this week, as he provides three for Monday’s slate of games.
Dive in below and stick with us here at The Action Network for everything college hoops this week.
Three Man Weave’s Monday College Basketball Best Bets
The team logos in the table below represent each of the matchups that Jim is targeting from Monday’s slate of games. Click the team logos for one the matchups below to navigate to a specific bet discussed in this article.
Northern Kentucky vs. Florida Gulf Coast
By Jim Root
Feast Week brings plenty of unfamiliar matchups, and this one certainly qualifies.
The ASUN’s Florida Gulf Coast Eagles meet the Horizon’s Northern Kentucky Norse in Estero, Florida. (For those curious, that’s about 10 minutes from FGCU’s campus).
Northern Kentucky is an extremely tricky opponent for unfamiliar foes. The Norse play has a funky matchup zone that morphs to the offense’s shape. The rules of that zone are hard to decipher — even for the players who run it — so opponents frequently struggle to unlock it.
That leads to long possessions and bad shots.
Offensively, NKU is among the most deliberate teams in the country, as well. The Norse rank 341st in average possession length this season, displaying just how patient they tend to be.
Several playmakers work the ball around the perimeter while probing for the best shot possible.
NKU lacks a back-to-the-basket scorer (Chris Brandon is strictly a rebounding monster), so the Norse are relieving on drives to get easy buckets. FGCU does not have a terrifying shot-blocker, but Andre Weir, Dakota Rivers and Zach Anderson have plenty of size.
Finishing inside against that group will be a challenge for the NKU guards.
This wager is primarily tempo-based. Should one team (or both) get inordinately hot from the perimeter, the under will be in trouble. But NKU’s zone is difficult to solve, and FGCU has an army of athletes to frustrate the Norse’s offense.
That combination bodes well for the under.
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Omaha vs. Iowa
By Jim Root
We are heading back to one of my favorite wells: Fran McCaffery as a big home favorite in non-conference play.
The numbers are staggering. For his career, McCaffery is 43-14-2 as a favorite of 10 or more in November and December. That’s more than a trend, that’s a career-long mission.
It makes sense. The best favorites are lethal offensively and capable of huge runs on lesser opponents. They also play fast, amplifying the number of possessions over which the talent gap can bear out.
Iowa fits both descriptions perfectly.
Always an offensive juggernaut, this particular version of the Hawkeyes is as lethal as any McCaffery has had. Kris Murray has fully blossomed without his twin brother. The lefty looks like an All-American and is fresh off of a 29-point, 11-rebound masterpiece against Seton Hall.
He’s not the only weapon, though. Patrick McCaffery has become a multifaceted forward, canning 3s and creating off of the bounce despite standing at 6-foot-9.
Tony Perkins has quickly erased any questions at point guard as he sports an assist-to-turnover ratio of 5.3 to 1.
Payton Sandfort and Filip Rebraca are hyper-efficient complementary threats.
The one risk here is Omaha may try to slow the pace. Under new coach Chris Crutchfield, the Mavericks have gone from 50th in Adjusted Tempo last year to 170th this year (KenPom).
Crutchfield knows his team can’t run with Iowa. Of course, with the way this edition of Iowa attacks on both ends of the floor, that decision may be out of Crutchfield’s control.
Final note: McCaffery is also 31-14 ATS in first halves in this scenario. It’s probably also worth wagering on the first stanza.
Cal Baptist vs. Minnesota
By Jim Root
The Big Ten has been a juggernaut in non-conference play. As of writing, the league is 31-21-2 against the spread. Even better, the conference is 45-7 overall.
Minnesota hasn’t been one of the success stories, though. The Gophers possess one of those seven losses (home to DePaul) and are just 1-3 against the spread. Early returns place them in the league’s bottom tier.
An important note, though: they haven’t been at full strength. Jamison Battle, the team’s leading scorer last year, has yet to take the court due to a foot injury.
Without him, the young roster lacks offensive pop.
Dawson Garcia, formerly of UNC and Marquette, is a versatile scorer, but Battle’s deep range and ability to shoot over defenders is irreplaceable.
Battle is being called a game-time decision for this one. If he plays—even on a minutes limit—this number is a bargain for the Gophers. Even if he doesn’t play, the Gophers are capable of winning this game.
Cal Baptist, meanwhile, has been extremely up and down. A 15-point home loss to Long Beach State on opening day tempered some of the preseason enthusiasm.
Since that game, the Lancers have righted the ship, capped by a road victory at Washington last Thursday.
The Lancers are talented, most notably with pro prospect Taran Armstrong at point guard. They struggle athletically, though, and Battle and Garcia should dominate their individual matchups.
The Gophers aren’t a typical Big Ten squad of elite athletes, but they do outclass Cal Baptist’s group in that regard.
This line may move around as speculation around Battle’s status moves through the airwaves.
I am happy getting the Gophers as a slight underdog.