3 Picks for Tuesday’s Early Games, Including Loyola Chicago vs. Saint Joe’s, Louisville vs. Boston College

There’s nothing quite like college basketball in the early afternoon. And there’s nothing like betting on it, either.

Our staff came through with three picks for Tuesday’s early conference tournament games: Loyola Chicago vs. Saint Joe’s, Georgia Tech vs. Florida State and Louisville vs. Boston College.

Read on for all three best bets, and be sure to check back for our late-game best bets as well.

Tuesday’s Early College Basketball Best Bets

The team logos in the table below represent each of the matchups that our college basketball staff is targeting from Tuesday’s early conference tournament games. Click the team logos for one of the matchups below to navigate to a specific bet discussed in this article.

Loyola Chicago vs. Saint Joe’s

By Scott Schaeffer

Loyola’s first year in the A-10 has been one it would like to forget. Drew Valentine led the Ramblers to the NCAA Tournament last season, which was his first year as head coach following Porter Moser’s departure.

The Ramblers won’t even sniff a bid in this transition year for the program. Loyola managed to finish in the cellar of the A-10 in its first year after leaving the Missouri Valley behind.

Maybe the most puzzling aspect of Loyola’s steep regression has been the declining play of guard Braden Norris. Norris has been integral to the success of the Ramblers in the past couple of years, including taking the primary ball-handling duties for a team that won the Missouri Valley last year. He has continued to fight, however, playing all 40 minutes in a win over La Salle in Loyola’s final regular-season contest.

The opponent for Loyola (the 15th seed) in this battle is the 10th-seeded St. Joe’s Hawks. Hawks head coach Billy Lange had a low bar to clear to improve the program he was inheriting in 2019, but he has steadily done so each year. After suffering four consecutive losses, St. Joe’s earned a resounding 83-67 victory in its regular-season finale against Richmond.

I think the Hawks are much more motivated to earn a victory and prove the validity of the supposed improvement of their program. The 10-20 Ramblers are likely eager to move past this shockingly terrible season.

Take the Hawks to win here and earn the opportunity to play 7-seed George Washington tomorrow.

Georgia Tech vs. Florida State

By Cooper Van Tatenhove

On paper, this is a lowly matchup between two of the bottom four teams in the ACC. However, there are a lot of reasons to believe we will get a very competitive game with two teams that believe they can play spoiler into the second round.

Georgia Tech, in particular, has been playing its best basketball of late, winning six of its last eight games, including an impressive win over an uber-talented Virginia Tech squad.

This high level of play from the Yellow Jackets down the stretch is shown in Georgia Tech improving the most in the Bayesian Performance Ratings over the last 30 days.

On the offensive end, Georgia Tech relies on its outside shooting in order to drive its offense. The Yellow Jackets rank fourth in the ACC in 3-point attempts, taking 42.1% of their total field goals from beyond the arc. This high volume of outside shots results in 38.7% of Georgia Tech’s points coming from the perimeter.

This outside shooting should be heavily emphasized against a Florida State defense that has been abysmal at defending the perimeter. The Seminoles rank dead last in 3-point percentage defense, allowing their opponents to shoot 40.15% from beyond the arc, 348th nationally.

As a result, Florida State is giving up 35.7% of its total points from 3-point range, the 35th-highest rate in all of college basketball.

On the other end, Florida State will look to create penetration and get to the basket in order to generate offense. Although the Yellow Jackets are giving up 54.2% of their points from 2-point range, they have been effective at defending the rim. Georgia Tech ranks 75th nationally in block percentage at 10.9%.

This ability to protect the rim will be critical against a Florida State offense ranking 60th nationally in near-proximity percentage, according to Haslametrics.

I like the idea of backing Josh Pastner and Georgia Tech in this spot as they have shown far more fight down the stretch in what has been a disappointing season for both teams.

Louisville vs. Boston College

By PJ Walsh

Recreational bettors enjoy college basketball conference tournaments.

It certainly pales in comparison to the handle that the NCAA Tournament will drive next week, but conference tournament season also signals college basketball public money season.

As more money rolls in from casual bettors this time of year, it sets the stage for disagreements among sharp and public bettors, and that’s exactly what we have for Louisville vs. Boston College on Tuesday afternoon.

By comparing the latest college basketball odds to Action Network’s public betting data, we can quickly see where the wiseguys are aligning on today’s ACC Tournament matchup.

Sixty-five percent of tickets wagered on the Louisville vs. Boston college total have hit the over thus far; however, this line has dropped from 136.5 to 135.5 due to pro bettors playing the under.

Action Labs’ Bet Signals are reporting that sharps steamed this under on Monday night, resulting in the market-wide adjustment to 135.5 even though the overwhelming majority of bettors are pounding the other side of the total.

Steam refers to sudden, uniform line movement across the market that is often the result of bettors with the respect and resources to move odds getting down on the same wager at multiple sportsbooks, all at once.

There’s still plenty of time for more action to come in this game, but it’s clear that sharp and recreational bettors are on opposite sides of the Louisville vs. Boston College over/under to this point.

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