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Best College Basketball Bets Today | NCAAB Picks December 4

Written by: Andrew Norton
Published December 4, 2023
11 min read
Best College Basketball Bets Today December 4 2023

What better way to kick off the week than to watch the No. 1 team in the nation try to redeem themselves after a heartbreaking Big Ten road loss? Check out our best college basketball picks for today, featuring these two games: Iowa versus Purdue and Arkansas State against Alabama!

Iowa @ No. 1 Purdue

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PICK: Iowa +13 (-112)

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An 0-1 start to the Big Ten season after running through the Maui Invitational gauntlet was both unexpected and unfortunate for the Purdue Boilermakers. Purdue knocked off Gonzaga, Tennessee, and Marquette to bring home some early-season hardware. 

Unfortunately, Purdue had a “come back down to Earth” game against the Northwestern Wildcats, allowing Boo Buie, Ryan Langborg, and Ty Berry to combine for 72 of the team’s 91 points. Before the game, the Boilermakers were a top-five defense in the nation, per KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency metric; however, they dropped to ninth after their last game. Giving up 47% shooting from the floor and 50% shooting from behind the arc are not recipes for success.

That lackluster defense is not something that we have seen from Purdue all season; it has held some terrific offensive teams, like Marquette and Gonzaga, to reasonable offensive outputs. The Golden Eagles scored 75, while the Bulldogs scored merely 63 points, which has been their lowest-scoring game thus far in the 2023-24 season. 

Meanwhile, Iowa has a strong offensive attack (15th in adjusted offensive efficiency), featuring five players that average double-digit points: Ben Krikke (18.7 ppg), Payton Sandfort (14.3 ppg), Tony Perkins (12.9 ppg), Patrick McCaffery (12.0 ppg), and Owen Freeman (10.3 ppg).

The Hawkeyes average the seventh-most points per game (90.7) and have an effective field goal percentage of 54.6% (45th in the nation) and a three-point percentage of 35.6% (95th in the nation) as a team. What makes Iowa extremely effective on the offensive end of the floor, though is its ball protection; it commits just nine turnovers per game (11th in the nation).

Iowa’s three-point shooting isn’t what it has been in prior seasons and it isn’t going to get a lot of second-chance points against this Purdue frontcourt (80.1% defensive rebounding percentage, 15th in the nation), but the Hawkeyes won’t beat themselves.

Can Purdue bounce back or will the high-octane Iowa offense keep this game close?

Well, we now know that Purdue does bleed. The Boilermakers are an exceptional basketball team, but it is beyond challenging to beat another Big Ten team by 14 or more points, regardless of if it is a revenge game or not. It is one of the most competitive leagues in the nation.

For context, the Boilermakers played in 20 Big Ten regular season games last season and only won by 14 or more points in seven of those games. The teams? Minnesota (twice), Nebraska, Penn State, Michigan State, Ohio State, and Iowa. Four of those seven games were against the three-worst teams in the Big Ten last year.

The Hawkeyes won’t be world-beaters this season, but they do rank 37th in KenPom’s adjusted efficiency margin, including the 15th-best offense in the nation. Thirteen points feel like too many to give up to a team that played Creighton to eight points on the road. Further, this is a Big Ten game; any team can win on any day.

 Arkansas State @ No. 23 Alabama 

Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook.

PICK: Alabama -25 (-110)

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The losses of the second overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, Brandon Miller, as well as first-rounder Noah Clowney, crafty passer/finisher Jahvon Quinerly, big man Charles Bediako, and do-it-all guard Jaden Bradley, have taken a big hit on Alabama. This is not the same team that they were one season ago; however, they are still extremely dangerous.

The Crimson Tide return electric scoring guard Mark Sears, Rylan Griffen, and Nick Pringle, but, most importantly, landed highly-coveted transfer Grant Nelson, a 6-foot-11 unicorn forward who can shoot, dribble, pass, and defend at a high level. They also brought in an elite guard from Hofstra, Aaron Estrada, and a five-star freshman in Jarin Stevenson.

Alabama reloaded offensively and while Miller is irreplaceable, it still got fairly close to filling the loss of his output. Currently, this team ranks second in adjusted offensive efficiency, per KenPom; they shoot lights out from deep (40.7%) and from the field (50.9%), while also being one of the best offensive rebounding teams in the nation (36% offensive rebounding percentage).

The Crimson Tide have terrific size, with Nelson (6-foot-11), Stevenson (6-foot-11), and Mohamed Wague (6-foot-10) using their size and physicality to control the paint on both ends of the floor.

Meanwhile, it has been a tough 2-6 start for Arkansas State, as it has dropped games to Iowa, Wisconsin, Bowling Green, San Diego, Little Rock, and Jackson State. The Red Wolves lost to Wisconsin by 29 points, which is notable, because the Badgers are 15th in KenPom’s adjusted efficiency margin, while Alabama is 13th. They are the closest team to compare to the Crimson Tide and their elite offense.

Alabama is going to be a team on a mission after an eight-point loss to Clemson in their last home game. Expect them to crush the Red Wolves from the beginning.

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AUTHOR

Andrew Norton

117 Articles

Andrew has always been an avid sports fan and followed his hoop dreams all the way to college. He’s well-versed in everything betting with multiple years of experience and is qualitatively and quantitatively knowledgeable in sports statistics and analytics.

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