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Best College Basketball Bets Today | NCAAB Picks December 12

Written by: Andrew Norton
Published December 12, 2023
11 min read
Best College Basketball Bets Today December 12

This Tuesday’s college basketball slate features two teams who have had rough starts to the 2023-24 season: No. 12 Tennessee and No. 21 Duke. Both teams have three losses and have stumbled in the AP Poll since the preseason rankings came out. Check out our best college basketball picks today to see if these two teams can start the process of turning their respective seasons around!

Hofstra @ No. 21 Duke

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PICK: Hofstra +15 (-110)

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Any time that Duke starts 6-3, no matter the opponents, it is concerning; the Blue Devils have already suffered losses at the hands of No. 1 Arizona, Arkansas, and Georgia Tech. One of those losses is justifiable (Arizona), while another is not ideal (Arkansas), but was still against a tough, hungry team in a hostile environment.

However, the recent loss on December 2nd against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, a team that ranks 126th in KenPom’s adjEM (AFTER the win against the Blue Devils), is beyond horrendous; it is inexcusable. The Yellow Jackets are fresh off a season where they finished 15-18, including a morbid 6-14 record in the ACC, which placed them ahead of only Notre Dame and Louisville. Yikes.

Despite the fact that the Blue Devils returned most of their key players from last season, including Tyrese Proctor, Mark Mitchell, Kyle Filipowski, and Jeremy Roach, and brought in highly-touted recruits like Jared McCain, Caleb Foster, T.J. Power, and Sean Stewart, they have struggled. After being one of the top-ranked teams in the preseason, Duke has since fallen to No. 21 in the AP Poll and No. 17 in KenPom’s adjEM.

Meanwhile, Hofstra is 6-3 and ranks 101st in KenPom’s adjEM; the Pride are 80th in adjusted offensive efficiency, 28th in three-point rate, 41st in 3P% (37.9%), 24th in 3PAs, and 82nd in points per game. Hofstra is led by Tyler Thomas (23.6 ppg) and Darlinstone Dubar (17.7 ppg), two elite scorers who can put up points in bunches, as evidenced by Thomas’s last outing (29 points against Saint Louis). As far as playmakers, Jaquan Carlos runs the show, averaging 6.8 assists per game, which ranks 25th in the nation. Few guards can find an open teammate like Carlos.

So, can the Blue Devils hold off a Hofstra team that had won five consecutive games before dropping a narrow three-point road game against Saint Louis?

Hofstra is a competitive team, capable of efficient offense and superb three-point shooting, while also controlling the pace of the game to its liking. Duke has not had a strong three-point defense so far this season (98th in opponent 3P%), which could allow the Pride to hang around, even in Cameron Indoor. Take the Pride +15; that is a lot of points for a team that could make the NCAA Tournament in March.

Georgia Southern @ No. 12 Tennessee

Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook.

PICK: Tennessee -31.5 (-110)

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As alluded to above, Tennessee’s first several weeks of the 2023-24 regular season have been a bit underwhelming, especially considering the fact that it returned a number of key players (Zakai Zeigler, Josiah-Jordan James, Jonas Aidoo, and Santiago Vescovi), as well as brought in who has turned out to be possibly the best transfer portal player this year in Dalton Knecht (19.2 ppg). Jordan Gainey (10.3 ppg) has also been a huge transfer addition to this team on the offensive end of the floor. 

The Volunteers have dropped three games, but have been against excellent teams, including No. 9 North Carolina, No. 2 Kansas, and No. 3 Purdue. The loss to the Tar Heels was on the road, while Kansas and Purdue won on neutral courts; Tennessee hasn’t been getting “punked” by any stretch of the imagination.

Currently, Tennessee ranks ninth in KenPom’s adjEM, which includes the fifth-best defense in the nation. Before giving up 100 points to North Carolina and 79 points to Illinois, the Volunteers boasted the country’s best defense; they still have allowed merely 39.2% shooting from the field to opponents and 30.6% from deep.

Meanwhile, Georgia Southern has one of the worst defenses in the nation, ranking 342nd out of 362 teams in adjusted defensive efficiency. The Eagles allow opponents to score 82.3 points (338th) and shoot an effective field goal percentage of 56.1% (340th). Further, they are 0-9 and lost in an exhibition game to a D-II school: Augusta. While the Jaguars are a decorated program at that level, they would struggle mightily against Tennessee’s stout defense.

Will Tennessee cover 31.5 points, though?

The Volunteers should have no issues covering this spread; they might even get close to covering it in the first half of play. Tennessee doesn’t allow second-chance points (nearly 77% defensive rebounding rate against mostly high-quality opponents) and defends the three-point line well enough to mitigate the only relative strength that the Eagles possess on that end of the floor. This should be a blowout, so back the Vols.

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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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