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Best College Basketball Bets Today | NCAAB Picks January 16

Written by: Andrew Norton
Published January 16, 2024
7 min read
Best College Basketball Bets Today January 16

One of the biggest rivalries in college basketball is back with another chapter, as the Purdue Boilermakers will make the short drive due south to Bloomington for a matchup with the Indiana Hoosiers. Last season, the Hoosiers won both battles against Purdue, one on the road and one at home. Purdue will want to flip the script this year!

Additionally, the Iowa State Cyclones and BYU Cougars have a top-25 matchup scheduled, which has become a regular in the Big 12, one of the most elite conferences in the nation. Find our best college basketball picks for the January 16 slate below, including a breakdown of each team and game!

No. 2 Purdue @ Indiana

Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook. Bet $5 and get $200 in Bonus Bets at DraftKings!

PICK: Indiana +9 (-108) at DraftKings

As mentioned above, the Indiana Hoosiers got the best of the Purdue Boilermakers in both of their Big Ten matchups last season; however, things look a lot different for Indiana right now. And Purdue only improved from last year to this year. The Boilermakers returned six of their top seven players from last season’s squad: Trey Kaufman-Renn, Fletcher Loyer, Braden Smith, Mason Gillis, Zach Edey, and Caleb Furst. 

While Edey, 7-foor-4 center and reigning Wooden Award winner, is the most notable returnee, the Boilermakers also have their starting backcourt back with Loyer and Smith, a duo that has stepped up in a big way during their sophomore seasons. They are averaging roughly a combined 23 points, eight rebounds, and nine assists. 

Besides the improvement of Loyer, Smith, and the rest of the supporting cast for Purdue, the Boilers also snagged senior transfer guard Lance Jones (11.3 PPG, 2.5 RPG, 2.5 APG) and signed electrifying freshman Myles Colvin. Colvin has not cracked the rotation as much yet (9.9 minutes per game), but very well could be a contributor by the end of the season.

Meanwhile, Indiana has struggled in the 2023-24 campaign despite boasting a 12-5 overall record. The Hoosiers don’t have many “bad losses,” as No. 1 UConn, No. 13 Auburn, and No. 3 Kansas make up three of their five blips; however, they have dropped road games to Nebraska and Rutgers. Not ideal.

To be fair, the Hoosiers have plenty of excuses. They lost four of their top five players from their 2022-23 squad, including Miller Kopp, Jalen Hood-Schifino, Trayce Jackson-Davis, and Race Thompson. 

Further, their only returning starter, Xavier Johnson, has missed right around half of this season due to a re-injury of his foot, which kept him out most of last season, too. Even when Johnson has played, he has not quite looked like himself.

The Hoosiers have had to lean heavily on their other two key returners, Trey Galloway and Malik Reneau, to keep them competitive this season. Also, former five-star center, consensus future first-round draft pick Kel’el Ware, and freshman forward Mackenzie Mgbako have been vital to this squad.

Can the Hoosiers extend their winning streak against Purdue to three games, or will the Boilermakers spoil the fun in Bloomington and leave victorious?

There are a few major concerns for the Hoosiers entering this game. First, they have been an absolute atrocity on the defensive glass this season despite having a frontcourt that features a 7-footer in Ware, a 6-foot-9 power forward in Reneau, and a 6-foot-8 small forward in Mgbako. 

As a matter of fact, Indiana ranks 271st in the nation in opponent offensive rebounds per game. It gets worse. The Hoosiers rank second-to-last in the entire nation in opponent offensive rebounds per game in their past three games (361st out of 362 teams.) Their opponents in that stretch? Minnesota, Rutgers, and Ohio State. None of those teams rank in the top 45 in the nation, per KenPom’s adjusted efficiency margin. Further, two of them ranked in the 90s.

Making matters worse for the Hoosiers, Purdue ranks 16th in the nation in offensive rebounding percentage behind Zach Edey, one of the most dominant forces in college basketball. Indiana has the height to be a strong rebounding team, but discipline and physicality are constant issues with this team. No one can say the same about the Boilermakers.

But the bottom line is this: Indiana has a history of playing well at home, including this season. The Hoosiers are 10-1 in Assembly Hall this season, including a narrow four-point loss to the now-No. 3 Kansas Jayhawks; they should have won that game but blew it. Kansas has a dominant big man in 7-foot-1 Hunter Dickinson, and while he had a strong game (17 points and 14 rebounds), it took him 17 field goal attempts to get there.

Indiana has also held opponents to the ninth-lowest 3P% in the country over its past three games, which is a positive sign against a team (Purdue) that shoots the lights out (39.8% as a team.) If you can find this line at 9.5 or ten points, back the Hoosiers. Blowing them out in Assembly Hall will be extremely challenging, especially in a rivalry game.

No. 24 Iowa State @ No. 20 BYU

Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook. Head over to DraftKings Sportsbook to place your bets.

PICK: BYU -3.5 (-110) at DraftKings

Iowa State and BYU might be ranked 24th and 20th, respectively; however, the Cyclones (12th) and Cougars (11th) rank much higher than that in KenPom’s adjusted efficiency margin, which is oftentimes a better indicator of a team’s overall standing. 

Iowa State has turned its program around quickly after a 2-22 season in 2021, including a 0-18 record in conference play. The Cyclones had one of the fastest turnarounds imaginable as they made the NCAA Tournament the following year!

The Cyclones are back on track, boasting a 13-3 overall record and a 2-1 record in the Big 12, despite losing some huge contributors from the 2022-23 squad. Iowa State returned Tamin Lipsey, Tre King, Robert Jones, and Hason Ward but lost its top four scorers. Luckily, Lipsey has stepped up in a major way for the Cyclones, while they were also able to bring in sharpshooting freshman forward Milan Momcilovic and talented UNLV guard transfer Keshon Gilbert to fill in offensive gaps.

However, Iowa State does not make its living on the offensive side of the floor but, rather, on the defensive side. The Cyclones rank second in KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency metric in the nation, behind only Houston. Further, they hold opponents to just 38.2% shooting from the field and 32.8% from behind the arc, while also ranking first in the nation in steals per game.

Meanwhile, BYU has had great moments this season, but has dropped two of its past three games, including at home against Cincinnati and on the road against No. 9 Baylor. Still, they are undeniably talented team, boasting a top-25 offense (23rd) and defense (seventh) per KenPom’s adjO and adjD metrics.

The Cougars brought back several players from last season’s team, including Jaxson Robinson, Spencer Johnson, Noah Waterman, Richie Saunders, Dallin Hall, Fousseyni Traore, Atiki Ally Atiki, and Trey Stewart; they have exceptional chemistry together and it is evident on both ends of the floor. 

BYU’s biggest strength is in its rebounding, where it ranks first in the nation in defensive rebounding percentage and 41st in offensive rebounding percentage. On its home floor, the offensive rebounding percentage leaps two percent, which would rank it in the top 15 nationally if maintained on the road and in neutral venues.

The Cougars also shoot the three particularly well, knocking down 37% of their attempts on the season. 

Despite Iowa State’s stout defense, the Cyclones have not defended the three-point line very well, especially on the road (38.7%.) Even if BYU doesn’t shoot that well, it is difficult to see the Cyclones keeping up with a team that averages the ninth-most points per game overall and on their home floor. They simply don’t have the offensive firepower.

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Andrew Norton

Sports Betting Analyst

Betting Picks
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.
Nationality: American
Education: Bachelor of Arts
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