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Best College Basketball Bets Today | NCAAB Picks November 6

Written by: Andrew Norton
Published November 6, 2023
11 min read
Best College Basketball Bets Today November 6

We are finally back. The 2023-24 college basketball season tips off today, and while there are not any marquee matchups between two ranked teams, that does not mean there won’t be some terrific teams and players making their season debuts. Let’s dive into a few games that we like from the first slate this season.

Samford @ #3 Purdue

Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook.

PICK: Purdue -19.5

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Purdue is one of the few teams that returns nearly all of its key contributors from last season, with the only player not coming back for the Boilermakers being Brandon Newman, who averaged just six points per game.

Amongst the returners are Braden Smith, Fletcher Loyer, Mason Gillis, Ethan Morton, Caleb Furst, Trey Kaufman-Renn, and, of course, Zach Edey, the reigning Wooden Award winner from last season.

Edey is an obvious frontrunner to win the Wooden Award for the second consecutive season, and with expected improvement in his footwork, strength, touch around the rim, and passing IQ, he will continue to be a truly unstoppable force at the collegiate level.

Edey’s size (7-foot-4) makes him an absolute nightmare to play against, especially mid-major programs that tend to roll out smaller lineups or a lineup that might have good size in the frontcourt but lack the overall talent, strength, and coordination to stop a player like him.

Last season, Edey posted 22.3 points and 12.9 rebounds on an impressive 60.7% shooting from the field. Where he really improved season over season, though, was his passing.

Edey gets double-teamed as much as any player in America because he is simply impossible for almost anyone to defend one-on-one in the post. His continued improvement in passing out of the post should bode well for this squad.

Purdue’s biggest weakness one season ago was its three-point shooting, which ranked 277th (32.2%) out of 363 teams. Luckily, sophomore guards Smith and Loyer are both expected to take sizable leaps in this category, as they are capable shooters. And there is simply no way that head coach Matt Painter did not put a heavy emphasis on shooting threes in the off-season.

This is particularly important in this game because just a year ago, Samford allowed opponents to shoot 37% from behind the arc, which ranked 331st in the country.

The Boilermakers’ 2022-23 campaign might have ended in historic (not the good kind) fashion, as they lost in the Round of 64 to a No. 16 seed that had to play in a First Four game just to get into the first round; however, there are a few key takeaways from last season.

First, Purdue is going to play with a vengeance. Expect this team to annihilate opponents for the foreseeable future due to the embarrassment and pain of their NCAA Tournament performance. They will be motivated, even against teams like Samford that are typically seen as more of a “warm-up.”

Second, this squad has a history of starting the season hot, having won 22 of their first 23 games last season, including wins against Duke, Gonzaga, and West Virginia. Painter gets his teams playing great ball early in the season.

Ultimately, this game should be fairly straightforward. Edey will get Samford’s bigs in foul trouble, exposing what is already a thin frontcourt (Loveday and Achor.)

Further, Purdue will lockdown on the perimeter (allowed opponents to shoot just 31.4% from deep last year), where Samford scores most of its points by going over screens.

Edey’s rim protection will continue to allow the Boilermakers to be aggressive on the perimeter. Lastly, expect an improved shooting Purdue team this season, and Samford will be the first example where we see that.

Tennessee Tech @ #9 Tennessee

PICK: Under 135.5

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For the second consecutive year, the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles and Tennessee Volunteers will open the season by playing against each other. And for the second consecutive year, we are not expecting this game to be close at all.

Still, a 28-point spread is hefty, and in all likelihood, the spread will be a sweat. However, the Under looks like a viable bet, especially considering the Volunteers’ recent history on the defensive end of the floor.

Last season, the Vols ranked first in KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency by the end of the year. Despite losing point guard and floor general Zakai Zeigler right before the start of March Madness, the Vols still strung together multiple wins in the NCAA Tournament. And a substantial reason for that is their grit on defense.

Zeigler will play limited minutes tonight for the Vols, which is a great sign for this team moving forward, as he is the engine of this team and a scrappy perimeter defender. Even though they lost Julian Phillips and Olivier Nkamhoua, the Vols will still roll out a team that is centered on defense.

Last season, the Volunteers finished with a 13-22-1 Over record, exemplifying their tendency to play in lower-scoring games; they trusted their defense, which worked out more often than not.

In the game against Tennessee Tech last season, Tennessee finished with 75 points, but Tech merely scored 43 points on 32.5% shooting from the field and 29.4% shooting from deep. Further, they were limited to five assists as a team and turned the ball over 21 times.

The Under looks like a solid play in this spot, as Tech will have trouble scoring once again, and the Vols love to play slow, evidenced by the fact that they ranked 297th last season in possessions per game.

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Andrew Norton

148 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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