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Best bets for January 30th NCAA basketball

It’s a major night for mid-major hoops, but we look to find you a few places to get your cash down on this evening’s slate

Colorado Buffaloes forward Evan Battey celebrates with fans after defeating the Washington Huskies at the CU Events Center. Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

There’s a lot of schools the non-academically-or-geographically inclined might have a tough time finding on a map playing tonight, but there’s still a lot of value to be had as we take a look at the best bets we can find.

We’re 5-2 on our picks here so far, and there’s plenty of time to trail this before the internet figures out we’re giving away free money every afternoon between 5:30 and 6:00 p.m. To the DraftKings Sportsbook!

Iowa +6 vs. Maryland, Under 145

We get deeper into the reasoning here, but look for The Other Luka (Iowa’s Luka Garza) to have a big game in the DMV tonight.

Illinois -6 vs. Minnesota

Let’s stipulate that Gophers center Daniel Oturu is a very good player. Now that we’re done praising Minny, let’s bury them.

They are a mess on defense, near the bottom in every B1G category, and dead last in stopping three-point shooters. That will hurt less when Illinois is involved because they’re not exactly gunners, but the Illini have won six in a row for a reason. Whereas Minnesota just got pasted at home by a similar-looking Michigan State team.

Add this in there: a whopping 86% of the bets and 93% of the cash is on the Illini at DK Sportsbook. That’s not just the public and the sharps, that’s everybody.

Ayo Dosunmu should have a big one for the home team, and the questions surrounding Richard Pitino in Minneapolis will grow louder. Illini in a big one.

#20 Colorado -4.5 over UCLA

I hate to be the chalk-eating statistical weasel here, but when 91% of the tickets and 94% of the cash is on one team, it tends to jump out at you. And Colorado is that team, winning four of their last five, and also smacking around bad teams like Utah and Iona by around 40 points each. They’ve been much more efficient offensively since conference play started, and have won the big ones repeatedly this season (Dayton, Oregon).

On the other side, Mick Cronin is the latest head coach to try and dig UCLA out of decades of irrelevance. At least John Wooden and Jim Harrick did it the right way, by cheating to get the best players that fit their system. Until then, he’s got a bench full of kids that don’t work so well together despite all the recruiting stars on their 247Sports pages. It’s college basketball in 2020, so expect full-scale roster turnover this offseason. We covered a lot of Mick Cronin at Cincinnati, and can confirm his players think he can be pretty easy to tune out. It’s going to be at least one more year before he goes back to blowing the big game in March.

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