Thursday night will have over a dozen NCAA basketball games perfect for fans and online sports betting. Two of note feature Top-25 teams in the 11th-ranked Houston Cougars visiting the South Florida Bulls while the fifth-ranked Iowa Hawkeyes welcome Michigan State. Let’s get into the best matchups as we select three games from the BetUS sportsbook to make a powerful college basketball parlay that can pay nearly six times your wager.
(11) Houston Cougars vs South Florida Bulls
The American Athletic Conference (AAC)’s Cougars take on USF in what should be an easy victory for the 11th-ranked team. Houston enters with a 10-1 record and is 5-1 against its conference with the loss being an upset by Tulsa, which is second in the conference. USF is 7-5 overall and 3-3 in the conference.
Houston has been considered a dark horse for the college basketball March Madness tournament but has been beset by COVID. Caleb Mills also stepped away from the team for personal reasons. He was their fourth-leading scorer with 9.8 points per game.
The Bulls are coming off a victory against East Carolina, where they came from behind on G David Collins’ 16 points. USF shoots more efficiently than Houston, but the Cougars have a significant edge on the boards and on the line and that’s the difference.
Pick: Houston Cougars
Michigan State Spartans vs (5) Iowa Hawkeyes
The Spartans are a long way from their stalwart days where they went deep into the NCAA Tournament. They are 8-4 overall and 2-4 in their own conference. MSU has also failed to cover nine of its last 12 spreads.
Iowa, on the other hand, is 11-2 overall and unbeaten at home (9-0). The Hawkeyes are 5-1 in the conference having lost to Minnesota, which they avenged earlier in the week. The Spartans seem like sexy underdog picks here, especially since they have won eight of their last 10 meetings.
The decisive factor is the turnover battle. This is cliche to say, but when there’s a gaping discrepancy between both teams—Iowa ranks 5th in turnover efficiency while MSU ranks 310th in forcing turnovers—it becomes the X-factor.
Pick: Iowa Hawkeyes
Washington Huskies vs USC Trojans
And my shameless chalk pick goes to… the USC Trojans trouncing the hapless Huskies at Galen Center. The Trojans are fighting for that top spot in the conference. They are 3-1 in the Pac-12 and 9-2 overall. The Huskies are 0-5 in the conference, the only team with no wins, and 1-9 overall.
The Trojans are 7-4 against the spread and are 3-1 when covering a spread that is 10 points or greater. They survived a potential shocker against UC Riverside and won in overtime. But the Huskies are bad, ranking as among the worst in shooting efficiency in Division-I.
This should be an easy win for the Trojans who will outrebound, outscore, and outhustle the Huskies. Covering 15 points shouldn’t be an issue.
Pick: USC Trojans
Parlay: Houston -8.5 (-110), Iowa -9.0 (-110), and USC -15.0 (-110) at +596
That’s a lot of points to cover as far as college basketball picks goes. But it should hit and a return of nearly six times your cash. The efficient Hawkeyes should handle business against the scatterbrained Spartans while the Trojans are a nice throw-in as they whoop on Washington.
This parlay hinges on Houston, who will be playing first among the three teams. The Cougars are 2-1 ATS on the road, but USF is only 2-3 ATS at home and has only covered three of the last 10 games against Houston. Once the Cougars cover, it should be smooth sailing with Iowa and USC.