College Basketball Picks and Best Bets January 2nd: Our Top 3 Picks for Conference Play including the Big 10 and AAC

By Akiva Wienerkur   January 2, 2022 

College Basketball Picks and Best Bets January 2nd: Our Top 3 Picks for Conference Play including the Big 10 and AAC

The near year begins and we are off to an 0-3 start for our best bets yesterday. Bad games all around from West Virginia and Syracuse, but Baylor was able to secure the win. As we look ahead towards Sunday there are again many games that have been canceled or postponed, but there is still some great NCAAB odds action to be found today.

Today there are many games to pick from, but we are happy just to have college basketball being played. Even with football games being played, there are still many college basketball games that will provide headlines. We have three top ranked teams tipping off today and tons of inter conference play. We look to have more success with our best bets after an 0-3 start to the new year.

Now let’s take a closer look for the best bets ahead of Sunday.

#10 Michigan State vs. Northwestern 

The Bet: Michigan State -2

Michigan State Spartans forward Marcus Bingham Jr. (30) guard Max Christie (5) forward Malik Hall (25) and forward Gabe Brown (44) walk to the bench during the second half against the Oakland Golden Grizzlies at Little Caesars Arena | Sidelines
Dec 21, 2021; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Michigan State Spartans forward Marcus Bingham Jr. (30) guard Max Christie (5) forward Malik Hall (25) and forward Gabe Brown (44) walk to the bench during the second half against the Oakland Golden Grizzlies at Little Caesars Arena. Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

A Big Ten matchup between two of the conference’s best teams at the moment face off Sunday afternoon. This should be a close game, but a ranked Michigan State team is expected to win. 

Michigan State has gotten off to an amazing start the season at 11-2. They still have been exceeding expectations since the last time we wrote about them. They have gone 3-0 since we last looked into the Spartans. They are playing as one of the better teams in the country and finally have gotten recognition for it by being ranked number ten. Michigan State always looks like a real contender come March and they have shown they can compete with the best at a high level. Despite not excelling in anything particular, they are one of the most well-rounded and experienced teams, which is a huge advantage compared to most teams. They have shown they are comfortable playing together and can play at a high level almost every night.

Northwestern has also gotten off to a great start to the season. Northwestern is currently 8-2 and getting a big win against a top ten team would boost their resume into possibly the top 25 themselves. They have looked great on offense this season. They are currently averaging an impressive 79 points per game while shooting 46.5% as a team from the field. They have won three straight and are hoping to make it four today. The Wildcats just need to be more consistent on defense and should have no problem winning more games. 

With Michigan State being the much better team we like them to cover the 2 point spread.

Indiana vs. Penn State 

The Bet: Indiana -2.5

Indiana Hoosiers head coach Mike Woodson talks to Indiana Hoosiers guard Khristian Lander (4) in the first half against the Northern Kentucky Norse at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall | Sidelines
Dec 22, 2021; Bloomington, Indiana, USA; Indiana Hoosiers head coach Mike Woodson talks to Indiana Hoosiers guard Khristian Lander (4) in the first half against the Northern Kentucky Norse at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Another Big Ten matchup today as Indiana takes on Penn State. A very interesting matchup between both these conference rivals. This game should be close and come down to the final minutes.

Indiana is off to a good start to the season at 10-2, but even with such a good record they have looked very inconsistent at times. They have not played great competition and when they have they have struggled to play well. Specifically on offense Indiana has struggled to look consistent. They however do average 77.2 points per game on 49% shooting as a team. They can score at a high rate any given night, but they just need to play more consistently to put themselves in the top 25.

Penn State off to an up and down season with a record of 5-5 reflecting that. Penn State is not a team that excels one thing very well, but they are a decently rounded team. They are not a great team and should not expect an easy route to the tournament if they even make it. They are coming off an 80-64 loss to Michigan State. They will most likely lose this game, but should make it more of a game than the Michigan State game.

With Penn State’s struggles this year we like Indiana to cover the 2.5 point spread.

#12 Houston vs. Temple

The Bet: Houston -12

Houston Cougars guard Kyler Edwards (11) dribbles the ball as Texas State Bobcats guard Davion Coleman (2) defends during the second half at Fertitta Center | Sidelines
Dec 22, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Cougars guard Kyler Edwards (11) dribbles the ball as Texas State Bobcats guard Davion Coleman (2) defends during the second half at Fertitta Center. Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The final matchup of the night between Houston and Temple. Houston is number 12 in the country for a reason, they have been great this season. Temple however, is a different story.

Houston off to an amazing start to the season at 11-2 so far. They are a great team overall on the offensive and defensive end. They average 79.3 points per game and allow 56 points per game. They have been dominating teams every game they have. They shoot almost 50% from the field average ten steals per game. They are the definition of a well balanced team. Their latest loss came to a great Alabama team where they lost 83-82 and if you watched that game Houston could easily be 12-1 right now. Houston is a great team that should be poised to make some noise in March like they did last year. Houston should have no problem playing many more games this year and continuing to play at a high level. Starting with this game, which  should be an easy win for the Cougars.

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