College Basketball’s Best Bets for November 30

By Sidelines   November 30, 2021 

College Basketball’s Best Bets for November 30

After a disjointed college basketball season last year, it’s been nice to have the usual highlights of the non-conference season back this year. We had our fill of holiday tournaments over the past week and now while several of the power teams again host some lesser opponents, we have some unique matchups between solid programs tonight with the Big Ten-ACC Challenge. 

Among the competition, top-ranked Duke puts its new No. 1 ranking on the line. The Blue Devils are back in the top spot for the 145th time in school history and the 127th under head coach Mike Krzyzewski, who is retiring at the end of the season. Both are records over UCLA (134 weeks)  and their legendary former head coach John Wooden (121). 

Let’s get to the NCAAB best bets for tonight, November 30. 

(1) Duke Blue Devils vs. Ohio State Buckeyes

The Bet: Duke -3

Nov 26, 2021; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Duke Blue Devils forward Paolo Banchero (5) shoots during the first half against the Gonzaga Bulldogs at T-Mobile Arena. Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

The line is tempting here, as the top-ranked Blue Devils are only laying three points to an unranked Ohio State team, and we’re going to take the bait. Duke (7-0) is coming off a 84-81 win over then-No. 1 Gonzaga in Las Vegas last Friday night, handing the Bulldogs their first regular-season loss since February 2020 in the process. Freshman Paolo Banchero had 21 points to lead Duke to that victory with Wendell Moore Jr. close behind with 20 points. The duo are leading a Blue Devils resurgence after missing the NCAA Tournament last year for the first time since 1995. While Banchero has been good on the glass, Moore is heavily involved in the offense, either making or assisting on 41% of all of Duke’s field goals over the past three games. Duke also has a neutral-court win over Kentucky this year as they head into their first true road game.

Ohio State (4-2) was ranked to start the season but dropped out after losing at Xavier two weeks ago. They then played in the Fort Myers Tip-Off holiday tournament last week, edging then-No. 24 Seton Hall by three points before falling to No. 23 Florida, 71-68, thanks to a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by the Gators. E.J. Liddell had 23 points in that loss and is averaging 22.5 points per game this year to go along with 6.2 rebounds and 3.8 blocks to lead the Buckeyes. 

Duke is averaging 85.6 points per game this year, which is 10 points more than the Buckeyes are scoring. Defensively, the Blue Devils have also been superior–averaging 64.6 points allowed compared to Ohio State’s 69.3 points allowed per contest. Duke is also 3-1-3 against the spread this year, while the Buckeyes are just 2-4 ATS. We expect the Buckeyes to hang in there, but Duke–like it did against Gonzaga–will hit its free throws late to extend the lead past three to win and cover.

Florida State Seminoles vs. (2) Purdue Boilermakers

The Bet: Purdue -11

Nov 21, 2021; Uncasville, CT, USA; Purdue Boilermakers forward Trevion Williams (50) reacts to making a play against the Villanova Wildcats during the second half at Mohegan Sun Arena. Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

After getting knocked out of the NCAA Tournament in the first round last year as a 4-seed, Purdue looks to be using that upset as motivation for the current season. Matt Painter’s crew has already defeated two ranked teams this year in No. 18 North Carolina and No. 5 Villanova, winning the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament by defeating both teams the weekend before Thanksgiving. After the Thanksgiving holiday, the Boilermakers beat Omaha 97-40 and moved up to No. 2 in the AP Top 25 Poll behind Duke on Monday. Purdue (6-0) is led by big men Zach Edey and Trevion Williams. Edey is averaging 17.7 points per game while Williams leads the team in rebounds with 7.7 boards per contest. 

The Seminoles (5-1) are coming into this game shorthanded, which isn’t good when you’re visiting the No. 2 team in the country. FSU’s starting center Tanor Ngom, who is 7-foot-2, isn’t playing due to a knee strain while starting point guard RayQuan Evans is out for personal reasons. The Noles are also without 7-foot-4 reserve Naheem McLeod, so that should free up Edey and Williams and present a major challenge for FSU’s defense. The Noles also needed overtime to edge Boston University at home in their most-recent game last Wednesday.

Defense has been a hallmark of Leonard Hamilton’s successful Florida State teams over the past decade, and that’s no different this year, as they are allowing 63 points per game. But Purdue’s defense is holding opponents to the same point total while having a significantly better offense than FSU–92.3 points per game, which ranks second in the country, compared to 75.7 points per game for the Noles. The Boilermakers, who are 5-1 against the spread this year while FSU is 3-3 ATS, have too much offense for the Seminoles to contain here, especially due to the lack of depth Florida State has coming in. We like Purdue by double-digits. 

Minnesota Golden Gophers vs. Pittsburgh Panthers

The Bet: Minnesota -2.5

Minnesota Golden Gophers center Sam Freeman (32) defends as Ohio State Buckeyes forward E.J. Liddell (32) drives to the basket against Minnesota Golden Gophers forward Isaiah Ihnen (35) in the second half at Lucas Oil Stadium. Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

We’re living dangerously by taking two road favorites tonight, but it’s tough to ignore the different trajectories these two programs are on. Minnesota started strong last year before collapsing in Big Ten play, leading to a coaching change from Richard Pitino to Ben Johnson, who played for the Golden Gophers and was an assistant there and at Xavier before being hired this past March. Minnesota (5-0) is undefeated so far under Johnson and are 4-1 against the spread. They needed double-overtime to beat Princeton in their third game but have since dept opponents to under 50 points in their last two games. On the season, they are giving up just 59.6 points per game. On offense, Jamison Battle leads the team with 17.8 points per game. 

Pittsburgh (2-4) was an NCAA Tournament stalwart under Ben Howland and Jamie Dixon for the better part of 15 years but stalled under Kevin Stallings and now Jeff Capel at the helm. The Panthers are coming off two-straight losses at home–68-52 to Vanderbilt last Wednesday and a disappointing 87-77 showing against the University of Maryland-Baltimore County on Saturday. The Panthers have just three days to rebound from that difficult loss, but Pitt is only scoring 62.2 points per game this season, so playing a defensive-minded team in Minnesota will not make things any easier for the Panthers. 

Minnesota, a program playing well under a new head coach, is catching a team that’s struggling and hasn’t had enough time to recover from a 2-4 start that has a four-point win over Towson and an eight-point victory over UNC-Wilmington as its only two wins on the season. We like the Golden Gophers to overwhelm the Panthers here at the Peterson Events Center.

Share this story

Read more