Today's Top Picks: Iowa and Princeton lead the best college basketball best bets for 'Home Dog Friday'

Hello, everybody, welcome to "Home Dog Friday." What's "Home Dog Friday," you ask? Well, maybe show a little patience and let me tell you. Did you think I was going to write this whole thing just assuming you knew? What kind of person do you take me for?

Anyway, if you'll just let me continue, I'll tell you that "Home Dog Friday" is a thing I just made up because when I was looking for three games to pick for this column, I noticed I picked three home underdogs. I also noticed that I picked three college basketball games, but "College Basketball Home Dog Friday" is too long to be catchy -- and won't work next time when the NBA makes the list -- so I just went with "Home Dog Friday."

Also, to be completely honest, there was one NBA play on Friday's slate that I liked, but it didn't involve a home underdog like the following three picks, so I didn't include it because nothing can get in the way of "Home Dog Friday."

All lines are via William Hill.

1. Penn at Princeton: Princeton +1.5

Oh hell yeah, we're picking Ivy League basketball. Princeton comes into this game with a record of 5-8, but that's a bit misleading. The Tigers started the season 1-7, and have won four of five since. That includes a 14-point win over this same Penn team last Saturday on the road. Penn shot only 3 for 23 from 3-point range in that game, but Princeton wasn't much better at 2 for 11. What proved to be the difference in the game was Princeton being able to get to the free-throw line, which it has done a much better job of than Penn all season long. I don't think Princeton wins by 14 again, but at home, I like their chances of picking up the win outright again. Still, I'll take the points.

DFS millionaire Mike McClure got out to a blazing hot start during the NBA season, and he's back with more winners for Friday's slate. See McClure's tournament lineups for multiple DFS sites only at SportsLine.  

2. No. 12 Maryland at Iowa: Iowa +2

Ladies and gentlemen, until further notice, we are taking any home dog we can find in the Big Ten that isn't named Northwestern or Nebraska. Home teams have won at a ridiculous rate in the conference this season because, aside from Nebraska and Northwestern, everybody in the league is on a similar level for the most part. Seriously, if you look at the current KenPom ratings, the Big Ten has 11 of its 14 teams ranked inside the top 40. Indiana is ranked No. 42. Then there are Nebraska and Northwestern, which can't even crack the top 100.

In a league with this much parity, home-court advantage is enormous. Iowa has played four conference games this season. It's 1-0 at home and 0-3 on the road. Maryland is 3-0 at home and 0-1 on the road. As for this matchup in particular, Maryland's defense has been excellent, but Iowa has a top-five offense in efficiency, and it's at home. It's better at home, so I like the Hawkeyes' odds of winning outright, but the two points provide some insurance.

Legendary NFL handicapper Hank Goldberg is a white-hot 17-4 on his best bets the past seven weeks, part of a stunning 44-24 run. He's back with three more locks for the divisional round; see which sides Goldberg loves only at SportsLine. 

3. No. 6 Butler at Providence: Providence +1.5

While it has only been three games, it would be foolish to ignore how much better Providence's offense has fared in conference play. On the season, the Friars have an adjusted efficiency of 103.2 on offense, which ranks 115th nationally. In three Big East games, that number has climbed to 105.9, which is not insignificant, particularly considering the Friars' three conference games came against Georgetown, DePaul and Marquette. All three of them were wins, as well. Tonight they'll face their toughest test so far against Butler. Butler's defense has been outstanding all season, but it doesn't force a lot of turnovers. I also wonder if the Bulldogs will have the same kind of rebounding edge they have on a lot of opponents against a Providence team that has a bit more size than it does. I'll take the Friars at home.

The SportsLine Projection Model has generated a stunning profit of almost $4,000 for $100 players on its top-rated college football picks against the spread over the last four years. Check out its picks for the CFP final, with one cashing in 68% of simulations.  

CBS Sports Writer

Tom Fornelli has been a college football writer at CBS Sports since 2010. During his time at CBS, Tom has proven time and again that he hates your favorite team and thinks your rival is a paragon of football... Full Bio

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