Holiday College Basketball Odds: How Five Days Will Define March Madness For Iowa Teams

Written By Russ Mitchell on November 24, 2021 - Last Updated on July 22, 2022
Holiday college basketball

Don’t let the Thanksgiving NFL football tradition or Iowa’s Black Friday football games overshadow an interesting slate of holiday college basketball this weekend. Three more days of games could define seasons for Iowa’s Division I men’s basketball programs.

Iowa State, Drake and Northern Iowa are on the road for Thanksgiving, but the Iowa Hawkeyes are staying close to home.

How to bet on holiday college basketball

Iowa is a great state to bet on college basketball and other sports because fans can both register for a sportsbook and place a bet right from home. DraftKings Sportsbook IA tailored an offer that’s ideal for those visiting friends and family members who otherwise can’t wager due to betting restrictions back home.

Put $5 into a sportsbook account as part of the registration process. Then place a bet of at least $1 on any NFLNBAcollege football or college basketball moneyline. If either team scores in the new customer’s first wager, the new customer gets a $100 bonus bet bonus.

When to bet on Iowa State holiday hoops

The Iowa State Cyclones will face top 25 teams in back-to-back games at the NIT Season Tip-Off in Brooklyn, NY.

T.J. Otzelberger’s team is 1-for-1 after beating  No. 25 Xavier 82-70 Wednesday night.  The Musketeers and Cyclones were both 4-0 going into the game.

The Cyclones face No. 9 Memphis after the Tigers beat Virginia Tech 69-61. Both teams are 5-0. Friday’s NIT Tip-Off Championship game is at about 8:30 p.m. on ESPN2, depending on the finish time of the third-place game.

Iowa State is getting 12.5 points at BetMGM at about 1 p.m. Friday. The line is +11.5 at DraftKings, Caesars and FanDuel.

NIT Season Tip-Off

  • 6 p.m. third-place game — No. 25 Xavier vs. Virginia Tech  on ESPN2
  • 8:30 p.m. Championship — Iowa State vs. No. 9 Memphis on ESPN2

Memphis is a 12-point favorite over Iowa State as of Thanksgiving night. Virginia Tech is favored by three points in the third-place game.

Drake holiday college basketball bets

Drake stumbled 74-69 to Belmont in the first round of the ESPN Events Invitational in Orlando. Rick Pitino’s Iona team upset No. 10 Alabama 72-68 so the Bulldogs and Crimson Tide will square off in a consolation game as part of the ESPN Events Invitational in Orlando. The Drake vs. Alabama game will take place at 3:30 p.m. Friday on ESPNU.

The teams have Saturday off. The Drake vs. Alabama winner will face the Miami FL vs. North Texas winner for fifth place at 5:30 p.m. Sunday on ESPNU. The losers of those two games will play for seventh place at 9:30 a.m. Sunday on ESPNU. This bracket has the update.

The Bulldogs play Thursday and Friday starting on Thanksgiving with future Missouri Valley Conference rival Belmont. The Gaels and Crimson Tide are in Drake’s half of the eight-team bracket for a Black Friday game. The teams have Saturday off before a final game on Sunday.

Even with the loss, Drake is off to a 3-1 start including a helpful 73-70 resumé win a week ago over Richmond.

The Bulldogs are getting six points at DraftKings. The line is +6.5 for Drake at Caesars, FanDuel and BetMGM.

ESPN Events Invitational

  • 3:30 p.m. Friday — Drake vs. No. 10 Alabama (ESPNU)
  • 9:30 a.m. or 5:30 p.m. Sunday — Drake vs. Miami FL or North Texas (ESPNU)

Iowa stays home for holiday college basketball

The 5-0 Iowa Hawkeyes lead the nation in scoring at 99.6 ppg and have one more tuneup before a string of four major-conference foes. Portland State visits Iowa City on Black Friday. The 2-2 Vikings stumbled 69-54 Tuesday at home against Portland.

Portland State at Iowa

  • When: 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 26
  • Where: Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City
  • TV: Big Ten+ subscription streaming platform

Northern Iowa holiday college basketball

The Northern Iowa Panthers have a big Saturday ahead, with an FCS playoff game at Eastern Washington. But don’t overlook a top 25 game on the hardwood. UNI is off to a 1-3 start including a 93-80 loss to then-No. 16 Arkansas a week ago. Now at 5-0, the St. Bonaventure Bonnies hold the No. 16 spot.

The Panthers are running out of major-conference chances to impress the NCAA Selection Committee for March Madness.

Northern Iowa at No. 16 St. Bonaventure

  • When: 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 27
  • Where: Reilly Center in St. Bonaventure, NY
  • TV: ESPN+ subscription streaming platform



Photo by Robert Franklin / AP Photo
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Russ Mitchell

Russ Mitchell has been covering news and sports in northwest Iowa since 1997, including 11 years as managing editor for one of the most acclaimed community newspapers in the state. He looks forward to keeping readers up to date on the growing sportsbook industry in Iowa.

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