College Basketball Odds & Best Bets: Our Top 5 Picks for Saturday, Including Wake Forest vs. North Carolina
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- Welcome to another college basketball Saturday.
- Our staff took advantage of all of the games on the board, coming through with five best bets for Saturday's slate.
- From Texas vs. Oklahoma State to North Carolina vs. Wake Forest, check out all five best bets below.
It may be the Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs, but there’s nothing quite like betting college basketball on Saturday’s. From noon to midnight, there’s always plenty of action to monitor and win cash on.
This weekend, it’s much of the same, except for the fact that the stakes continue to raise as we get closer and closer to March.
With that in mind, our staff is ready to help you formulate your betting card for Saturday by offering up their best bets. Below you’ll find five selections from five different games — from the Big 12 to the ACC.
Saturday’s College Basketball Best Bets
The team logos in the table below represent each of the matchups that our college basketball staff is targeting from today’s slate of games. Click the team logos for one the matchups below to navigate to a specific bet discussed in this article.
|Specific bet recommendations come from the sportsbook offering preferred odds as of writing. Always shop for the best price using our NCAAB Odds page, which automatically surfaces the best lines for every game.|
Oklahoma State vs. Texas
Texas has been the victim of some excellent shooting from the opposition of late, and that’s unlikely to continue against Oklahoma State.
In the Longhorns’ last three losses, Oklahoma State made 8-of-17 (47%) from deep, Iowa State made 10-of-23 (43%) and Kansas State made 7-of-18 (39%). Not one of those three teams would be considered good jump shooting teams, and the variance is bound to swing back their way a bit.
Yes, the Chris Beard defense focuses on taking away the middle and can leave space on the perimeter, but there’s no way teams will continue to shoot this well against UT.
For example, Oklahoma State is actually one of the worst 3-point shooting teams in the entire country at 29.4%, but it had its best day from 3 in the entire season in the last win against the Longhorns.
Oklahoma State has won consecutive games in conference play, including a stunning win over defending national champion Baylor and then a late comeback victory at home over TCU. It’s natural to expect the Cowboys to be a bit flat here, as well.
The Longhorns are still elite at turning over opponents and rank fourth in the country in doing just that. Compare this to an OSU offense that badly struggles in both transition defense and turns it over a lot of itself, and you have a potential recipe for Texas to run Oklahoma State out of Austin on Saturday.
Pick: Texas -7.5 (Play to -9)
Colorado State vs. Air Force
Colorado State faced off against Air Force three weeks ago and was laying 20.5 points at home. The Rams won the game by eight, but it was the program’s first outing after a 24-day COVID-19 layoff.
Colorado State is favored by just 10 points in this matchup, so what has changed since the Jan. 4 meeting?
The answer: Not much.
Air Force has covered its three games since, including an outright win over UNLV. But this is a similar roster to the group that went 3-17 in conference play last season.
The Falcons lost by an average of 21 points to Montana, Arkansas State and Tarleton State. They own the 300th-ranked offensive efficiency and turn it over on 24% of offensive possessions.
Colorado State is 14-1 and the cream of the crop in the Mountain West.
The Rams are a popular pick to make a run in March and own one of the top offenses in the country. The group averages 78 points per game and ranks 13th in both 2-point and 3-point percentages.
It will own a significant advantage on the offensive end and is poised for a blowout victory this time around against Air Force.
Pick: Colorado State -10 (Play to -13)
Baylor vs. Oklahoma
I love this spot for the Sooners with their backs against the wall and in need of a victory. On Tuesday night, OU hosted Kansas and gave the Jayhawks everything they could handle for 40 minutes.
The Sooners came up just short, and now they welcome Baylor looking to avoid an 0-2 homestand.
When these two teams squared off earlier in the year in Waco, the Sooners were competitive before ultimately falling short on the road.
Porter Moser’s team has been very solid defensively, coming into this ranked 29th in the nation in adjusted defensive efficiency.
While Baylor is still an elite team, the Bears have been somewhat shaky of late, dropping two games at home before winning in Morgantown. James Akinjo has been battling injuries recently, and his status is unknown for this one. If he can go, I don’t expect him to be 100%.
OU is currently on a three-game skid, and to me, this is an ideal spot for a maximum effort performance from Moser’s team.
I don’t know if it will be enough to pull off the upset outright, but I love the Sooners getting 3.5 in this one.
Pick: Oklahoma +3.5 (Play to +3)
LSU vs. Tennessee
LSU has lost two straight, but I think that speaks more to some inevitable regression, which still has a ways to go after we saw Alabama pull out a home win over the Tigers despite shooting 7-of-34 from 3 and missing countless free throws down the stretch.
For the season, LSU opponents are shooting 26.0% from 3 and 63.2% from the line. Both rank in the top-four nationally.
Now, its length does make opponents very uncomfortable, but its aggressiveness also allows plenty of open looks. In fact, LSU has allowed the sixth-highest 3-point rate in the country.
That leads naturally into the first meeting between these two teams. LSU won by double digits in Baton Rouge, but Tennessee shot 6-of-24 (25%) from 3 and missed 14 free throws.
Now, the Vols aren’t a great shooting team, but they aren’t that bad. More shots should fall at home in a nice revenge spot for a Tennessee team starved for a high-quality win.
Meanwhile, in complete contrast to LSU, opponents have shot 38.1% from deep in conference play against Tennessee. That’s the highest rate in the league for one of the top defenses in the country. The regression monster looms on both sides in favor of Tennessee.
I think the LSU slide continues and Tennessee secures the home victory, especially if Xavier Pinson sits again for Will Wade’s squad.
LSU should have plenty of trouble scoring, and its turnover issues should doom it on the road against a Vols squad that forces them at a top-10 rate in D-I.
Pick: Tennessee -4.5
North Carolina vs. Wake Forest
Well, here we go again. Another staff best bets article, another North Carolina pick from yours truly. Do I have the willpower to take UNC again after the Miami onslaught and getting flat-out embarrassed by the Hurricanes?
No. Instead, I will take the over.
North Carolina is still one of the most efficient shooting teams in the ACC and scores at a high clip. It had a cold night from deep last time out while also shooting nearly 50% of its shots from deep. The turnovers didn’t help, but UNC still garnered open looks all game.
While Wake Forest is a step up in defense production compared to Miami and one of the most balanced teams in the ACC, I expect UNC to still do what it does best and score at a high rate.
Wake Forest is no slouch on offense either, sneakily becoming one of the best offenses in the ACC. The Demon Deacons are led by guard Alondes Williams, who is the leading scorer in the ACC and one of the most complete players in the conference.
North Carolina has shown no signs of stepping up on defense, constantly giving open looks and an open painted area all game to inferior units. This will open up more opportunities for Wake Forest, a team that does most of its damage on drives and post play.
Wake Forest should be able to score at will against the Tar Heels defense, forcing North Carolina to play at a quick pace to avoid being blown out two games in a row.
While not fully confident in a turnaround from UNC’s last time out, I will put my money on this one being a scoring fest, with Wake Forest putting up points at will and forcing UNC to keep pace.