College Basketball Odds & Picks: 4 Ways To Bet Saturday’s Games, Including Florida vs. Kentucky
Joe Robbins/Getty Images. Pictured: Tre Mann.
- Saturday is for betting college basketball and our analysts have you covered.
- They broke down four games, including Oklahoma vs. Oklahoma State and Florida vs. Kentucky.
- Check out each individual pick complete with a full betting breakdown below.
Saturday — the best day of the college basketball week — is here.
It all starts with Wisconsin vs. Illinois at 4 p.m. ET, which is followed by Oklahoma State vs. Oklahoma and Florida vs. Kentucky later in the afternoon..
Check out full breakdowns and picks for each game below, and feel free to navigate to any game by using the table below.
College Basketball Odds & Picks
All listed odds have been updated as of Friday morning. Specific bet recommendations at the end of each matchup breakdown come from the sportsbook offering preferred odds as of writing on Friday morning.
Always shop for the best price using our NCAAB Odds page, which automatically surfaces the best lines for every game.
Wisconsin vs. Illinois
This was a spot circled all week and talked about on the Action Network College Basketball podcast.
Illinois has cemented its spot in the Big Ten with respect to the double-bye in the conference tournament. A full two games behind Michigan and 1.5 ahead of Ohio State, the Fighting Illini have zero urgency to win in Madison.
For that reason, the injury status of star Ayo Dosunmu will not change being out indefinitely after facial surgery. After sitting against Nebraska on Thursday, it remains to be seen whether or not Dosunmu will return in games against Ohio State and Michigan before the postseason.
There is very much the opposite sense of urgency on the Badgers side, as they’ve lost five of their past nine contests. More importantly, Wisconsin does not have a single signature win on its resume.
The biggest win of the season may have come in December against Loyola Chicago. The Badgers are just one game back of Iowa from slipping into the double-bye for the Big Ten tournament, giving additional motivation to beat Illinois.
Dosunmu was a huge reason Illinois beat Wisconsin by 15 earlier this season, as the junior notched a triple-double, posting 12 of the Illini’s 16 assists.
The Badgers are top-40 in defensive rebounding and average height, which will be key in containing Kofi Cockburn.
WIth Dosunmu out, look for Wisconsin to own the paint and have a much better shooting day than the 17% that was posted from beyond the arc on Feb. 6 against Illinois.
Pick: Wisconsin -3.5
Oklahoma vs. Oklahoma State
By Pat McMahon
This is a key game for the Sooners and Cowboys, as both teams are jostling for seeding in the Big 12 Tournament.
Oklahoma has been sloppy lately against the conference’s bottom-feeders. It sleep-walked through a close win over Iowa State in Ames last Saturday before losing to Kansas State outright on Tuesday as 10.5-point favorites. As bad as it’s looked in the last week, I don’t see cause for panic just yet.
While the Sooners have repeatedly performed below their standards against lesser teams in the Big 12, they always show up against the top dogs. Against the other six Big 12 teams in the top 40 of the NET rankings, Oklahoma is an impressive 7-1 ATS this season.
The Cowboys are playing really good ball right now, but the Sooners present a difficult matchup. Oklahoma ranks 28th in adjusted defensive efficiency and is very tough to score on in the half-court. The Cowboys lack consistent scoring options beyond Cade Cunningham, so the offense could be in for a long night.
Oklahoma State has a stout defense of its own (18th in adjusted efficiency), so we could see a rock fight in Norman.
I trust the Sooners offense a lot more, though, as they have three reliable scoring guards and a really good stretch four in Brady Manek. They’re also much healthier now, as Manek, Austin Reaves and Elijah Harkless are all on the court after each missed several games with various injuries and health issues.
Another reason to like the Sooners is they are much better at taking care of the ball than the Cowboys. Oklahoma ranks ninth in the ration in turnover rate, coughing it up on just 13.3% of their offensive possessions. Oklahoma State has struggled in this area, ranking 266th with an 18.3% turnover rate, per TeamRankings.
The Cowboys will bring the pressure defensively, but the Sooners have two capable ball-handlers who won’t be fazed in Reaves and De’Vion Harmon.
The Sooners won’t be the most popular pick of the day after that ugly showing at Kansas State on Tuesday, but I think we’re getting a discount here on a really good ball club.
Look for the Sooners to take care of business and bounce back at home.
Pick: Oklahoma -5
Florida vs. Kentucky
So, after Kentucky’s road win against Tennessee, the Wildcats are back, right? I say no, especially when they have a talented team like Florida coming to town.
Florida’s offense is incredibly efficient down low, as the Gators are shooting 52.2% from 2-point range and a whopping 64.1% on shot attempts at the rim, per Hoop-Math.
However, the problem is that Kentucky is one of the best teams in the country at defending the paint, allowing 44.7% from 2-point range while also having the highest block rate in the SEC.
That’s not a problem for the Gators because they are hitting almost 34% of their 3-point attempts this season. Florida really struggled scoring inside in its late January loss to Kentucky, but I think Mike White should be able to figure how to penetrate inside.
Really, where I think Florida has an advantage in this matchup is on the defensive end of the floor.
Kentucky is averaging only 1.01 points per possession during SEC play and is dead last in the conference at scoring inside the arc at only 43.7%. Florida has been stellar defensively during conference play, allowing only 0.99 points per possession.
It’s solid in every aspect, especially in defending the perimeter. It will need to be solid in that aspect, since Kentucky is hitting 37% of its 3s this season. The Gators have no discernible weaknesses on defense, so I have a hard time seeing how Kentucky is going to be effective on the offensive end of the floor.
I have this game projected around a pick’em, so I think there’s plenty of value on the Gators at +2.5 or better.
Pick: Florida +2.5
South Dakota vs. North Dakota State
If you get the opportunity to watch the 2018 South Dakota Mr. Basketball, you take it.
A.J. Plitzuweit has dropped 34 points or more in three of his last six games and given South Dakota fans a reason to dream of a Cinderella run next month.
Since stepping up to Division I in 2008, the Coyotes have gone from dreadful to a fun team to watch. The final evolution appears to be complete, as they’re now a dangerous offensive program. Plitzuweit (19 ppg) and Stanley Umude (20 ppg) are the offensive catalysts, and both are capable of going off for 30+ in a given game.
North Dakota State is a decent defensive team, but it’s about to be out of its depth once S.D. cranks up the offensive tempo. The Bison play at the 310th-slowest pace in college basketball and have struggled when teams force them to play in the upper 70s/lower 80s. When teams hit 79 points or more, NDSU is 1-3-1 ATS.
Toss in the fact that TeamRankings considers S.D. one of the best mid-major home teams in the country, and you can see why I’m enamored with the Summit’s top dog.
South Dakota has won 6-of-7 on its home floor and have covered at the Sanford Coyote Sports Center by an average of 7.1 points against the closing number, the 13th-best figure in the country.
I like it to handle its business and would play it on the alternate line up to five.
Pick: South Dakota -1.5