College Basketball Betting Picks: Our Staff’s 5 Favorite Saturday Bets (February 8, 2020)

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Chris Covatta/Getty Images. Pictured: Texas Longhorns

  • Need last-minute college basketball picks for Saturday? Our staffers each cut down the 147-game betting card into one favorite play.
  • Whether you're looking at marquee games in the Big 12 and SEC or a little-bet matchup in the Patriot League, we're got you covered.

There’s no two ways about it. Saturday’s college basketball slate is excellent.

Our college basketball experts have been hard at work breaking down the card and each arrived at one favorite play for Saturday.

From the SEC to the Patriot League, here’s what they’re betting:

Saturday College Basketball Betting Picks


College basketball odds as of Saturday morning and via FanDuel, where Action Network users get a risk-free bet up to $500.


Eli Hershkovich

  • Odds: Kansas -9 at TCU
  • Over/Under: 130.5
  • Time: 12 p.m. ET
  • TV: ESPN

The Jayhawks have won their past seven games outright, but they have West Virginia on deck on Wednesday, creating a look-ahead spot for Bill Self’s team. They’ll be squaring off against a desperate Horned Frogs bunch, which has lost six of their past seven games straight-up.

TCU presents an offensive edge from behind the arc, racking up the 18th-highest 3-point scoring rate across Division I. Self’s crew is yielding the 30th-highest scoring rate from the perimeter, and the Horned Frog’s floor-spacing attack is built to make the Jayhawks pay.

Jamie Dixon’s crew has tallied a 24.9% 3-point clip over its past two games, so expect some positive regression against Kansas.

At the other end, TCU big Kevin Samuel matches up well with the 7-foot-3 Udoka Azubuike, allowing the Horned Frogs to shy away from doubling Azubuike in the low-post. Unless Samuel needs help, that’ll force the Jayhawks’ attack into more iso action and forced jumpers as a result.

Pick: TCU +9

Collin Wilson

  • Odds: LSU at Auburn -5.5
  • Over/Under: 154
  • Time: 12 p.m. ET
  • TV: ESPN

LSU will look to rebound off its most embarrassing game of the season –a  loss in Nashville on Wednesday that gave Vanderbilt its first conference victory since March 3, 2018.

The Commodores 9-point victory over an LSU team unbeaten in conference was complimented by an uncharacteristic 74% shooting from inside the arc and 40% from 3-point territory. For the Tigers, a lackluster defensive performance was predictable by a conference rank of 13th in effective field goal percentage and 11th in turnovers.

Meanwhile, no one in the SEC may be running better than Auburn. Bruce Pearl’s team is coming off victory in double overtime against Ole Miss, a home win over Kentucky and overtime with Arkansas.

But Auburn may not be able to expose LSU’s issue with defending the arc with a national rank of 275th from 3-point land. On the other side of the ball, Auburn has the worst 3-point defense in conference play.

LSU feasts on points in the paint and should have no issues scoring in this early tipoff. Look for some fatigue Auburn off multiple overtime victories and LSU to cover this number.

Pick: LSU +5.5

Stuckey

  • Odds: Texas Tech -3 at Texas
  • Over/Under: O/U
  • Time: 4 p.m. ET
  • TV: ESPN2

My favorite bet of the day is Texas in a game I make the Horns a 1-point favorite.

While I love coach Chris Beard and freshman Jahmi’us Ramsey is an absolute stud, I’m just not a believer in this extremely young Texas Tech team. It’s a team that has just two Quad 1 wins on the season — one of which came at home against WVU in a game where they shot the lights out.

The Red Raider youth has really shown away from Lubbock (one of the best home court advantages in the country). They only have one road win — at Kansas State.

I also expect some major shooting regression to come Tech’s way as it currently leads the conference in 3P shooting at 38.5% and 3P defense at 27.1%. Neither number is sustainable in my opinion.

For reference, the team that went to the national title game last year that was much better than this team finished 36.3% from 3 and held opponents 33.6% from deep. A correction should be coming soon. And what better time for that to happen than today in Austin with a Texas team that bombs away from three.

Texas doesn’t rebound particularly well but that’s also not a strength of Texas Tech.

Since an embarrassing loss at West Virginia, the Horns have looked better, going 3-1 against the spread. I think they get it done at home in a game they likely need for any shot at the NCAA Tournament.

Pick: Texas +3

Michael Calabrese

  • Odds: Bucknell at Loyola Maryland -2
  • Over/Under: 148.5
  • Time: 5 p.m. ET
  • TV: Patriot League Network

Getting a handle on mid-major player news is a labor of love. It usually requires following an endless parade of local beat reporters and even then the information is scattered, and at times unreliable.

When information is corroborated, the window of time before oddsmakers adjust is usually fairly tight. In the case of Loyola’a Santi Aldama, the market hasn’t adjusted yet.

The prized 6-foot-11 recruit is not only the highest rated player (4-star) to ever sign at Loyola, he’s also wasting no time whatsoever shaking off a considerable amount of rust. He underwent knee surgery in November and was feared to be lost for the season.

But since his return, Loyola is 2-0 SU and 2-0 ATS, and he’s averaging 11 points, 4.5 rebounds and one block in just 22 minutes of action. The numbers may not seem significant, but the Spanish big is a unicorn in the Patriot League. His mere presence solidifies the Greyhounds frontcourt, and gives them a significant edge in the paint over their undersized opponents.

Speaking of undersized opponents, Bucknell enters Saturday evening’s contest as one of the worst rebounding teams in the Pat League. No starter for the Bison averages over five rebounds per game and their starting frontcourt checks in at 6-foot-6 and 6-foot-8 respectively. With Aldama now in the mix, Loyola’s four man frontcourt rotation measures in at a hair below 6-foot-10 on average.

Loyola’s visit to Bucknell two weeks ago ended in a 15-point defeat, but it’s worth noting that they led in the second half, and Andrew Kostecka (Pat League leading scorer) played only 26 minutes due to foul trouble. This recent outcome explains why the spread remains in the one-possession range for Saturday night’s game in Baltimore.

Aldama and Kostecka’s availability tips the scales in the rematch. Grabs the Hounds at a discounted price while you still can.

Pick: Loyola -2

Mike Randle

  • Odds: Creighton -9.5
  • Over/Under: 148.5
  • Time: 6 p.m. ET
  • TV: CBS

St. John’s (13-10) is just 2-8 in Big East play, with both of its wins coming against DePaul. SJU ranks dead last in conference play in each of the following offensive categories:

  • Adjusted offensive efficiency
  • Effective field goal percentage
  • Offensive rebounding percentage
  • 2-point percentage

The Red Storm also rank second-worst in 3P%.

Creighton (17-6) just ended a four-game winning streak with a 73-56 loss at Providence. The Bluejays were outscored 21-9 over the last 10 minutes.

However, before that game, Creighton’s offense had reached 76 points or more in six consecutive games. They rank first in Big East play in adjusted offensive efficiency, effective field goal percentage, and 3P%.

Besides DePaul, the Red Storm has been a consistent victim of big road losses in conference, with defeats at Georgetown (21 points), Marquette (14 points), and Xavier (eight points).

I expect a big bounceback from Creighton off the tough finish at Providence, against a St. John’s team that needs to keep scoring low to compete. That is a tall order in Omaha on a Saturday night.

Pick: Creighton -9.5

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