College Basketball Betting Picks: Our Staff’s 5 Saturday Best Bets

College Basketball Betting Picks: Our Staff’s 5 Saturday Best Bets article feature image

Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Alex Lomax

So many college basketball games. So little time.

It’s difficult to handicap the entire 143-game hoops card on Saturday, so we did it for you and narrowed it down to our five favorite bets.

This week, we head to the Atlantic Sun and OVC to find betting value, while also touching on a few higher-profile matchups.

Here are our staff’s five favorite bets for Saturday:

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

Eli Hershkovich

  • Odds: LSU -1.5 @ Texas
  • Over/Under: 143
  • Time: 2 p.m. ET
  • TV: ESPN

LSU has racked up seven straight wins — but the past five have come by a combined 13 points!

Not only is this a prime letdown spot for LSU, but the Longhorns are also coming off an embarrassing, 38-point loss at West Virginia on Monday. Expect Shaka Smart’s team to come out extra motivated for this one.

Texas should be able to take advantage of the Tigers’ perimeter defense, as they’re letting up the 28th-highest 3-point scoring rate in the country. The Longhorns boast the 22nd-highest perimeter scoring rate, so look for guards Matt Coleman (44.1%) and Andrew Jones (37.2%) to take advantage in the open floor.

If Texas’ attack is efficient enough where it limits LSU’s transition opportunities, look for the Longhorns’ size to give the Tigers’ interior offense issues. The 6-foot-9 Jericho Sims matches up well with Trendon Watford (12.7 points per game), LSU’s five-star freshman.

Pick: Texas +1.5


  • Odds: LSU -1.5 @ Texas
  • Over/Under: 143
  • Time: 2 p.m. ET
  • TV: ESPN

Shaka Smart is deservedly on the hot seat down in Austin as the whispers got a little louder after an embarrassing 38-point loss at West Virginia earlier this week, like Eli mentioned.

That said, this is the perfect time to buy low on the Horns and back them in a prime situational spot against an LSU team that I think is overvalued in the market. The Tigers sit in first place in the SEC with a perfect 6-0 conference record, but they’ve won five straight by four points or less and could easily only have one or two conference wins instead of six.

The sense of urgency should all be on the side of Texas for this late January non-conference matchup.

As for the game itself, Texas does have the size to match up with LSU in the interior and the Tigers don’t really have the outside shooting to exploit a vulnerable Texas perimeter defense.

Plus, the LSU defense doesn’t really exploit one of Texas’s main weaknesses of turning the ball over. The free throw shooting discrepancy in LSU’s favors is a bit worrying but I can’t pass up backing Texas as a home dog in a sweet situational spot where you should get its maximum effort.

Michael Calabrese

  • Odds: Belmont -1 at Austin Peay
  • Over/Under: 151.5
  • Time: 4:30 p.m. ET
  • TV: ESPN+

The Ohio Valley is a strong, albeit top-heavy, mid-major conference. In the past decade, the OVC can claim four NCAA tournament victories, three thanks to Murray State.

Despite the Racers’ March success, Belmont has actually been the top dog in the OVC since joining the conference in 2012. The Bruins’ 102-21 record in OVC play is tops in the conference in the last seven years.

This consistent dominance explains part of the reason that Belmont is a 1-point favorite on Saturday, despite Austin Peay’s impressive start in OVC play.

After a grueling non-conference slate, the Governors (13-7, 7-0) have reeled off seven straight victories by an average margin of 16.1 points per game.

APSU’s success in the win-loss column has been matched by their performance at the betting window. The Govs are 7-0 ATS during this OVC run.

It’s a shame that this game is on EPSN+, because the country deserves to see APSU’s Terry Taylor. The junior wing was recently named to the Lou Henson Award Midseason Watch List. Averaging 23.5 ppg and 9.4 rpg on 35% shooting from 3-point range, Taylor has gone for 30 or more in a quarter of APSU’s games this season. When he’s locked-in, scoring 23 or more, the Governors are 8-0 SU and 7-1 ATS.

Despite his superstar status, this game won’t just come down to Taylor. Belmont can really light it up (80.1 ppg, 9th), but APSU has been surprisingly effective at slowing top 100 offenses. In the Gov’s six games against top-100 scoring offenses, they held four opponents below their season scoring average including two SEC programs (Georgia, Arkansas).

The last ace in the hole for APSU is its advantage on the offensive glass. The Gov’s lead the OVC in offensive rebound percentage (32.7%, 31st nationally).

Will that rebounding advantage, Taylor and a sellout crowd at “The Big Red Barn” be enough to keep APSU perfect in OVC play? I’m banking on it.

Pick: APSU +1

Mike Randle

  • Odds: Memphis -5.5
  • Over/Under: 141
  • Time: 4 p.m. ET
  • TV: CBS Sports

This is a great situational bounceback spot for No. 20 Memphis (14-4) after suffering an embarrassing 80-40 loss at Tulsa, the worst loss by a ranked opponent to an unranked opponent in over 40 years.

The Tigers are 10-1 at home and most recently beat a tough Cincinnati team, 60-49. They have received a boost from the return of freshman Lester Quinones (10.5 ppg, 3.4 rpg) from a broken hand suffered in late November. Expect Memphis to shoot much better from 3P range after their abysmal 2 of 21 performance from deep against Tulsa.

SMU has not played well away from Dallas, losing consecutive games at East Carolina and Houston, failing to cover in both games. The Mustangs defense has struggled in conference play, ranking 10th in adjusted defensive efficiency and ninth in 3P percentage defense.

Memphis ranks first in 2P% defense in conference play, holding its opponents to 39.8% from inside the arc. The Tigers also dominate the boards, currently second among all AAC teams in defensive rebounding.

SMU does not force turnovers, which should allow Memphis to comfortably initiate their offense at home. With positive regression in 3P shooting likely, look for the Tigers to enjoy a comfortable bounceback win after their awful performance at Tulsa.

Pick: Memphis -5.5

Collin Wilson

  • Odds: Lipscomb +1.5
  • Over/Under: 152.5
  • Time: 5 p.m. ET
  • TV: ESPN+

If scoring is what you crave, there will be plenty in Nashville late Saturday afternoon.

North Florida and Lipscomb rank top 2 in the Atlantic Sun in scoring, both averaging over 70 points per game.

And there is a stark difference in the direction of both rosters midway through conference play. Lipscomb has lost four straight, a seven of nine games. While losses to Vermont and Auburn can be forgiven, this roster stuffed full of freshman has lost to multiple teams outside of the KenPom top 250.

The Osprey have plenty of seniors leading the way and have won five of six. The latest victory over Liberty, a top 60 team, shows an experienced roster that ranks 19th nationally in minutes continuity. The biggest difference in this game is when North Florida has the ball.

Lipscomb is 320th nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency, something the Osprey should easily exploit. North Florida loves to shoot from deep, ranking No. 1 in the county in point distribution from beyond the arc. Factor in a national rank in the top 25 in 3-point shooting percentage and its easy to see why North Florida averages 77 points per game.

Lipscomb is the worst team in the Atlantic Sun in 3-point defense, ranking 251st nationally.

North Florida is 10-1 against the number on the road in comparison to Lipscomb at 2-4 against the spread at home. Look for an experienced Osprey team to be merciless from deep in a track meet against a Lipscomb roster full of struggling freshman.

Pick: North Florida -1.5 or better

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