College Basketball Betting Picks: Our Staff’s 7 Favorite Bets for Saturday
Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Nick Weatherspoon
- Let our college basketball staff guide you through Saturday's 143-game slate with their favorite bets.
- Whether you're looking for an Ivy League side or an inflated total, you should be able to find a bet you like.
Need help navigating a 143-game college basketball card? Look no further.
Our staff members have compiled their favorite bets for Saturday’s games, including some ugly underdogs, short favorites and a total that’s just way too high. Let’s get into it.
Ken Barkley: Wake Forest-UNC Under 157
- North Carolina -16 at Wake Forest
- Time: 12 p.m. ET
- TV: ACC Network
This number may actually get even bigger by tip, which would be a dream. Wake is one of the more atrocious offensive teams you’ll see in major college basketball.
It can’t make 2’s. It can’t make 3’s. The one thing it can do is rebound, and that is problematic, because North Carolina is the best team in the conference at not allowing offensive rebounds.
The ways Wake can score in this game are extremely limited, despite the pace figuring to be heated. I think North Carolina may have to score 100 for this game to go over, and while that’s possible, it’s unlikely.
This is the sandwich game for UNC between Virginia and Duke, and I don’t think there’s any message-sending in the works in a noon start in Winston-Salem.
A comfortable UNC win probably means things are a little slower down the stretch, and Ol’ Roy can start preparing his team for Coach K and company Wednesday night.
Rather than play UNC at a monster number, I’ll play the blowout in a different way here.
Eli Hershkovich: Oklahoma State +12
- Oklahoma State at Texas -12
- Time: 1 p.m. ET
- TV: CBS
Texas (11-14 against the spread) is due for a bounce-back performance following a loss to Kansas State on Tuesday, but the Cowboys (8-16 ATS) are coming off four consecutive outright losses themselves.
Mike Boynton’s squad collected a 3-point win over the Longhorns on Jan. 8, shooting 8 of 19 from behind the arc.
It’s continued to blitz Big 12 opponents from behind the arc, shooting 37.2% from that vicinity while generating the highest scoring rate (37.2%). Texas has struggled to defend the perimeter, allowing the third-highest 3-point clip (36.0%).
Shaka Smart’s team should get some bets via the hefty moneyline, but look for Oklahoma State’s offense to keep it within single digits despite the revenge narrative.
John Ewing: Indiana +3
- Indiana at Minnesota -3
- Time: 2 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPN2
The Hoosiers are one of the least profitable teams against the spread this season, going 6-15 ATS (not all of their games had lines). Most bettors will ignore a team that consistently fails to cover but history suggest Indiana is undervalued on Saturday.
Teams like the Hoosiers that have covered 33% or less of their games have been profitable when facing a conference opponent with a winning against the spread record like Minnesota.
Bad ATS records lead to inflated lines, especially against opponents that have had success cashing tickets that season. Indiana hasn’t been kind to bettors most of the year but this is a good spot to buy-low on Archie Miller’s team.
Stuckey: Georgia +8
- LSU -8 at Georgia
- Time: 6 p.m. ET
- TV: SEC Network
Keep holding your nose because it’s time to fade LSU after its huge win at Rupp. Unfortunately, we have to do so with a dreadful Georgia team that is just 1-10 in SEC play.
Yes, LSU is a perfect 6-0 on the road against in conference play, but three of those wins came in overtime and one came on a controversial buzzer-beater the other night at Kentucky. LSU has been impressive, but it’s had plenty of fortune, which is why I think it is a little overvalued in the market right now.
This has letdown written all over it for a young team that ranks 325th in overall experience. Georgia at least has some length to compete on the offensive glass, where it should have some success. I think this goes down to the wire.
Danny Donahue: Harvard +2
- Harvard at Penn -2
- Time: 7 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPN+
There’s something about the Ivy League that seems to almost completely negate home-court advantage. Those smarties just don’t get fazed by playing in front of opposing crowds.
In our Bet Labs database, road teams in Ivy League matchups are 417-367-20 against the spread since 2005, with no other filters added. That record improves significantly if the team is an underdog, has a worse overall record, or is coming off a win — all of which can be said about Harvard today.
In fact, adding all three filters improves the above record to 62-38-3 (62%) ATS over the same span. Sign me up.
Mike Randle: Mississippi State -1.5
- Mississippi State -1.5 at Arkansas
- Time: 8:30 p.m. ET
- TV: SEC Network
The Bulldogs (17-7) provide great futures value for a team that can make a deep NCAA Tournament run. They have completed a brutal SEC stretch, losing close back-to-back home games to LSU and Kentucky.
Coach Ben Howland’s team ranks 27th in adjusted offensive efficiency while also rankings Top-20 in both block and steal percentage. The Bulldogs are super efficient on offense as well, shooting 37.5% from 3P overall and 51.4% from 2P in their conference games.
Arkansas is just 11-13 overall ATS and just 6-9 at home. With center Daniel Gafford playing through a back injury, the Razorbacks are second worst in the SEC in limiting offensive rebounds and only 10th against the 3P. That’s a bad combination against a big and balanced Mississippi State offense.
I’d give more than 1.5 for this March Madness darkhorse.
Steve Petrella: Gonzaga-San Diego Over 149
- Gonzaga -16 at San Diego
- Time: 10 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPN
These are two of the best shooting teams in the WCC, fully capable of holding up their ends of the bargain on this total. Gonzaga has been lighting it up in conference play with at least 85 points in all but three games.
Gonzaga also plays at one of the fastest paces in country on offense, and San Diego will need to pick up its tempo to keep up offensively. That’s what happened when these two teams met in early February, an 85-68 Zags win.