College Basketball Bottom of the Barrel Picks: Best Saturday Mid-Major Games to Bet
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- Mid-major college basketball is in full swing on Saturday.
- Keg opens the tap and delivers five picks for bettors on a full slate of college hoops.
- Check out his picks and detailed breakdowns below.
Bottom of the Barrel · Week 3
Low- to Mid-Major College Basketball Picks for Saturday, Dec. 4
When I had my first interview with Ryan Collinsworth — the college sports senior editor for the Action Network — one of the first things he asked me was what my favorite thing to bet on was. While it may be the best interview question I've ever had, it was also the easiest:
Low- to mid-major basketball.
It's always been fascinating to me; everyone knows the blue bloods, the big names, but what about the Campbell Fighting Camels? What about the guy who averaged 25 points a game in JUCO last year?
Many people overlook the lower college basketball conferences, but it's something I've enjoyed, and I've had success betting on these less popular programs.
So, let's move to the “Extra/Added” page of the sportsbook oddsboard and take a look at some of the games that no one is talking about on Saturday's Week 3 college basketball slate.
Oakland vs. IUPUI
The Horizon League is my favorite mid-major conference, and it isn't close. Is it because I lived off betting Northern Kentucky for two years? Maybe, but the fact remains that it's some of the most under-appreciated basketball in the country.
Oakland will make the trip to Indianapolis on Saturday to take on IUPUI in the second biggest possible conference mismatch within this league.
The Oakland Grizzlies are 6-2 on the season and currently lead the conference, while the IUPUI Jaguars are 1-6 and second to last, ahead of only Robert Morris.
In the Grizzlies' last game against UIC, five different players finished in double figures en route to their 81-77 win to start league play.
Leading the Grizzlies has been Jamal Cain — who was named MVP of the Gulf Coast Showcase, while also being the most recent winner of the Lou Henson National Player of the Week Award.
Cain is one of only two players in the country averaging more than 22 points and 11 rebounds a game. He's also 19th in the country in steals per game, while being tied sixth in college basketball for double-doubles this season.
Oakland is 6-2 ATS this season, while IUPUI comes into this game at just 2-4. And while it can't be ignored that this will be Oakland's first game as a favorite of more than three points, the Jaguars are awful.
I don't have a problem taking the Grizzlies here, and I would take them as high as -17.
Pick: Oakland -14.5 (Play to -17)
Miami (OH) vs. Indiana State
When some people think of Miami, they think of beaches and an excellent Cuban sandwich. When I think of Miami, I think of a small town outside of Cincinnati and one of the top-50 most experienced college basketball teams.
The Miami of Ohio Redhawks will travel to Terre Haute on Saturday to take on the Indiana State Sycamores. Miami (OH) enters this matchup off of a hard-fought loss against longtime rival Cincinnati, while Indiana State has lost its last four games by an average of 18 points.
Indiana State's three wins have come against Green Bay (in its first game of the season), a non-Division I program in Hanover and Old Dominion (77-36) in an MTE event where the Sycamores seemed unable to miss.
But with that said I think Miami (OH) is clearly the better team here, as displayed most recently against Cincinnati (they lost by one point). The Redhawks are a 2.5-point favorite, and I would take them all the way up to -3.
Pick: Miami (OH) -2.5 (Play to -3)
Loyola Chicago vs. DePaul
On Saturday, the Red Line Rivalry's long-awaited return will occur after a hiatus of nearly a decade.
The Loyola Chicago Ramblers will venture across town to take on the DePaul Blue Demons. This rivalry was planned to revive last year, but was canceled due to COVID-19 related scheduling issues.
First-year head coach Tony Stubblefield may be new, but it doesn't take a seasoned vet to know the Ramblers have been the city of Chicago's college team for quite some time.
And what better way to make a name for yourself in the city than knocking off Sister Jean and her March Madness Cinderella team in your first meeting.
While Loyola returns four starters from last year's tournament team that went 26-5 on the season, it doesn't have Javon Freeman-Liberty.
Freeman-Liberty is must-see basketball and may be my favorite player overall right now. He's currently averaging 23.5 points, 9.2 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 2.2 steals per game — all of which rank top five in the Big East.
But playing the Ramblers will be no walk in Lincoln Park, as they're currently 6-2 on the season, with both losses coming against top-25 teams. The Ramblers rank 20th in college basketball, per KenPom, in adjusted defensive efficiency and fifth overall in effective field goal percentage.
With that being said, I think this is the game that the rest of the country firmly plants their eyes on Freeman-Liberty, and I expect him to put on a show. Therefore, I'm taking DePaul +5.5 and making a small wager on the moneyline as well.
Picks: DePaul +5.5 | DePaul ML
Bottom-of-the-Barrel Beverage Recommendation
And finally, our beverage recommendation for the weekend.
With two Chicago-based teams restoring the Red Line Rivalry, I can't tell you how much I'd like to bring Malört back into the spotlight. Unfortunately, I don't think my body can handle it.
Therefore we will be taking down another one of my favorites in Woodford Reserve, a rich bourbon with some hints of citrus.
With that said, let's have a Saturday and best of luck this weekend.