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College Basketball Odds, Best Bets: Our Top 3 Picks for Saturday, Including Iowa State vs. Texas

College Basketball Odds, Best Bets: Our Top 3 Picks for Saturday, Including Iowa State vs. Texas article feature image
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Photo by M. Anthony Nesmith/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Jase Febres & Courtney Ramey (Texas)

  • Another Saturday means another massive college basketball slate.
  • Our staff came through with three of their best bets for today's games, including Kansas State vs. Texas Tech and Iowa State vs. Kansas..
  • Check out all three of our top picks below.

If you love to watch and/or bet on college basketball, Saturday’s during conference play is the next best thing after Championship Week and March Madness.

While there are still some COVID-19 cancellations sprinkled into this weekend’s slate, this is the first massive Saturday schedule without any off-the-court issues — or football — capturing the storylines.

With that in mind, our staff has three best bets for this big day in hoops, including two Big 12 affairs and a critical SEC showdown.


Saturday’s College Basketball Best Bets

The team logos in the table below represent each of the matchups that our college basketball staff is targeting from today’s slate of games. Click the team logos for one the matchups below to navigate to a specific bet discussed in this article.

Game
Time
Pick
12 p.m. ET
Kansas State +4.5
1 p.m. ET
Tennessee +5.5
2 p.m. ET
Texas ML -135
Specific bet recommendations come from the sportsbook offering preferred odds as of writing. Always shop for the best price using our NCAAB Odds page, which automatically surfaces the best lines for every game.

Texas Tech vs. Kansas State

Saturday, Jan. 15
12 p.m. ET
ESPN2
Kansas State +4.5

By Stuckey

What a past seven days it’s been for the Red Raiders, who have wins over Kansas, Baylor and Oklahoma State — all without one of their best players. Impressive stuff.

However, it might now be time to sell in a very sleepy spot for a noon tip in Manhattan.

While Texas Tech may come out a little flat after three massive efforts (with a rematch against Iowa State on deck), I expect a desperate effort from a Kansas State team that has lost four straight to fall to 0-4 in Big 12 play.

Despite the losing streak, Bruce Weber’s bunch has still been very scrappy. They’ve just come up a tad short in a number of games with three of those four losses coming by three points or less — two of which came away from home.

From a matchup perspective, the Wildcats haven’t been coughing up the basketball, as they own the lowest turnover rate in conference play. That’s important against a Texas Tech defense that ranks first in that category.

They’ve also excelled in transition D, where Texas Tech has thrived when it gets a chance to get out and run.

Also, keep in mind that Texas Tech struggles from the free-throw line, which could come into play late.

Yes, the Red Raiders should see Terrence Shannon Jr. return to the lineup on Saturday, but that could actually work against them in his first action in over a month. He will likely have to shake off the rust and work his way back into the lineup.

Can’t keep a animal in a cage for too long 😮‍💨 back with the gang tomorrow 🥷🏽

— Terrence Shannon Jr (@Sn1per_T) January 14, 2022

This is my favorite sell-high spot on the board.

Pick: Kansas State +4.5



Tennessee vs. Kentucky

Saturday, Jan. 15
1 p.m. ET
ESPN
Tennessee +5.5

By Doug Ziefel

The Wildcats are getting a lot of love here for this marquee SEC matchup, but it may be too much.

Now, the Kentucky offense can’t be discounted, as it’s eighth in adjusted offensive efficiency and has perhaps the best rebounder in the country in Oscar Tshiebwe.

Though, for all of Kentucky’s offensive accolades, its opponent, the Tennessee Volunteers, present just as many on the defensive end.

The Volunteers are second in adjusted defensive efficiency and sixth defensive turnover percentage. Not to mention, they are a solid rebounding team, and have the size with John Fulkerson and Olivier Nkamhoua to bang with Tshiebwe down low.

This line is about a possession too high for Kentucky in an SEC matchup.

Let’s not forget its offense went ice cold against a stout LSU team down the stretch, and its defense was unable to force consistent stops against Notre Dame.

Tennessee has proven to be a well-rounded team that can be consistent on both ends of the floor.

Back the Vols on the road here.

Pick: Tennessee +5.5 (Play to +3.5)



Texas vs. Iowa State

Saturday, Jan. 15
2 p.m. ET
ESPN+
Texas ML -135

By BJ Cunningham

I have a lot of concerns with the Iowa State offense right now. If we go back to last Wednesday when it played Texas Tech — which only had seven players available — at home, Iowa State went 15-of-49 from the field and turned the ball over 18 times.

Then, the Cyclones went on the road to Oklahoma this past weekend, went up by double digits in the second half, and then allowed Oklahoma to go on a 23-4 run to end the game.

Then, this past Tuesday, they went into Allen Fieldhouse and played very well — you could make a case that they deserved to win that game.

Texas couldn’t buy a bucket in its loss to Oklahoma State last Saturday, and if you go back and look at the shot quality, the postgame win expectancy was close to 50%, despite the Longhorns losing by 13 and scoring only 51 points.

However, this is going to be a slow, pragmatic game played in the half-court. Texas is 354th in tempo, while Iowa State is 240th, per KenPom.

The Longhorns are in the top 20% of college basketball in PPP in half-court offense, and a lot of their points come inside the arc.

That gives them an advantage in this game because Iowa State is an elite 3-point defense but sits 97th in 2-point field goal percentage allowed and 340th in field goal percentage allowed at the rim.

Texas is an incredible defensive team — ranking fifth in the country in PPP allowed in half-court man-to-man defense (per Synergy) — while Iowa State is 139rd in adjusted offensive efficiency and well below average in the half-court.

So, I love this matchup for the Longhorns to win as slight favorites in Ames on Saturday.

Pick: Texas ML -125 (Play to -135)



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