NCAAB Best Bets: Saturday Odds, Picks for BYU vs. Saint Mary’s & More
Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images. Pictured: Mark Pope (BYU)
If you’re looking for college basketball betting value on Saturday, you’ve come to the right place.
Our staff is targeting three different games and four best bets on yet another massive day of hoops.
So, dive in now to get the top college basketball odds, best bets and picks for BYU vs. Saint Mary’s and more.
Saturday’s 4 College Basketball Best Bets
The team logos in the table below represent each of the matchups that our college basketball staff is targeting from Saturday’s slate of games. Click the team logos for one the matchups below to navigate to a specific bet discussed in this article.
|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.|
Notre Dame vs. Virginia
By D.J. James
Virginia and Notre Dame run at two of the slowest paces in the country, let alone the ACC.
The Virginia Cavaliers rank 361st, per KenPom’s Adjusted Tempo metric. They utilize 19.4 seconds per possession on offense and 18.7 seconds per possession on defense.
The Fighting Irish hold a similar ranking, coming in at 315th while using up 19.1 seconds per possession.
ND does have some issues on defense, so teams have the option to run a bit faster against it. Notre Dame ranks 309th in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency, per KenPom, while UVA ranks 26th.
That said, the Irish can rebound on defense. They rank 46th in the nation, holding opponents to a 25.1% rebounding clip.
However, Notre Dame struggles on the offensive glass, pulling down boards at a 20.4% clip.
UVA is shockingly similar. It rebounds at a 25.6% rate on offense and holds opponents to 25.7% on the offensive glass.
Simply put, neither team likes getting out in transition. If they’re limited to one shot per trip down the floor, this game lines up perfectly for an under.
Notre Dame also only shoots 3s. It ranks 50th in the country at 42.8% from deep. Virginia allows plenty of 3-point attempts (39.3%), but it ranks 40th in Rim & 3 Rate, per ShotQuality.
Essentially, the Hoos will limit the Irish in nearly every other area.
Lastly, ND ranks 26th in free-throw attempt rate on defense, while the Cavaliers sit 29th. Neither team will send the other to the line, which also points us to the under.
Pick: Under 129.5 (Play to 128)
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Texas A&M vs. Missouri
This is my favorite buy-low/sell-high spot on the board.
Missouri comes home after suffering a 33-point beatdown at Auburn, while Texas A&M staged a late comeback to beat Arkansas for its fourth straight victory.
Missouri also has revenge on its mind from an earlier season loss in College Station. The Tigers lost by 18, but that was a misleading final in a game I graded as a four-point A&M victory.
Missouri simply couldn’t hit a 3 (7-of-31), while the Aggies — a much worse outside shooting team — drained 10-of-23 from deep.
The Tigers have plenty of firepower from the outside and will certainly get plenty of looks once again from beyond the arc against an A&M squad that allows the 15th-highest 3PA rate in the country.
The Tigers also don’t turn it over at a high frequency, which is important against A&M’s pressure. The Tigers handled the pressure well in the first meeting.
Meanwhile, they forced the Aggies into plenty of turnovers on the other end, which should get their transition game going.
I’m more than happy to back the Tigers in this spot at home, where they’ve played much better all season in front of rejuvenated crowds in Columbia.
I also believe this marks the peak of the market on a Texas A&M team that has benefited from the easiest conference slate of any SEC team to date.
Lastly, I didn’t even mention the potential lookahead for the Aggies, who have Tennessee at home on deck.
The Aggies will undoubtedly dominate the offensive glass, but expect the 3-point variance to go Missouri’s way in a great bounce-back home spot.
Pick: Missouri -1
Missouri lost by what felt like 7,000 points at Auburn on Tuesday, while Texas A&M yet again erased a double-digit deficit to win and cover at home against Arkansas.
This Texas A&M team is incredibly reliant on getting to the free-throw line and grabbing offensive rebounds. However, it’s below average at everything else.
Now, Missouri is terrible in those two categories defensively, but the Tigers are a top-30 team in PPP in defending in transition, defending mid-range jumpers and defending isolation sets, which are all areas Texas A&M utilizes heavily on offense.
On the other end, Missouri boasts a really good offense that attacks the rim at a high rate while converting on 64% of those shots. Meanwhile, Texas A&M is allowing close to 60% on shot attempts at the rim.
Missouri is also hitting over 34% from deep in conference play and ranks top-40 nationally in open 3-point rate. Texas A&M features a decent 3-point defense, but it’s middle-of-the-pack in 3-point rate allowed.
Also, the free-throw variance for Texas A&M is just absurd. The Aggies are hitting 75% of their free throws, but opponents are making just 68% from the line in conference play.
Missouri has lost only two games at home this season: Kansas and Alabama. I like this spot for the Tigers.
Pick: Missouri -1 (Play to -3)
BYU vs. Saint Mary’s
We’re hoping for a little expected regression from both teams here.
BYU ranks 348th in KenPom’s “Luck” metric, indicating better play on the court than the Cougars’ record indicates.
In BYU’s two prior cracks at the top teams in the WCC, the Cougars lost one-point games to both Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s.
BYU enters having lost three straight, yet there’s hope for shooting regression here, as well. In their last four games, the Cougars have hit just 26% from 3-point range while being hit with hot-shooting barrages from Pepperdine and Santa Clara.
Saint Mary’s, meanwhile, is holding a narrow lead over Gonzaga at the top of the conference, with a season-finale trip to Spokane that could decide if the title is the Gaels’ alone or is shared with Gonzaga.
In order to set up that matchup, Saint Mary’s needs to survive two home games, including this date with BYU.
The late stages of conference play have been a high-wire act for Randy Bennett’s boys, with three of the Gaels’ last five wins coming by a single possession or in overtime.
BYU lost this game by just one last time these teams met. With a few indicators pointing their way, we’ll take the Cougars to keep it inside single digits.
Pick: BYU +10.5
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