NCAAB Odds, Best Bets, Picks for Indiana vs Michigan, More
Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images. Pictured: Hunter Dickinson (Michigan)
We are just four Saturdays away from Champ Week.
March is going to be here before you know it, but it’s time to target the best value in the present.
With that in mind, our staff has four best bets for four major-conference games on Saturday.
Dive in below and get the top college basketball odds, best bets and picks to help you formulate your card.
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.|
UConn vs. Creighton
Connecticut‘s offense is heavily reliant on shot volume to overcome its lacking first-shot efficiency.
The Huskies hit the offensive glass at one of the highest rates in the nation, and it’s a significant advantage against teams that don’t have the size or interior presence to match up with them.
The Huskies are first in Big East play in offensive rebounding rate, but they’ll face a difficult challenge against Creighton on the glass. Since Big East play began, Creighton has the top defensive rebounding unit in the league.
Adama Sanogo got the better of Ryan Kalkbrenner in the first meeting, as he scored 26 points and also hit two 3s. It was one of the best games he’s had all year, but Connecticut still put up just 1.05 PPP in the game as a team.
The Huskies were held to nine offensive rebounds, their lowest offensive rebounding rate of the season.
On the other side of the ball, the athleticism and length of the Huskies’ defense bothered Creighton in the first meeting. The elite shot blocking and defensive presence of Donovan Clingan and Sanogo — combined with the ball pressure — really bothered the passing, finesse-heavy Bluejays offense.
Creighton won’t shoot that poorly from 3 again on its home floor, but it’s hard to score on UConn at the rim. The Huskies rank 19th in 3-point field goal percentage allowed and combine that with an elite rank of 25th in near-proximity field goal percentage allowed.
Easy points will be tough to come by in this matchup, and I’d play the under at 140 or better. It closed at 137 and flew under in the first meeting, too.
Pick: Under 142.5 (Play to 140)
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Rutgers vs. Illinois
This is a really good spot for Illinois, which had an entire week off since its two-point loss at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Meanwhile, Rutgers is coming off a loss at Indiana on Thursday. More importantly, the Scarlet Knights lost Mawot Mag for the season, which is a big loss for them considering he’s their second-best defensive rebounder and leads the team in shooting at almost 56% from inside the arc.
The thing is, Rutgers is one of the best defensive teams in the country, but its one main weakness is it’s 12th in Big Ten play in defensive rebounding percentage.
And like I already mentioned, the Scarlet Knights just lost their second-best defensive rebounder.
Illinois ranks third in the Big Ten in offensive rebounding percentage, so it should be able to score a lot of second-chance points.
The other problem for Rutgers here is I don’t know how it’s going to be effective offensively. The Scarlet Knights don’t take a high number of 3-pointers, and a lot of their shots are coming from post-up sets or at the rim.
Illinois is second-best in the country in PPP allowed at the rim, per ShotQuality, so I’m not sure how Rutgers’ offense is going to be effective on the road.
Additionally, per Haslametrics, Rutgers ranks dead last in the country in terms of the efficiency differential between its performances on the road compared to at home.
So, I love Illinois at home on a full week of rest against a shorthanded Rutgers squad.
Pick: Illinois -4.5 (Play to -6.5)
Alabama vs. Auburn
By D.J. James
The Auburn Tigers host the Alabama Crimson Tide on Saturday.
Alabama owns a top-15 Adjusted Offensive Efficiency, per KenPom, while Auburn trails at 60th. That said, the Tigers have the 144th-ranked Adjusted Tempo, while Bama owns the top spot.
Auburn is also 15-9 on overs so far this season, while the Crimson Tide are 11-13. There’s much more of a trend here for Auburn.
These teams may both prosper defensively, but Alabama shoots a ton of 3s. It ranks ninth in the nation in 3-point attempt percentage and knocks down 35.3% of them. The Tide are also shooting 52.7% inside the perimeter.
Auburn is holding opponents to 27.2% from deep, but per ShotQuality, it ranks 229th in Rim-and-3 Rate defensively and 87th in Open-3 Rate.
Basically, the Crimson Tide will have their pick on when to find an open look.
Auburn primarily looks to get the ball inside, as it owns a 36% 3-point attempt percentage. Alabama ranks 160th in Open-3 Rate.
In addition, the Tide tend to foul slightly less often on defense, but it still ranks 197th in free-throw attempt rate. The Tigers rank 315th in that same category.
These teams will be hacking each other all game long, especially if they’re getting out in transition and pushing the pace.
Although opponents are not shooting necessarily well against either defense, these two offenses can exploit what the other team gives them in this matchup for an over to hit.
Pick: Over 148.5 (Play to 150)
Indiana vs. Michigan
Nobody bought into Indiana more than I did last weekend. I invested in a Hoosiers future ahead of their two-game stretch against a pair of ranked opponents at home. They did indeed take care of business against both Purdue and Rutgers.
Now it might be time to sell high after those two massive victories.
Not only has Indiana played significantly better in the friendly confines of Bloomington (362nd in Away From Home metric, per Haslametrics), but I still maintain the Wolverines have one of the most underrated home court advantages in the country.
Since 2005, Michigan has gone 98-68-2 (59%) at home in league play; only South Dakota State has turned a bigger profit in that situation.
You may see the Wolverines get a few more calls than usual here in the post, which is important against an Indiana post-defense that Hunter Dickinson can exploit.
From a matchup perspective, Indiana thrives in second-chance opportunities. It ranks second in the country in second-chance conversion percentage, per Haslametrics.
Well, Michigan’s defense ranks second in that same category.
Keep in mind the Hoosiers may get Xavier Johnson back. While that will provide a big boost come March, it may throw off their rhythm in his first game back. I’m sure he may have some rust to shake off, as well.
Indiana will have some success in transition and in the pick-and-roll — two areas Michigan really struggles to defend — but I think the Wolverines pull out a huge resume-boosting win.
Pick: Michigan -2.5
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