Saturday NCAAB Odds & Picks: Stuckey’s 8 Spots, Featuring North Carolina vs. Duke

Saturday NCAAB Odds & Picks: Stuckey’s 8 Spots, Featuring North Carolina vs. Duke article feature image

Photo by Bryan Bennett/Getty Images. Pictured: Armando Bacot (North Carolina)

  • Saturday is here and that means Stuckey is back to offer up the eight best situational spots for college hoops.
  • The expert is diving into some of the biggest matchups of the loaded slate, including an ACC rivalry.
  • Jump in below and formulate your NCAAB betting card now.

Each week I share my favorite circled spots for each Saturday college hoops card.

I write this article before openers (referenced below) have settled once limits open up, so make sure to follow along in the Action Network App to see what I end up betting since the value in the number holds the most weight.

I'll also close with a few quick blurbs on some other games that caught my eye.

Let's dive in.

YTD: 12-7 (63.2%) +4.56 units

Virginia Tech (+1) vs. Virginia

Noon ET on ESPN2

In the interest of full transparency, I have a betting crush on the Hokies, who finished as my most profitable team in any sport in 2022.

A large part of that came as a result of riding them from about this point forward through the ACC Tournament.

After a late January loss to Miami dropped them to 3-7 in the ACC, the Hokies won nine of their next 11 to close out the regular season. Then Virginia Tech reeled off four consecutive victories in Brooklyn, NY, to win the ACC Tournament.

Well, I plan on doing the same (depending on the price obviously) again this year after a 3-8 start to ACC play. This starts on Saturday against in-state rival Virginia.

The Hokies have been snake-bitten at the end of games and are just a different team on both ends of the floor with Hunter Cattoor (0-4 without him) back from injury.

The Hoos are undoubtedly very good, but I believe we are at the peak of their market value.

I think the Hokies get their revenge in Blacksburg.

Oklahoma State (-1) vs. TCU

2 ET on ESPN+

As my only preseason national title future, the Horned Frogs remain my pick to cut down the nets in early April, assuming Mike Miles Jr. returns from an injury before March.

They did pick up a semi-impressive win in their first full game without Miles, but that came at home (with revenge) against a West Virginia team that basically sat two key starters for the majority of the second half.

Plus, it's not uncommon to see everyone else step up in the first game without a star player. We might not see the same productivity in this particular spot, especially on the road.

In that victory over West Virginia, TCU got everything and anything it wanted at the rim. It's a very rim-reliant offense that struggles to shoot it from the outside.

That could spell doom against an elite Oklahoma State defense that only allows opponents to convert 47.5% of their near-proximity attempts, per Haslametrics. That's the second-best mark in the country.

The Pokes also rank in the 91st percentile nationally against offensive rebounding put-backs, which the TCU offense relies upon.

The one relatively weak area of the Oklahoma State defense is in transition. That would normally be a major concern against a full strength TCU team, but it's just not the same potent attack without Miles leading the break.

Lastly, Eddie Lampkin Jr. still didn't look fully healthy the other night for the Frogs. Meanwhile, 7-foot-1 Moussa Cisse finally did for Oklahoma State, scoring 18 points in 18 minutes.

I think the Pokes grind out a win at home on the backs of their smothering rim defense.

Monmouth (+7) vs. Drexel

2 ET on ESPN+

Monmouth gets a rematch with Drexel after getting embarrassed 67-35 in Philly earlier this season.

Meanwhile, the Dragons could get caught sleepwalking after pulling off a big upset over Charleston on Thursday night.

Monmouth is a horrible basketball team, but it has won two straight and is playing its best basketball of the season by far.

Plus, don't forget this Drexel team recently lost on the road to a trio of bad teams in NC A&T, Elon and Stony Brook.

Indiana (+1.5) vs. Purdue

4 ET on ESPN

I've faded Purdue more than any other team in the country this season with a mixed bag of results at 5-4 ATS. I'm going back to the well on Saturday in my favorite pure situational spot of the day.

I do think the Boilermakers are at the top of their market value, which is why their opponents have recently taken sharp money.

Purdue has benefited from quite a bit of good luck in a few different categories.

Not only has Purdue gone 6-1 in games decided by five points or less, but furthermore, it has also benefited from facing a number of teams with key players missing.

Opponents also seemingly can't hit an open jumper. The Boilermakers' defense ranks in the 98th percentile in points per possession allowed on unguarded catch-and-shoot jumpers.

If Mason Gillis goes 9-of-12 from 3 again, Indiana will likely lose this game and I'll simply tip my cap.

Syracuse (-2.5) at Boston College

5 ET on ACC Network

On the surface, this is a decent buy-low, sell-high spot. Syracuse is coming off three straight losses against quality competition, while Boston College just upset first-place Clemson.

More importantly, this is just a nightmare matchup for Boston College against the Orange 2-3 zone.

Per Synergy, the Eagles rank in the 33rd percentile in zone offense, which makes complete sense when you look at their statistical profile:

  • They don't attempt many 3s (335th in 3PA rate).
  • When they do, they don't make them (343rd in 3P%).
  • They are not a great passing team (273rd in assist rate).
  • And finally, they struggle on the offensive glass (229th in OR%).

Add all of those together and you have a recipe for failure against the second-heaviest zone defense in the country, which explains why Syracuse cruised to a 14-point victory in their first meeting.

I've also liked some of the things I've seen from Cuse lately. It should also get Benny Williams back on Saturday (I think).

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Mississippi State (-3) vs. Missouri

6 ET on SEC Network

I think it's a decent time to sell Missouri after three straight wins in league play, with two coming against the messes of LSU and Ole Miss.

Plus, in those three victories, the Tigers shot a ridiculous 43-of-87 (49.4%) from 3. No, that's not a typo.

Talk about looming shooting regression ahead of a date with the absolutely smothering defense of Mississippi State, which ranks 10th in Adjusted Efficiency. The Bulldogs pretty much excel across the board on that end, outside of the defensive glass — which is not an area of strength for Missouri.

While the Mississippi State defense is tremendous, the offense can go through massive droughts. The Bulldogs simply can't shoot.

However, they've looked a bit better on that end in recent weeks and will now get to face a pretty poor Missouri defense, especially away from home.

Lastly, even if the shots aren't falling (as usual) for the Bulldogs, they will enjoy a massive edge on the offensive glass. They rank 15th in the nation in that category and will go up against a Missouri defense that ranks 361st in that same statistic.

Only Merrimack and Morgan State allow a higher percentage of offensive rebounds to opposing teams.

That's the biggest mismatch in this game and ultimately what I believe will decide the outcome.

North Carolina (+3.5) at Duke

6:30 ET on ESPN

This North Carolina team has pretty much disappointed since the beginning of the season, as the nucleus from last year's national title runner-up squad just can't seem to put it all together consistently.

I believe part of that has to do with that run last year. The Heels know how good they can be after making that run as a No. 8 seed, which has led to some complacency.

However, in this particular spot, you should get the veteran group's best effort. The Heels have won countless big games on the biggest stages together, including the two most recent games against Duke in Coach K's final home game at Cameron and then in his final overall game in the Final Four.

You could go with the revenge narrative for Duke, but this is a completely different team.

In fact, that narrative may actually fire up the Heels more.

I ultimately think this game comes down to the wire, so I would love to catch a few possessions. The experience of UNC in these types of games should go a long way in this atmosphere against a still very raw Duke offense.

The Blue Devils rely heavily on the offensive glass for consistent offense, but the Heels can neutralize that strength with their excellence on the defensive boards.

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Eastern Kentucky vs. Kennesaw State

7 ET on ESPN+

It might be finally time to fade one of college basketball's most surprising teams this year: Kennesaw State. Winners of eight straight, the Owls currently sit atop the ASUN standings with Liberty.

However, they've been a bit fortunate in a number of their road wins. Two of their last three victories away from home came in overtime, with the other coming by two points.

Meanwhile, EKU has been absolutely dynamite at home this season. Its press also could cause extra issues for a Kennesaw team coming off of a double-overtime win this past Thursday night.

And for the season, it hasn't owned a great press offense.

Other Quick Thoughts

  • Oregon has revenge coming off a loss and Arizona State has a pathetic zone offense.
  • Appalachian State catches James Madison off of a win over rival ODU and can limit the Dukes from getting to the rim, which will completely stymie their offense.
  • Saint Mary's is the clear class of the WCC, which seems odd to say out loud for the first season ever. Gonzaga has major issues on defense (2nd percentile in post defense), which the Gaels can exploit.
  • Florida will be an interesting underdog in Lexington. Head coach Todd Golden has that defense playing at an elite level right now. Per KenPom, the Gators' defense now ranks in the top-10 nationally in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency, Effective FG% and 2P%. Golden will also have a huge coaching edge over John Calipari from a schematic perspective. Plus, the Kentucky backcourt is dealing with a few nagging injuries right now.

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Nick Sterling
May 17, 2024 UTC