Saturday College Basketball Odds, Best Bets: Our Staff’s Top 4 Picks, Including Alabama vs. Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s vs. Colorado State (Dec. 4)
Photo by Lance King/Getty Images. Pictured: Andrew Nembhard
- College football conference championship week may only offer 11 games to bet on Saturday, but that just means more nationally-televised college basketball to bet on instead.
- Saturday's college basketball card is loaded with compelling non-conference action, including a top-15 showdown in Gonzaga vs. Alabama, one of our staff's best bets of the day.
- Below, find updated college basketball odds for Saturday, Dec. 4, including our game predictions and betting picks for each of our staff's four best bets of the day.
Another Saturday means another long, entertaining day of betting college basketball.
This weekend’s slate doesn’t have a Duke-Gonzaga or Villanova-UCLA, but the Zags are in action against No. 16 Alabama while other juicy matchups are littered throughout the day.
That’s where our staff comes into play. They are ready to get you set for each and every window (from noon to 8 p.m. ET) with four best bets.
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.
|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.|
Clemson vs. Miami
By D.J. James
Neither Clemson, nor Miami (FL) has had a great start to the 2021-2022 campaign, but the two will face each other to start ACC competition.
Miami is coming off of a gritty victory over Penn State in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, while Clemson dropped a game to Rutgers at the RAC.
Even if this game is in Coral Gables, Clemson should have a slight advantage.
Miami is awful on defense. The Hurricanes rank 136th in defensive efficiency and do not have the defensive artillery to match up with PJ Hall down low. Hall is Clemson’s best player and he will be defended by Sam Waardenburg, who is essentially a space-filler in the post for Miami.
Hall can win off of the bounce and behind the arc, as he is hitting over 40% from downtown this season. Look for the Tigers to exploit this edge.
In addition, Clemson has the guards on defense to match up with the offensive firepower of Kameron McGusty, Isaiah Wong and Charlie Moore.
The Tigers put forth Nick Honor, Al-Amir Dawes and David Collins to match up with the three of them. Considering how Honor and Collins both average at least 1.5 steals per game and Miami is keen on turning the ball over, there should be a slight advantage to Clemson in this department, too.
Clemson should be the favorite in this one.
Pick: Clemson +1.5 (Play to -1.5)
Louisville vs. NC State
Louisville and NC State both begin their ACC campaigns Saturday afternoon at PNC Arena. These teams enter conference play in different fashions following the Big Ten/ACC Challenge earlier in the week.
Louisville was beat up pretty good by Michigan State in East Lansing. The Cardinals turned the ball over 16 times and shot 25% from the 3-point stripe. Sophomore Dre Davis was a bright spot in the loss, going for 15 points on 7-of-12 shooting.
Meanwhile, the Wolfpack will look to add another victory on their home stand after picking up an emotional four-overtime win over Nebraska on Wednesday night. Sophomore Dereon Seabron continues to turn heads this season, going for 39 and 19 against the Cornhuskers.
This line opened with the Cardinals as a two-point favorite and currently sits at -2.5. I like this spot as a good bounce back opportunity for Louisville.
The Cardinals are playing very well defensively to start the year, currently holding opponents to 42% from the field. Seabron will be the focal point of the defensive game plan, as so much of the NC State offense runs through him.
North Carolina State burnt a ton of energy in the four-overtime battle just three days prior, and the Pack are already a bit banged up as is, only going eight deep. I think you’ll see a focused Louisville team head to Raleigh looking to get off to a strong start in conference play.
I locked in the Cardinals at -2.5 and would play it up to -3 or as a money line parlay piece.
Pick: Louisville -2.5 (Play to -3)
Saint Mary’s vs. Colorado State
To me, this is the perfect spot to buy Colorado State at home against an overvalued Saint Mary’s team.
The Gaels like to slow the pace down and play in a grinder of a game. They rank 329th in tempo and fifth in adjusted defense efficiency. They feel most comfortable when possessions are limited and the shot clock is taken down time after time.
This game plan has worked against teams like Oregon and Utah State, where SMC won outright in low-scoring games. The Gaels even took Wisconsin down to the wire, too. But this is an experienced and powerful Colorado State offense that makes plays all over the floor.
The Rams like to push the pace when they can and are efficient in doing so. They rank fifth in 3-point percentage, eighth on 2-point field goals and rarely turn the ball over. This is a well-oiled machine led by star David Roddy, who averages 21.1 points per game and takes over 30% of the team’s shots while on the floor.
Colorado State also has three other players — Isaiah Stevens, John Tonje and Dischon Thomas — that average double figures. The Rams have enough weapons to break down this Saint Mary’s defense and dictate how the pace of the game will be played.
To me, the home-court advantage will go a long way for Colorado State. The Rams are the better team from top to bottom.
Saint Mary’s only hope is limiting transition opportunities and slowing the game down significantly. But if the Rams build an early lead and continue to attack — which I expect will be the case — this has the makings of a double-digit win.
Back Colorado State in its biggest game of the season thus far. Moby Arena will be rocking, and so will the Rams’ offense.
Pick: Colorado State -3.5 (Play to -5)
Alabama vs. Gonzaga
If you’ve watched a Gonzaga or Alabama game this season, you know that both like to play at a blistering pace.
Gonzaga ranks eighth and Alabama sits at 19th in terms of average offensive possession length. That’s because each team wants to get out in transition and push the tempo at any opportunity they get.
Gonzaga is averaging 87 points per game this season and has scored 80 or more in every game except for last time out against Tarleton State. The Bulldogs own the No. 2 offensive efficiency ranking in the country and are hitting 61% of their field goal attempts.
The offense has connected on an astonishing 66.6% of its 2-point attempts, thanks to the big man tandem of Drew Timme and Chet Holmgren.
Alabama’s offense is also among the top in the nation, owning the 11th-best offensive efficiency rating. The Crimson Tide are averaging 86 points per game while converting on 59.8% of their two-point attempts.
Junior guard Jaden Shackelford (18 PPG) is leading the offense, as he has hit 25-of-64 from 3-point territory.
Alabama thrives with transition buckets and will continue with that methodology, as scoring in the half court could prove to be a challenge against the trees down low for Gonzaga. It also doesn’t hurt that the Crimson Tide bomb away from downtown, as they’re averaging 29 3-point attempts per game.
The over/under is set high at 160, but this game will be a back-and-forth affair between two of the top offenses in the country. This matchup has the potential to be one of the highest scoring games of the season.
Pick: Over 160.5 (Play to 162)
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