College Basketball Odds, Picks & Previews for Our Top 8 Games to Bet on Saturday
Bryan Lynn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Tennessee Volunteers forward Yves Pons (35).
College Basketball Odds, Picks & Previews
#8 Texas at #3 Kansas Odds & Pick
Mike Randle: While Texas (7-1) has gotten off to a great start, it’s worth noting it was 9-1 last year before losing four of its first six conference games.
I also question the quality of the Longhorns’ wins against teams earlier in the season. Its two-point neutral-court wins over a mediocre defensive Davidson team and a now 5-4 North Carolina team look much less impressive.
In contrast, Kansas is more battle-tested against Gonzaga, Creighton, West Virginia and Texas Tech.
I’m taking the Jayhawks to cover at home against a Longhorns team playing its first true road game of the season.
Pick: Kansas -4.5
#11 Creighton at Providence Odds & Pick
BJ Cunningham: The Bluejays’ pace-and-space offense allows for a ton of wide-open looks, because of how good they are with their ball movement. They take a ton of 3s, as 43.6% of their field goal attempts come from behind the arc, which is the 55th-highest rate in the country, per KenPom.
Nate Watson is one of the best big men in the Big East and will be a matchup problem for Creighton. However, the main reason Providence needs to get to rack is because 60% of its points come from 2-point range, and it’s awful from behind the arc.
The only way Providence is going to win this game is by slowing the pace of the game and getting the ball down low. Defensively, the Friars are also going to have to keep Creighton off the 3-point line if they want to have a chance to keep the Bluejays in check.
With Providence being at home, I think there’s a good chance it’ll control the pace of this game.
I have the total projected at 144.28, so I think there’s a little bit of value on Under 146.5 points.
#12 Missouri at Arkansas Odds & Pick
BJ Cunningham: The Tigers’ offense has sputtered the last two games, as they weren’t able to break the 60-point mark against Bradley and Tennessee. The main reason is that Missouri has built a house with all of its bricks from 3-point range.
- Keep the Tigers off the glass: Missouri is grabbing offensive rebounds at a 31.1% rate, so Arkansas needs to continue rebounding at a high rate.
- Force Missouri to shoot a ton of 3s: Obviously, the Tigers are terrible from 3, so if the Tigers end up taking 20-plus three-pointers in this game, Arkansas is going to win this game.
I think Tennessee exposed how fraudulent this Missouri team is on offense and it won’t be able to keep up with Arkansas offense. As long as the Razorbacks don’t settle for a lot of 3-pointers, they should be able to score at the rim with ease against the Tigers. I’ll take the red-hot Razorbacks offense at -5.5 to cover at home.
Pick: Arkansas -5.5
#10 Iowa at #14 Rutgers Odds & Pick
Tanner McGrath: In this matchup, I’m banking on points, points, points. The Iowa offense is very good, which will force Rutgers to score to stay competitive, and I like its chances against the Hawkeye defense. Additionally, all the trends point towards the over in this spot.
- The over is 5-2 in Iowa’s last seven road games.
- The over is 4-1 in Rutgers’ last five games.
- The over is 4-1 in the past five games between Iowa and Rutgers.
Picking a side in this game is too tough. It will be super competitive, and I would probably back Rutgers if it had Ron Harper Jr. I don’t think the Scarlet Knights will have a guy who can go bucket-for-bucket with Garza down the stretch if it comes to that.
Instead, I’m going to play the over in this spot. I’m trusting that Pikiell’s offense will keep up with Garza and company in an exciting high-scoring matchup.
LSU at Florida Odds & Pick
BJ Cunningham: LSU’s Achilles’ heel ever since Will Wade arrived has been its defense.
Last season, the Tigers ranked 179th in defensive efficiency. They have made positive strides in that category this season, though, entering Friday ranked 107th, per KenPom.
The biggest improvements have come in defending the 3-point shot. The Gators are only allowing opponents to shoot 26.7% from beyond the arc this season, compared to 34.5% a season ago. Florida shoots a very high percentage from deep, so LSU will need to continue defending the deep ball well on Saturday.
I think LSU’s offense should be able to dominate this game, especially from deep. If the Tigers can shoot a high percentage from 3-point range, I think they can win as short favorites, especially with Johnson out for Florida.
Pick: LSU ML +104
#9 West Virginia at Oklahoma Odds & Pick
Mike Randle: I haven’t seen enough from West Virginia to think it bucks its Big 12 road woes at Oklahoma.
Over the past three seasons, the Mountaineers have managed to cover only 31.6% of their conference road games.
The loss of Oscar Tshiebwe can be addressed, but the timing couldn’t be worse. There will be a huge adjustment in roles and responsibilities, which is a challenging variable against a disciplined Kruger team.
I expect this line to increase but will back the Sooners at home as a small favorite. I would play this line up to 2.5, projecting a huge bounce-back performance by Brady Manek.
Pick: Oklahoma -1.5
St. Bonaventure at Richmond Odds & Pick
Pat McMahon: The Bonnies match up pretty well defensively here, starting with Osun Osunniyi down low. He can make life difficult for Golden and force the Spiders’ guards to beat them on the perimeter.
This plays into another one of its strengths, as St. Bonaventure is limiting opponents to 24.4% from 3-point range. The Bonnies beat the Spiders by four points in their lone meeting last season in a game in which both teams struggled from 3, and I won’t be surprised to see a similar result in this contest.
I think it’s a good bet that Holmes will suit up on Saturday, but his status is something to monitor before tip-off. I only recommend backing the Bonnies if he’s confirmed to play.
Pick: St. Bonaventure +5.5
Alabama at #7 Tennessee Odds & Pick
Mike Randle: Yves Pons was quoted as saying the Volunteers have a strong desire to “be great.” They looked that way against No. 12 Missouri and have another chance to make a statement against Alabama.
The Volunteers are a perfect 5-0 against the spread at home this season and 6-1 overall. Alabama is playing its first true road game of the season. If the Tide are playing well and shooting well, they could keep this game competitive.
However, Alabama needs to follow the script set forth by Cincinnati on Dec. 12 and match the Volunteers’ defensive intensity. The Crimson Tide, though, simply aren’t ready for that challenge.
Pick: Tennessee -9.5