College Basketball Odds & Picks: Stuckey’s Saturday Betting Card, including Gonzaga vs. San Francisco & 5 More Games (Feb. 13)
Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Jalen Suggs (1) and Andrew Nembhard (3).
- Another Saturday, another packed college basketball card from Stuckey.
- Stuckey identified value on six college hoops games for Saturday's loaded slate, including Oklahoma vs. West Virginia and Gonzaga vs. San Francisco.
- Check out each individual breakdown complete with picks and target prices below.
There’s noting quite like the anticipation leading up to a full Saturday college hoops slate. And this season comes with an extra dose of anxiety as a result of the fallout from COVID-19.
I’m still trying to properly assess the impact of no fans, long pauses and odd scheduling quirks — in addition to simply figuring out which players won’t be available on any given day.
It’s Been a While
Once again, we will have a number of teams returning from extended breaks this Saturday. Through games played on Thursday, teams coming off a 14-or-more day break against teams that aren’t have gone just 49-67-3 ATS (42.2%), failing to cover by an average margin of 1.6 points.
The results get worse as the breaks get longer, but then you’re obviously dealing with a smaller sample size. There’s also greater roster uncertainty with teams that recently dealt with COVID-19 issues.
Here are the eight teams (and the dates of their last game) that will return from breaks of at least two weeks on Saturday:
- Northern Illinois (Jan. 16) at Kent State
- Vermont (Jan. 17) vs Stony Brook
- Saint Mary’s (Jan. 23) vs. Pepperdine
- Northeastern (Jan. 24) at Towson
- Loyola Marymount (Jan. 25) vs Pacific
- Florida State (Jan. 30) vs. Wake Forest
- Saint Peters (Jan. 30) vs. Fairfield
- Xavier (Jan. 30) vs. UConn
Keep in mind that betting markets in general do adjust to trends like this in a fairly efficient manner.
Based on the data I have so far, I think the adjustment should be about two points for teams coming off of a 3-4 week break and slightly less for 2-3 weeks in a game with average pace. There are other factors at play as well.
Like many nuances in this unique season, I’m still trying to figure out what to do with these back-to-backs against the same opponent. I’m not sure we will ever get enough of a sample size to make any real determinations about specific teams in this scenario, but I do think that coaching, style and depth matters in the second game of the back-to-back.
And since someone asked me on Twitter, I figured I’d share the teams that have had the most drastic turnarounds in the second game of the back-to-back against the same opponent.
Teams with the best SU records after losing the first game:
- Charlotte (3-1)
- Fairfield (4-2)
- UMKC (3-1)
- Georgia Southern (3-1)
- Portland State (3-1)
Teams with the worst SU records after winning the first game:
- Rider (0-4)
- North Dakota (0-4)
- Montana (0-3)
- Northern Colorado (1-3)
Circled Saturday Spots
Lastly, here are the six afternoon spots I have circled, along with my ideal target spreads. It would be lovely if these went 6-0 like last weekend. One can dream.
Oklahoma at West Virginia | 1 p.m. ET on ESPN+
I actually think this is a decent matchup for the Sooners, who defeated WVU in Norman earlier this season despite the ‘Eeers knocking down 14-of-24 from distance. OU doesn’t foul frequently (seventh nationally), competes on the defensive glass and doesn’t turn it over (13th).
Those are three keys against Bob Huggins’ bunch.
Oklahoma does have issues guarding the perimeter, which might look worrisome on the surface against a West Virginia team shooting so well from deep. However, I think WVU has massive 3-point regression coming its way on both ends.
WVU is shooting an astronomical 43.3% from 3 in Big 12 play.
- Miles McBride sits just under 45% after shooting 30% last season.
- Taz Sherman is over 40% after shooting 33% last year.
- Sean McNeil is at 38% one year after shooting 33%.
I highly doubt they can sustain that level. They’ve also been fairly fortunate on the defensive end when it comes to 3-point shooting. Per Synergy, they’re allowing 65% of opponent jumpers to go unguarded, the fifth-highest rate in Division I. Yet, teams are shooting only 31.1% from distance. That’s likely to increase in the near future.
I don’t think OU will have any issues scoring against a pretty pedestrian Mountaineers defense compared to what we’re used to seeing in Morgantown.
Target Price: Oklahoma +3 or better
Bowling Green at Toledo | 2 p.m. ET on ESPN3
Am I crazy for backing this free-falling Bowling Green team right now? Possibly. (I may also be crazy for other reasons, but that’s a topic for another day.)
But shots will eventually start falling for the Falcons, who are shooting 27% from deep during their current 1-7 stretch. They actually have good shooters and an outstanding creator/scorer in Justin Turner.
This slump won’t last forever, but it is the reason we are getting some value on BGSU in this rivalry game.
This is also a perfect defense to get right against.
Toledo’s perimeter defense is extremely vulnerable, but it’s been running extremely well. We saw some of that inevitable regression last week in a loss to an undermanned Ball State team. The Rockets also struggle to defend the pick-and-roll, which is not ideal against Turner and company.
Target Price: Bowling Green +8 or better
Montana State vs. Eastern Washington | 2 p.m. ET
Without one of its better offensive players in Jacob Davison (who may also miss this game with flu symptoms), EWU played an almost perfect offensive game in a victory over Montana State on Thursday night. The Eagles scored a gaudy 1.27 points per possession, shooting 10-of-21 from 3 and 27-of-28 from the line. It was just one of those nights.
If I can get the right number, I’ll pay to make EWU repeat that performance against a Montana State team that I actually think has favorable schematic matchups on both ends of the floor.
Target Price: Montana State +3 or better
Cal Baptist vs. Sacramento State | 3 p.m. ET
Odd non-conference matchup here with Sacramento State also coming off of a 12-day break, which can only work in CBU’s favor. C
al Baptist plays no defense but has a very potent offense with shooters all over that is lethal in pick-and-roll and in the post with 6-foot-11 Florida transfer Gorjok Gak.
That spells doom for a Sacramento State defense that struggles to defend pick-and-roll and has no answer for Gak. In fact, the Hornets rank in the bottom 10th percentile nationally in defending pick-and-roll and the post, per Synergy.
Sac State will undoubtedly get its points, but I just don’t see it getting enough stops here. It may also have to shake off some early rust.
Target Price: Cal Baptist -2 or better
Loyola Maryland at Lafayette | 4 p.m. ET on ESPN+
Let’s get weird.
This weekend will present us with a game that perfectly encapsulates this strange season. Loyola Maryland and Lafayette will meet for the fifth and sixth time in the past 30 days on Saturday and Sunday. Lafayette won three of the first four but only by a combined eight points. Loyola’s victory came by a margin of 13.
I’ll be looking to back the road underdog Greyhounds, who are due for some massive 3-point shooting regression. They’ve shot under 30% from beyond the arc, while opponents have hit at a 40% clip. Per Synergy, on unguarded jump shots, Loyola ranks 347th of 347 teams in terms of points per possession.
Meanwhile, its opponents rank third of 347. You’d think some good fortune is headed its way.
Loyola is absolutely dreadful at the free-throw line, which is a concern, but I think this is ultimately a good spot and matchup. Lafayette has no answer for Santi Aldama.
Target Price: Loyola Maryland +3 or better
San Francisco vs. Gonzaga | 6 p.m. ET on ESPN2
Depending on who you ask, Gonzaga is either the best or second-best team in the country. And then there is a steep drop-off to No. 3 after the Zags and Baylor.
The Bulldogs are an offensive juggernaut and the defense is even ranked fifth in Adjusted Efficiency, per KenPom. I don’t need to wax poetic about Mark Few’s bunch. They are elite.
That said, I’m interested in the Dons here. They are coming off a home loss to a solid Pepperdine team, but that came after a three-weak pause, so you have to take that result with a grain of salt. They at least shook some cobwebs off in that game.
As long as I can get my target price, I’m primarily betting on the San Francisco coaching staff, which is one the smartest in all of college basketball for my money. They will do things like foul in the final 20 seconds of the first half when the other team is in the 1-and-1, so it can get the ball back. Those little things add up over the course of a game.
The Dons also play a very analytically friendly style of taking a lot of 3s and preventing opponents from shooting them. They actually rank in the top five nationally in both categories. And if there’s one place where you can attack this Gonzaga defense, it’s from the perimeter.
I’m also fairly certain they’ll have a few new wrinkles to try to slow the game down, which I think you have to do against Gonzaga.
I’m not sure if it’s even possible, but this is the staff I’d want to try something. After all, they did only lose by four in two of the three meetings as heavy underdogs last year.
Target Price: San Francisco +16.5 or better