College Basketball Betting Odds, Picks: Stuckey’s 4 Favorite Spots to Target on Saturday
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- It's Saturday, which means our resident college basketball expert, Stuckey, has his eye on multiple situational spots.
- He has his eye on four games this week, including three SEC matchups and a big battle between Texas and Texas Tech.
- Check out all four of Stuckey's favorite spots to bet below.
Every college basketball bettor wants to go on a long hot streak in March. Well, I hope all of you get as hot as Long Beach State, which has covered 11 straight games.
On the flip side, there's nothing worse than a long, cold streak. May you all avoid a long drought in the coming weeks similar to what we have seen recently from myself and the University of St. Thomas – Minnesota. The Tommies have failed to cover in 11 consecutive games.
Enough about March. We have a full Saturday slate to get to.
It's not a great card for some of the usual mid-major and low-major matchups I usually cover. As a result, I highlighted the power-conference games I had circled coming into the weekend.
With Selection Sunday rapidly approaching, there's a heavy bubble flavor throughout, as it's desperation time for quite a few clubs.
12:30 ET on ABC
If there's one thing I've learned about this season, it's do not fade Texas Tech in Lubbock.
The Red Raiders have always had an incredible home-court advantage, but it seems even greater this year. From the students camping out for tickets to Patrick Mahomes in the front row to Kevin Obanor getting every bounce imaginable on corner 3s, just don't mess with Tech at home.
However, it's been a bit of a different story on the highway. The Red Raiders are just 2-5 in true road games this season, with a pair of blowout losses at Kansas State and at Oklahoma.
They also benefited from facing West Virginia without its best player Taz Sherman in Morgantown. The Baylor road win was uber-impressive, but the Bears also didn't have their full arsenal.
I think this sets up as a good spot to sell Texas Tech after an enormous, emotionally-charged win over Baylor, while simultaneously buying Texas in a revenge spot in front of a hyped crowd of its own in Austin.
I actually came away impressed with how the Horns fought back in the first meeting in an impossible environment, and I think they get it done here.
Target: Texas -2 or better
1 ET on CBS
You may recall that Alabama closed as a one-point favorite two weeks ago at home against the Cats. Kentucky ended up winning that game by double digits, but the Tide shot 3-of-30 from 3.
Kentucky also had a fully healthy TyTy Washington Jr., who led the team with 15 points. Based on how he looked the other night, I doubt he suits up for this one, or at the minimum, isn’t close to 100%. That matters, as I think he’s critical on both ends of the floor for John Calipari's squad.
This is a good revenge spot to back a high-variance Bama team as a dog. Nate Oats will also have the services of Darius Miles, who was suspended for that first matchup.
The shots for Alabama will have to fall, but I’d have to assume they will sooner than later. This isn’t as efficient of a shooting team as last year, and the Tide don’t get as many open looks, but they are better than the sub-28% they’ve shot from distance in SEC play to date.
Target: Alabama +7.5 or better
2 ET on ESPN
Speaking of invincible home teams, Auburn has covered all but one game at home this season. That came against North Alabama, which finished on a 4-0 run to cover +28. The Tigers are an electric factory in Auburn Arena.
However, the same can't be said of their ventures away from home.
While they've only lost one true road game this season, they've had to pull escape acts in a number of others. That includes underwhelming road performances against SEC bottom feeders like Georgia and Missouri, which each lost by a single point to the projected No. 1 seed.
Meanwhile, this is basically Florida's season. The Gators are projected to be out of the NCAA Tournament field right now, but a Quad 1 win over Auburn would put the Gators right back squarely on the bubble.
I personally think they pull off this upset. With Colin Castleton back in the mix, Florida has some size to battle the Auburn bigs.
I also think Mike White's bunch can control the tempo at home and force the Auburn guards into plenty of contested jumpers, which they seem to fall in love with too often on the road.
Target: Florida +3 or better
3:30 ET on SECN
I know South Carolina is coming off of a buzzer-beater win to sweep a two-game road trip, but I’m still buying a team I think is trending up. We’ve certainly seen Frank Martin’s squads start to peak at this time of the year in the past, as well.
After losing six of seven, LSU has seemingly righted the ship with three straight wins. However, those wins came against Texas A&M, Georgia and Mississippi State. Not exactly a murderer’s row for a team I still have questions about and believe has more negative regression on the defensive end headed its way.
I could also see the Tigers coming out a little flat for this one. A trip to Columbia in February doesn’t necessarily get the juices flowing, especially with a date with Kentucky on deck.
From a matchup perspective, these teams profile pretty similarly in a lot of aspects. They both force a high frequency of turnovers, cough up the ball plenty and can really get after it on the offensive glass.
LSU clearly has much more talent, but I do love that SC has excelled defending in transition. The Cocks rank in the 96th percentile defending in transition, per Synergy. That’s key against an LSU offense that makes its hay in that area and struggles mightily in the half-court.
Target: South Carolina +5 or better
Elsewhere on Saturday in College Basketball
- This is a good spot to fade Tennessee on the road after a home-run effort over Kentucky in a game the Vols really wanted after getting embarrassed in Lexington. Meanwhile, Arkansas is legit. The Razorbacks have covered seven straight and are a bona-fide threat to make a deep run in the tournament. Believe it or not, it's the Hogs that have the No. 1 defense in terms of efficiency in league play. Their length can bother Tennessee on the perimeter, and the home crowd in Fayetteville should push them to a victory. I will likely be on the Hogs here.
- This is the ultimate buy-low spot on Oregon, which may need to pull off this monumental upset for any shot at an at-large bid. The Ducks were trending in the right direction, as Dana Altman teams usually do late in the season. However, they have really crashed over the past week, with losses against Cal and Arizona State. I'd expect a maximum effort here. Altman's teams are generally tough to prepare for on a quick turnaround since he will use many different defensive looks, including zone and press. Although, for what it's worth, Arizona grades out excellently against both on the season. I have to think this one over some more.
- The same can be said of West Virginia. After losing nine of their last 10, the Mountaineers now find themselves on the outside of the bubble. However, a win here could do wonders for their resume against a rock-solid Kansas squad. With Sherman back healthy, the 'Eers have the firepower to pull this off in primetime in front of one of the most raucous crowds in all of college basketball. The Jayhawks' prowess on the offensive glass does worry me a bit against a WVU team that ranks 348th in the country in offensive rebounding rate allowed. However, in a must-win hype spot, maximum energy and effort could close that gap a bit, as cliche as that sounds. I backed Bob here and would at +5 or better.
- UL Monroe +8: These two teams just played two days ago, so I think HCA is being overvalued considering both teams have the exact same travel schedules. ULL shot 44% from 3 and won by only 1 despite shooting 44% from 3 and turning it over just seven times, which is very uncharacteristic for a team that ranks in the bottom 10 nationally in that category. For what it's worth, these two split on each other's home courts in the same exact spot last year. Plus, Monroe has won three straight on the road, while the Ragin' Cajuns have lost four in a row at home.
- Tough spot for IUPUI, which picked up its first D-1 win of the year the other night. The Jaguars are down to only six players and this will mark their fifth straight road game in the span of 10 days.
- Pacific got a much needed week off after playing four road games in eight days, which included games against Gonzaga and USC. The Tigers are better than their record indicates, while Loyola Marymount has major issues and has lost eight straight. I think Pacific wins its third straight at home, while the Lions remain winless on the road in league play.