College Basketball Odds & Picks: Stuckey’s 7 Favorite Spots to Bet on Saturday (Feb. 12)
Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images. Pictured: Phlandrous Fleming Jr. (Florida)
Here are the spots I had circled for Saturday’s college basketball slate based on the situation and/or matchup.
As always, it will ultimately come down to line value, but hopefully some of these thoughts can help you narrow down your final bets on a massive card.
Noon ET on SECN
This is your hangover spot of the day.
The Hogs may still be drunk from celebrating their massive home overtime win on Tuesday against Auburn. That victory marked their first win over an AP No. 1 team since 1984.
Anybody else see this pic.twitter.com/dhrKVn1tYk
— Stuckey (@Stuckey2) February 9, 2022
After eight straight victories, this is also likely close to the top of the market on Arkansas, which became the first team to win eight straight conference games after starting out 0-3 in league play since UCLA did it 40 years ago.
Keep in mind that six of the Razorbacks’ seven wins prior to Auburn came against teams not currently projected in the tournament. The other came against a reeling LSU team playing without Xavier Pinson.
Meanwhile, Alabama should come in much fresher after a fairly easy double-digit victory at Ole Miss on Wednesday. I think the Tide can carry over some of that shooting momentum after finally seeing some outside shots fall.
After going a putrid 3-of-30 against Kentucky last Saturday night, the Tide drained 14-of-22 against the Rebels. They’re still only shooting 29.0% from beyond the arc in league play, so they should have a few more gaudy shooting performances left in their arsenal, which is critical for a team that shoots 3s at a top-20 rate in Division I.
We could see one of those monster shooting outings against a potentially fatigued Arkansas defense that should see some negative regression in that category in the near future.
The Hogs also won’t crush Alabama inside — where it’s most vulnerable.
This is a good matchup and spot.
2 ET on ESPN+
This is a good buy low spot on the Paladins, who have lost two straight against inferior competition by a total of six points. They will also have revenge on their minds from a two-point loss at Chattanooga earlier this season.
Meanwhile, the Mocs have won three straight to take a two-game lead in the SoCon standings over Furman. A victory here would essentially wrap up the regular season conference title for Malachi Smith & Co.
However, the Mocs have been much more vulnerable on the road, with losses against Samford and Western Carolina since the start of the new year.
Chattanooga may also have to make do once again without big man Silvio De Sousa, who has missed the past three games due to an undisclosed issue. He would be a massive loss against the undersized Paladins, who rank 353rd in average height, per KenPom.
I also think Chattanooga’s 3-point defense has been a bit lucky.
For the season, the Mocs have allowed the 10th-highest rate (57.5%) of unguarded catch-and-shoot jumpers in the half court. Yet, opponents have only scored 0.831 points per possession on those shots, per Synergy. That’s the ninth-lowest output in the country.
It’s one of the reasons ShotQuality has the Mocs with four fewer projected wins on the year, while Furman has two additional projected victories.
The regression monster could hit hard against a Furman team full of shooters that attempts 3s at the nation’s third-highest clip.
4 ET on ESPN
Florida has had a fairly disappointing season compared to preseason expectations. If the season ended today, the Gators would most likely find themselves on the wrong side of the bubble. Per BracketMatrix, they are actually the last team out of the NCAA Tournament.
A win in Lexington against a top-5 Kentucky team would obviously go a long way, so you should get a maximum effort out of Mike White’s squad here.
It’s also worth mentioning that Florida is a completely different team with big man Colin Castleton back from injury. He’s essential vs. the Cats.
I also think the Gators still have some positive shooting regression coming their way in conference play based on my projections.
Meanwhile, Kentucky — my only national title future and still my pick to win it all — comes into this one on a roll, having won five straight, including a pair of statement road wins against Alabama and Kansas.
I could see the Cats going through the motions again at home against an inferior opponent, as we’ve seen them do in their past two games at Rupp against Vanderbilt and Mississippi State.
I also think John Calipari is tinkering with different things in games like this, with March as his only primary focus.
Keep in mind Kentucky also has an enormous game on Tuesday in Knoxville against Tennessee, which could have major implications in regards to the SEC standings and NCAA Tournament seeding.
We might get an inflated number here with the road dog that has quietly won four straight.
4 ET on ESPN2
Georgia Tech might be worth a look on the road against a Virginia team that comes off of a dramatic last-second victory at Duke.
I wouldn’t be surprised if the ‘Hoos come out a bit flat.
Additionally, Georgia Tech runs zone defense at the 10th-highest rate in the country (40.7%), with various different looks from head coach Josh Pastner.
That could have some effectiveness against a Virginia offense that doesn’t profile or grade out well against zone — since it has poor spacing (344th, per ShotQuality) and lacks outside shooting (13th in ACC play from 3).
On the flip side, Georgia Tech’s offense is just dreadful in many areas. The Yellow Jackets live way too much in the mid-range, but that’s where Virginia’s defense forces you to live anyway.
Plus, this isn’t a vintage Tony Bennett pack-line defense. Surprisingly, UVA ranks 11th in adjusted defensive efficiency in conference play, per KenPom.
If the number is right, I won’t mind fading the slowest team in the country as a decent-sized favorite in a potential letdown spot.
4 ET on ESPN+
This has to be the time to sell Murray State, which has won 11 straight games. It now finds itself with a two-game lead atop the conference standings and is nationally ranked for the first time all season.
You may have heard bettors sometimes say to fade non-power conference teams in college basketball (and football, too) that get into the top-25 for the first time. That’s actually not a terrible approach, but it doesn’t have anything to do with the ranking itself.
It has more to do with the fact that a non-power conference team that gets ranked for the first time probably just had a very good stretch and likely sits at the peak of its market value with nowhere to go but down.
We’ve actually seen three mid-majors over the past month lose during the week when they first got ranked — Saint Mary’s, Davidson and Loyola Chicago.
Morehead State also has revenge on its mind here from a road loss earlier this season in a game that was tied with 10 minutes remaining. This Eagles squad plays ferocious perimeter defense and has a dominant big inside in Johni Broome.
We might get some value here on the Eagles as a home dog in a hype spot. A loss here would basically eliminate them from the regular season championship race in the OVC, whereas a win would make things very interesting the rest of the way.
4 ET on Pioneers All-Access
This is such a good spot to fade South Dakota in the elevation of Denver’s home arena.
The Coyotes will be playing their fourth game since last Saturday, including their third road game since Monday after going from Fargo, North Dakota on Monday to Omaha, Nebraska on Wednesday.
That’s not ideal for a team that doesn’t have a ton of depth.
The Pioneers are a bad basketball team, but improving. Plus, they have one of the best home-court advantages in the country in large part due to the elevation factor. More importantly, I don’t think the market properly accounts for it during conference play.
Since 2005, only South Dakota State has been more profitable at home during league play.
Over that span, Denver has gone 85-56-3 (60.3%) — covering by over two points per game on average. That includes a gaudy mark of 26-12 ATS (68.4%) when the opponent has two or fewer days since their last game, as will be the case with USD here.
However, there’s one major problem. Denver didn’t have either starting guard available Thursday night against South Dakota State. KJ Hunt and Jordan Johnson both missed that contest due to COVID protocols, so their statuses remain very much up in the air for this one.
9 ET on Stadium
Want to spend your Saturday night holding your nose? If you answered no, please stop reading. This will mark the end of the article for you.
Okay, for those sick individuals who have decided to continue reading, grab a clothes pin because you’re going to need it.
Yes, I may go dumpster diving in primetime and back San Jose State, which has won a single game in 2022 against Bethesda College.
The Spartans are not a good basketball team by any measure, as new head coach Tim Miles tries to rebuild a program in rough shape.
The Spartans have also dealt with plenty of lineup uncertainty during league play, but they at least seem to still be playing hard in search of their first conference win.
However, this spot is all about a fade of Wyoming at the potential peak of its market value. The Cowboys have four fantastic wins in the span of eight days against four potential NCAA Tournament teams in Colorado State, Fresno State, Boise State and Utah State.
That stretch also occurred just a few days after a buzzer beater on the road at Air Force.
Every one of the Cowboys’ past five wins have come down to the wire, with four coming in altitude and two needing overtime.
Not only could the Cowboys come out super flat here, they also might be dealing with some mental and/or physical fatigue, which head coach Jeff Linder has alluded to.
As a result, even if Wyoming builds a decent lead, I can’t imagine Linder will push his starters more than needed once the result is in the bag, which could open up a prime opportunity for a backdoor if needed.
Make sure you bring an old pair of shoes if you decide to meet me in the dumpster Saturday night. I’ll bring the refreshments.
Elsewhere on Saturday
- Yes, we will most likely be riding the Georgia State train once again, as the Panthers continue their inevitable positive regression tour. They have won two straight against South Alabama and Coastal Carolina — two teams they lost to earlier this season. I think they make it three straight successful revenge games against a Coastal club that beat them by one earlier this season. The Panthers have slowly started to turn their season around in league play (similar to last year) and are still only shooting 25.7% from deep against Sun Belt foes.
- We could potentially get an inflated Tennessee price in a potential sandwich spot between a big road win at Mississippi State and a date with Kentucky in a massive SEC showdown on deck. Vanderbilt has been much more competitive as of late with Rodney Chatman back in the lineup. For the season, the Commodores boast a 9-1 ATS record when he plays, including an outright road win at Arkansas.
- Butler could be worth a look against a Marquette team I think may be a tad overvalued in the market. The Bulldogs are a totally different team with Bo Hodges, who didn’t make his debut until mid-January. Butler has lost three straight games, but all three came by one possession. Hinkle also still remains a tough place to play.
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