College Basketball Best Bets for Saturday: Our Top Selections for November 13, Including Delaware vs. Siena
William Mancebo/Getty Images. Pictured: A Gonzaga Bulldogs basketball.
- Which bets are we taking in the top-five showdown between Texas and Gonzaga?
- And what other games are we highlighting beyond that marquee matchup?
- Our staff offers up five best bets for the first Saturday slate of the college basketball season.
Saturdays may be for college football — but in November and beyond, they’re also for college basketball.
After a thrilling battle between No. 2 UCLA and No. 4 Villanova last night, the weekend’s college hoops slate rolls right on for a colossal Saturday schedule.
At The Action Network, it doesn’t matter how big the game is. If the numbers offer value, we’re betting it.
That’s why our staff is putting down wagers on everything from Saturday night’s top-five showdown between No. 1 Gonzaga and No. 5 Texas to Vermont vs. No. 21 Maryland and Siena vs. Delaware.
So, hit your sportsbooks, grab some popcorn, and get ready for all of the mid-major action and marquee matchups you can handle.
Saturday 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.|
Vermont vs. Maryland
There’s a danger in reading too much into one or two games for a team at the beginning of the season, but Maryland has largely disappointed in three of the four halves it’s played to begin the year.
The Terrapins will shoot better from 3 than they did against George Washington in their close win on Thursday, but Vermont can absolutely cause some issues for Mark Turgeon’s squad if the Terps show up flat yet again.
Maryland will have a significant size advantage on the inside with its center duo of Qudus Wahab and Julian Reese, but both are new to the program, and the Maryland offense has looked quite disjointed through two games.
Fatts Russell is helping to speed up the Terrapins’ pace and offense as a transfer point guard, but the ball slows down considerably and the Terps have gotten stuck in the half-court once they get to the other players.
Vermont returns 87% of its minutes from last season, plays at a slow pace, and while it doesn’t look for many offensive rebounds, the Catamounts are an underrated defensive rebounding team despite their small size on the interior.
They should force Maryland to try to execute in the half-court without the help of second-chance points, which was really the only reason UMD escaped GW with a win on Thursday.
Vermont doesn’t turn the ball over much, and keeping Maryland’s superior athletes out of transition will enable the Catamounts to potentially pull an upset and at least keep it to single digits.
It’s the third game in five days for the Terrapins, and Maryland has played only one good half all season. This opener is way too high and is likely to close at 10 or lower.
Pick: Vermont +11.5 (Play to +10)
Delaware vs. Siena
Delaware got torched defensively in its first game against Davidson, giving up 1.24 points per possession. However, it’s going to have a much easier time against a Siena offense that finished last season 224th in Offensive Efficiency, per KenPom.
Basically all of Siena’s points are going to have to come in the half-court because it averaged only 0.92 points per possession in transition, which was in the bottom 16% of college basketball last season, per Synergy. Delaware allowed a 47.7% eFG% in transition last season.
Offensively, Delaware wasn’t very effective a year ago, but where it proved to be most successful was in transition and in the pick and roll, as it was in the top 35% of college basketball in terms of points per possession.
Siena struggled to defend the pick and roll last season, allowing 40.9% and .76 PPP, which was in the bottom half of college basketball, per Synergy.
Siena also has five rotational players questionable for Saturday, so depth could be an issue for the Saints.
KenPom has Delaware projected at -3.09 before adjusting for Siena’s injuries, so I think there’s some value on the Blue Hens at -1.
Pick: Delaware -1 (Play to -2)
#5 Texas vs. #1 Gonzaga
This is a line I immediately snagged upon open. Chris Beard’s first true test as head coach of the Longhorns comes on the road against Goliath.
There’s a lot to love about Gonzaga. Drew Timme returns for another year while the program brings in three top-25 recruits — headlined by No. 1 Chet Holmgren — and Iowa State transfer Rasir Bolton.
The Zags will be dominant once again, and they proved it in their 34-point win over Dixie State despite shooting 28.6% from 3.
But this is Texas. It’s deep and filled with plenty of veteran playmakers. Beard came right into Austin and brought with him an elite scorer in Marcus Carr (Minnesota) and a pair of athletic do-it-all big men in Christian Bishop (Creighton) and Tre Mitchell (UMass).
Pair these three with seniors Courtney Ramey and Andrew Jones, among others, and this is a rotation that can run with any team.
From a game perspective, it’s the first true test for Gonzaga’s freshmen, who finally get their first taste of Power Five competition. This isn’t Dixie State. They’re facing an extremely talented Longhorns team that won’t back down under pressure.
The Zags won’t be able to dominate easily inside the paint like they did in their season opener and will have to take longer to break down this stout Texas defense. It’s Chris Beard we’re talking about here.
On the flip side, I trust the Longhorns to keep it close with their multitude of veteran scorers, like Carr and Ramey, who can take over a game at any point. There are even rumblings that Vanderbilt transfer Dylan Disu could make his Longhorns debut, which would provide a huge boost to the offense.
I think this number is too inflated given the situation. These are two of the best teams in the country, and Saturday’s contest has the chance at being the game of the year.
While Texas is a mixed bag of veteran transfers, I trust its experience and talent to keep it close with the Zags. I even think there’s a chance we see an upset in Spokane.
I’ve been banging on the Longhorns drum all offseason. Give me the 8.5 points in what I’m expecting to be a down-to-the-wire affair.
Pick: Texas +8.5 (Play to +7)
We’ve had some heavyweight matchups throughout the first week of the college basketball season, and on Saturday night in Spokane, we get another one. First year Texas head coach Chris Beard takes his team out West to take on the No. 1 Gonzaga Bulldogs.
Beard did an incredible job of using the transfer portal to build a loaded roster in Year 1. Marcus Carr, Tre Mitchell, Timmy Allen, and Christian Bishop headline the group of transfers, and these are all players with tons of big game experience at the Power Five level.
In addition to bringing in a loaded transfer crop, Texas also welcomes back some players who have already had quite a career wearing burnt orange. Veteran guards Andrew Jones and Courtney Ramey both return in the backcourt, and fifth-year senior Jase Febres brings some 3-point shooting off the bench.
The Zags will be loaded yet again in 2021-22. Drew Timme and Andrew Nembhard both return, and the Bulldogs welcomed in the No. 11 recruit in the country in Chet Holmgren. Toss in Iowa State transfer Rasir Bolton, and Mark Few has as talented a team as any in the country.
I like Texas to cover the number here for a couple of different reasons. The first is the depth and experience of its roster. This isn’t a group that is going to be intimidated on the road in a hostile environment. Chris Beard will have the luxury all year of going 10 deep in his rotation and throwing different bodies on the floor depending on matchups.
If there’s one thing we know about Beard-coached teams, it’s that they play hard at all times. I expect the Longhorns to enter the McCarthey Center with a purpose and to give the Zags everything they’ve got for 40 minutes.
I don’t know if it will be enough to win the game outright, but I feel very comfortable backing Texas with the points in this spot.
Pick: Texas +8.5 (Play to +7)
By D.J. James
Gonzaga is once again a favorite to win the national title.
Chet Holmgren is an unbelievable recruit who can do anything. Hunter Sallis is great as well. The Zags lost Corey Kispert, Jalen Suggs, and Joel Ayayi but gained Rasir Bolton from Iowa State, along with two other four-star recruits in Kaden Perry and Nolan Hickman.
They’re a complete team, but Texas is underestimated in this matchup.
New head coach Chris Beard could be the best coach in the NCAA. Matt Coleman, Jericho Sims, Greg Brown, and Kai Jones are no longer on the roster, but this did not matter.
Beard got Marcus Carr, a certified bucket-getter from Minnesota, Dylan Disu from Vanderbilt, Tre Mitchell from UMass, Timmy Allen from Utah, Christian Bishop from Creighton and a couple of others.
Andrew Jones and Courtney Ramey return to the lineup, and the Longhorns have plenty of offensive firepower to duel Gonzaga.
This is a complete offense with options across the board to score when needed. Rebounding is lacking, but Mitchell should be able to track more off the glass than he did in Texas’ first game with Houston Baptist when he snagged five boards.
Texas getting 7.5 is far too much for a potential Final Four team. Take the Longhorns at +7.5.