College Basketball Sharp Betting Picks for Saturday: Mississippi State vs. Alabama, 2 Other Games (Jan. 23)
Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: John Petty Jr.
As it typically does this time of year, college basketball takes the Saturday center stage today, offering up a triple-digit slate of games.
And while that triple-digit slate features matchups like Kansas-Oklahoma and Baylor-Oklahoma State to attract the attention of most bettors, sharps aren’t exactly wired the same way.
They’re looking for value, which is just as likely to come on Western Carolina-Wofford as it is on Mississippi State-Alabama (in fact, both of those matchups are featured below).
Our PRO Report feature easily details the games flaunting the most betting value indicators, including their respective sharp sides. So let’s take a look at the highlighted games as of this morning, starting with one displaying a full set of value signals.
Note: Odds, data as of 9 a.m. ET.
Western Carolina vs. Wofford
4 p.m. ET | ESPN+
Perhaps the most obscure game to be drawing the attention of sharp bettors, Western Carolina-Wofford has seen some odds movement as a result of the professional action.
While WCU has drawn just 40% of the spread bets as of writing, its spread has fallen from +9.5 to +8.5, which should tell you something about the type of bettor playing this matchup.
Sure enough, a Bet Signal from Action Labs — triggered by market-wide movement caused specifically by sharp action — reveals pros to have hit Western Carolina at +9, sending this spread to its current listing.
Sharp Action edge: Western Carolina
Providing some more reason for oddsmakers to have moved this line, the 40% of bettors on Western Carolina have impressively generated 91% of the early money hitting this spread.
But that’s not just a simple monetary liability. The discrepancy between those figures reveals WCU to be landing much, much bigger bets, serving as another indication of sharp action (since professional bettors are likely betting more than your recreational fan).
Big Money edge: Western Carolina
Historically speaking, there is reason to believe Western Carolina could be undervalued this afternoon.
The Catamounts’ 3-8 against-the-spread record matched up with Wofford’s 6-4 makes WCU a match for our Poor ATS vs. Good ATS Teams PRO System, which has returned a 55% cover rate on a sample of more than 3,000 games since 2005.
PRO Systems edge: Western Carolina
Even following this line’s initial move, our college basketball model is still suggesting value on the WCU spread.
In fact, it pegs the true spread at +6.3, giving this number some more room to fall before it’s accurate.
Model Projections edge: Western Carolina
And given all the reasons to like WCU, one of our college basketball experts (so far) has hopped on board as well.
You can follow all our experts’ picks, and get notified as soon as they make them, by downloading the Action App (it’s free).
Top Experts edge: Western Carolina
DePaul vs. Marquette
6 p.m. ET | FS1
Unlike the game above, this one doesn’t hint toward sharp action simply based on its line movement. That’s because the earliest books to market opened before the number reached DePaul +10, which is where sharps really made their move.
Specifically, that’s where our Action Labs’ Bet Signal was triggered on DePaul for this game, explaining the spread’s direction reversal back to +9, despite another minority backing (44%, in this case).
Sharp Action edge: DePaul
Once again, the drop from +10 to +9 hasn’t stripped DePaul of its value, according to our college basketball betting model.
It sets the true line at DePaul +6, giving the Demons three points of value at the widely available +9, and three and a half points at the more scarce +9.5.
Model Projections edge: DePaul
Our experts are in agreement with the pros (and the model) here, too, as another one has grabbed the points with DePaul as of writing.
Top Experts edge: DePaul
Mississippi State vs. Alabama
6 p.m. ET | SEC Network
Well, we finally reached the game that’s drawing heavy action from both the public and sharps. That doesn’t mean the two sides are necessarily in agreement, though.
While 53% of bettors are laying the points with Alabama, the Tide have fallen from as high as -14 to just -10 this evening, with three Action Labs Bet Signals on Mississippi State confirming the implication of sharp betting.
Sharp Action edge: Mississippi State
While Mississippi State may be pulling in a minority of bets, the Bulldogs are dominating the money distribution.
Their 47% backing has generated 87% of actual dollars landing on this spread, once again revealing the opinion of bigger bettors — the ones more likely to be sharps.
Big Money edge: Mississippi State
Another agreement between sharps and our college basketball experts here, whom you can follow for free in the Action App.
Top Experts edge: Mississippi State