NCAA Tournament Betting Picks: Best Saturday Afternoon Bets, Including LSU vs. St. Bonaventure and Georgetown vs. Colorado
Al Bello/Getty Images. Pictured: St. Bonaventure’s Osun Osunniyi.
- The NCAA Tournament Round of 64 resumes Saturday, with 16 more games tipping off from noon until 10 p.m. ET.
- In order to help you identify the games offering the best betting value today, our staff has delivered its top picks from the first eight games of the day.
- Below, find comprehensive analysis, updated odds and our staff's best bets for Georgetown vs. Colorado and LSU vs. St. Bonaventure.
On paper, Friday’s NCAA Tournament schedule seemed somewhat lackluster. Arguably the most compelling game on tap was No. 9 Georgia Tech taking on No. 8 Loyola Chicago, but little else leapt off the page for the average basketball fan.
Thankfully, betting on March Madness is a very different story altogether.
Long before the rest of the public cheered with us for Max Abmas and No. 15 Oral Roberts, nearly our entire staff circled that matchup as one of our top games to sweat this weekend. Add in the dramatic back-and-forth between No. 14 Colgate and No. 3 Arkansas, sprinkle in No. 13 North Texas defeating No. 4 Purdue in overtime, and Friday turned out to be a phenomenally entertaining day of betting on college basketball.
The best part? Saturday’s NCAA Tournament lineup should be even better.
Our team of college basketball betting analysts is targeting two games on Saturday afternoon for their best bets of the early slate (12:15 p.m. ET to 4:30 p.m. ET).
Check out each breakdown below, and feel free to use the table below to navigate to a specific game instantly.
College Basketball Odds & Picks
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Note: All photos below are via Getty Images.
(12) Georgetown vs. (5) Colorado
If the Georgetown team that waltzed through the Big East Tournament in Madison Square Garden shows up on Saturday, then the Hoyas can compete with and outright defeat Colorado. However, there’s a lot more evidence that Georgetown is the team that was 5-10 earlier this season with losses to Butler, Marquette, and Navy.
Georgetown ranked 309th in the nation in turnover rate offensively this season — despite playing a schedule largely bereft of teams that actively forced turnovers. The Hoyas only played five games against teams in the top 75 in defensive turnover rate, and they only won one of those five games. Georgetown has committed at least 12 turnovers in every game since Jan. 30.
Colorado’s defense won’t force the Hoyas to throw the ball away, but the Buffaloes will force Georgetown to slow the pace and execute in the halfcourt. The Buffs have the athletes and the experience to force the Hoyas into tough shots all game long.
After Georgetown’s recent hot streak in New York, sinking 42% of its 3s over a three-game span, its offense should regress against a capable Colorado defense.
(12) Georgetown vs. (5) Colorado
By Mike Randle
The opening game of the Saturday slate reminds me of No. 12 Oregon State vs. No. 5 Tennessee.
The Hoyas are scaldingly hot after winning four games in four days to claim the Big East Tournament title. Head coach Patrick Ewing has guided his team through multiple COVID-19 pauses, and now the team is playing its best basketball of the season. During Georgetown’s conference tournament, the team played superb defense, holding three of its opponents to 58 points or less.
Forward Chudier Bile (9.8 points and 5.1 rebounds per game) has been a hidden key to Georgetown’s late-season push. The 6-foot-7 senior scored 19 points with eight rebounds and two blocks in the championship win over Creighton. Bile ended the regular season with 15 or more points in five of the Hoyas’ final six games. Bile gives the Hoyas another option along with guard Jahvon Blair (15.8 PPG) forward Jamorko Pickett (12.3 PPG) and center Qudus Wahab (12.4 PPG, 8.1 RPG).
Georgetown is also a fantastic free-throw shooting team, finishing second in conference play at 78.1%.
Colorado has strong metrics, but it relies heavily on senior McKinley Wright IV (15.5 PPG) to generate offense. Senior Jeriah Horne (11.4 PPG, 42.1% 3P) can be very streaky: Horne scored 6, 19 and 6 points, respectively, in the Buffaloes’ three Pac-12 Tournament games.
The Buffs will need big games from forward Evan Battey (10.2 PPG, 5.4 RPG) and seven-foot senior Dallas Walton (6.6 PPG, 3.1 RPG) to battle the Hoyas bigs. Georgetown’s interior defense will limit Colorado’s 2P Offense, and Wright will feel constant pressure from defensive guards Dante Harris (1.1 SPG) and Donald Carey (1.1 SPG).
I’m taking the Hoyas and the generous 6-point line in a game that I think they could win outright.
(9) St. Bonaventure vs. (8) LSU
By Pat McMahon
The Bonnies and Tigers play very different styles of basketball. LSU is a great offensive team that loves to push the ball. The Bonnies are a fantastic defensive team that likes to take its time on offense. So, this handicap likely comes down to which team is able to control the tempo.
Something has to give here, and I think the experienced, more disciplined Bonnies are the better bet to take control and play the way that they want to. St. Bonaventure’s group of five junior starters have great chemistry and balance. They’re all ironmen that rarely come off the court, so it is imperative that they don’t get into foul trouble: The Bonnies are not particularly deep.
LSU’s press shouldn’t bother St. Bonaventure, who handled VCU’s press with ease in last week’s Atlantic 10 title game. Furthermore, the Bonnies have one of the nation’s steadiest point guards in Kyle Lofton.
The Bonnies are a bit streaky from 3, but their top-30 offensive rebounding rate will make up for an off shooting night. LSU really struggles on the glass, ranking 336th in defensive rebounding rate.
The Tigers’ high powered offense is tough to slow down, but the Bonnies are equipped to handle it. St. Bonaventure ranks 33rd in 3-point defense, surrendering just 30.6% from beyond the arc. The team has a number of different options to defend LSU guard Cam Thomas and will likely throw him several different looks to get him out of rhythm.
In the paint, center Osun Osunniyi is one of the nation’s top rim protectors thanks to his 7-foot-8 wingspan and elite defensive instincts. His presence makes opposing players think twice when they enter the lane.
This should be one of the more entertaining games of the first round, and I trust the Bonnies’ experience and coaching more than the Tigers’ in a tight game. I love the Bonnies moneyline at plus money, and would play them up to -110.
(9) St. Bonaventure vs. (8) LSU
As Pat McMahon highlighted in his Bonnies’ discussion, St. Bonaventure vs. LSU is a massive clash of tempos. The Bonnies play one of the slowest paces in the country, ranking 320th in adjusted tempo, while LSU likes to play fast, ranking 78th in adjusted tempo, per KenPom.
The Bonnies are a good 3-point shooting team — hitting over 35% of their long-range attempts — but, they don’t shoot 3s that often (31.7% of their field goal attempts). Consequently, they do most of their scoring inside, which matches up well with LSU, since the Tigers rank 239th in 2-point field goal percentage allowed. LSU also allows opponents to shoot 64.8% on shot attempts at the rim, so the Bonnies should be able to score at will inside.
LSU has one of the most electric offenses in the country, ranking fifth in offensive efficiency, per KenPom. Will Wade’s offense can score from anywhere and has multiple scorers on the floor that have given opposing defenses fits. However, LSU must now contend against one of the best defenses they’ve seen all season long: St. Bonaventure ranks inside the top 35 in both 2-point and 3-point field goal percentage allowed.
I have the Bonnies projected as -2.05 favorites in this game, so I think there is plenty of value on them at +1.5.
Pick: St. Bonaventure +1.5 (Play to PK)