College Basketball Odds, Best Bets: Saturday’s 5 Picks, Featuring Tulane vs. Memphis
Photo by Matthew Visinsky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Kendric Davis (Memphis)
Championship Saturday is here as 13 leagues will crown a postseason champ by the end of the day.
But there are still other conferences in action beyond the scheduled title games.
Our staff finds five best bets from the five non-championship leagues on Saturday.
So, dive in below and get the top NCAAB odds, picks and best bets for Saturday’s slate, including Tulane vs. Memphis and more.
Saturday’s 5 College Basketball Best Bets
The team logos in the table below represent each of the matchups that our college basketball staff is targeting from Saturday’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.|
Ohio State vs. Purdue (Big Ten)
At this point, we all might as well jump aboard the Ohio State train and ride this Buckeye magic while we can.
Typically, when a team wins one out of 15 over a midseason stretch, it’s left for dead, with all players considering their next stop in the pros or the transfer portal.
Credit to Chris Holtmann — his Buckeyes have done the opposite.
After that swoon, Ohio State picked up two good wins prior to the conference tournament and now has ripped off three wins in three days in Chicago. In total, the Buckeyes have covered six straight against the spread.
Clearly, this team is better than its 5-15 Big Ten record would suggest. Nine of those 15 losses came by seven points or fewer, suggesting there was some luck due to swing back the Buckeyes’ way.
It has in a big way this week, which could spell trouble for top-seeded Purdue.
The Boilermakers have become a popular team to fade, having gone 2-7 ATS down the stretch. An all-freshmen backcourt looks to be hitting the famed “freshman wall,” with Rutgers’ full-court pressure nearly cracking Purdue on Friday.
Because the Boilers had to survive that level of defensive intensity yesterday, I’m less concerned about Ohio State’s legs, as the Buckeyes are playing their fourth game in four days.
Brice Sensabaugh missed Friday’s win over Michigan State with knee soreness. If he’s able to go Saturday, Ohio State’s moneyline may be worth a look as well.
Pick: Ohio State +7
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Penn vs. Princeton (Ivy League)
Ivy Madness has typically been good to the host team. Three times in the tournament’s short history the school hosting the event qualified for the NCAA tournament, with two of those three cutting down the nets as champions, both as the 2-seed.
Princeton looks to continue that trend, yet will have its hands full with rival Penn.
Late in the season, the Quakers ripped off seven straight wins. That streak was ended with a loss at Princeton, but the Quakers showed themselves plenty capable of winning that game.
Penn led that game by as many as 19 points, yet slowly leaked oil down the stretch. After scoring only nine points over the game’s final 10 minutes, Penn found itself in overtime, where the collapse continued.
The first meeting of these teams wasn’t quite as dramatic, but also suggested Penn has the goods to compete with the Tigers. Princeton won on the road in Philadelphia by double digits, but Penn missed all 12 of its attempts from beyond the arc.
In total this season, Penn shot 7-of-34 from deep against Princeton, with Quakers’ leading scorer Jordan Dingle going 4-of-19 against the Tigers.
Both Dingle and the Quakers are due for a revenge game. At worst, this one is a figurative coin flip, so nabbing the points here makes sense.
Pick: Penn +2.5
Vanderbilt vs. Texas A&M (SEC)
By Doug Ziefel
The old saying goes, “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.” After our Razorbacks blew a double-digit lead last night, it’s time to back the team that defeated them.
Texas A&M will face a team that did pull off a quarterfinal upset, as Vanderbilt took down Kentucky, 80-73, as 8.5-point underdogs. While the outcome of that game is surprising, it’s the score that will impact this matchup the most.
Vanderbilt is a team that typically likes to slow things down, so 80-point performances have been rare for it this season. Then add that this will be its third game in three days, and you have a recipe for some tired legs.
If the Commodores are indeed tired, it will only amplify their disadvantages on the defensive end of the floor. Texas A&M is not an efficient shooting club, but it’s great at doing the dirty work and out-hustling its opposition.
This is shown through its rank of seventh in offensive rebounding rate despite lacking size.
The Aggies are also adept at getting to the line, ranking second in free-throw attempts-to-field-goal attempts ratio.
On the other end, the Aggies hold advantages at all three levels. The Commodores are a team that ranks 218th in effective field goal percentage while getting the majority of their offense from the perimeter. Those tendencies fall right into the hands of what the Aggies like to do.
All signs point to Texas A&M rolling into the SEC finals.
Pick: Texas A&M -5.5 (Play to -6.5)
Fordham vs. Dayton (Atlantic 10)
In conference tournament play, it often seems teams are rejuvenated by the opportunity to wipe away what may have been an otherwise disappointing season.
Fordham has been truly one of the worst programs in Division I in recent years, so earning the No. 3 seed in the A-10 was an ascension most who follow college basketball did not see coming.
Dayton, in contrast, was predicted to challenge for an at-large bid prior to the start of the regular season.
The Flyers know their play throughout the season leaves them far from the bubble — as it currently stands. Dayton’s only option to earn its way into the NCAA tournament field is to win on both Saturday and Sunday.
The Flyers are a much more talented team than Fordham on paper. Motivation for coach Anthony Grant’s team should also be undoubtedly as high as it’s been all year.
Dayton’s coaching, leadership and communication remain the only question marks.
My belief is that the question marks are more likely to hurt Dayton in the A-10 final, should it earn its way into that game by defeating Fordham.
Saint Louis and VCU have enough talent to match up well with the Flyers, so the questionable aspects of this year’s version of Dayton are more likely to matter in that hypothetical matchup.
Today, however, I believe Dayton — and the likes of DaRon Holmes II and Malachi Smith — will end Fordham’s surprise season.
Fordham’s worst result of the regular season was a 24-point drubbing at home back on Jan. 10. Any guesses as to who may have applied that drubbing to the Rams? Unfortunately for Fordham, the answer is the same team it will see today in the semis of the A-10 Tournament: Dayton.
Trust Dayton’s talent to combine with its motivation and focus today to propel it into the A-10’s championship tomorrow.
Take Dayton to cover the six points and potentially win this one going away.
Pick: Dayton -6 (Play to -7)
Tulane vs. Memphis (AAC)
By Brett Pund
I usually do not like to bet overs with a number like this, but I really do not think you can set the total high enough in any game between Memphis and Tulane.
On the season, both squads are in the top 20 in tempo via KenPom, and they both are inside the top 75 in field goals attempted per game.
Meanwhile, both programs are also in the top 75 in multiple offensive categories, according to Bart Torvik, including AdjO, EFG% and 2-point shooting.
You can also look at how the regular season matchups played out. In the first meeting, the two programs combined for 185 points, and they followed that up with 90-89 contest in Memphis.
This has also been a profitable bet in conference play when the Green Wave are featured, with the over cashing in 16 of their 19 AAC games.
The total is dropping from the opener, so you maybe can wait for a better number as we get closer to tip. However, I still like the total to fly over at the current number at the time of writing.
Pick: Over 160 (Play to 161)
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