Saturday’s College Basketball Betting Previews: Duke-Florida State, Kansas-Baylor

Saturday’s College Basketball Betting Previews: Duke-Florida State, Kansas-Baylor article feature image
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Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Duke Blue Devils

Although the NFL playoffs have reached the divisional round, there’s still lots of college basketball that deserves its fair share of attention from bettors.

Among the 21 (!) ranked teams taking the court tomorrow, No. 1 Duke travels to No. 13 Florida State for its second true road test before No. 7 Kansas battles Baylor in a Big 12 showdown.

Where’s the value in these contests? Let’s break them down.


>> All odds as of Friday evening. Download The Action Network App to get real-time NCAAB odds and track your bets.


Betting Odds: Duke Blue Devils at Florida State Seminoles

  • Spread: Duke -7
  • Over/Under: 155
  • Time: 2 p.m. ET
  • TV: ESPN

The Blue Devils (10-4 against the spread) conclude their two-game ACC road trip against the Seminoles (5-10 ATS), manufacturing the 41st-rated Adjusted Offensive Efficiency in the nation.

Despite Florida State’s size advantage in the paint, paced by its prowess for attacking the lane and drawing contact, Leonard Hamilton’s crew hasn’t faced a defensive mammoth like Duke this season. The Blue Devils have amassed the second-highest block rate (19.5%) in the country, led by some of the best frontcourt depth around in Zion Williamson (6.7%), Marques Bolden (12.0%), Javin DeLaurier (7.3%) and Jack White (6.2%).

Not only is Mike Krzyzewski’s unit lethal in that department, but it’s also generating the highest steal rate against an opposition with the 87th-highest turnover rate (14.7%). Expect Duke to dominate in transition and force FSU into speeding up its own attack prematurely. Although Trent Forrest is a sound floor general, he’s been plagued by a 23.5% turnover rate and will be harassed by Blue Devils’ ball hawk Tre Jones all afternoon.

The key to giving Duke issues is to leak out and stretch the floor, avoiding its rim protectors in the process. But the Seminoles are shooting 32.7% from behind the arc while the Blue Devils are yielding a mere 28.5% 3-point clip.

According to our Bet Labs data, Duke 7-4 (63.6%) ATS as a road favorite, dating back to last regular season. That trend will continue in Tallahassee.

THE PICK: Duke -7

Kansas Jayhawks at Baylor Bears

  • Spread: Kansas -3.5
  • Over/Under: 137
  • Time: 4 p.m. ET
  • TV: ESPN

Even though the Jayhawks (7-8 ATS) came away with both a cover and straight-up win over TCU on Wednesday, their floor-spacing wasn’t solved, shooting only 23.8% from the perimeter. Enter the Bears (8-6 ATS), letting up the 42nd-lowest Effective Field Goal percentage (46.4%) in college basketball.

Similar to Kansas’ recent loss at Iowa State, Dedric Lawson will have a difficult time matching up with Tristan Clarke. The 6-foot-9 Clarke stands at the center of Baylor’s sixth-highest block rate in Division I. Considering 56.1% of Bill Self’s offense comes from that vicinity, it’ll have a tough time controlling the pace, favoring the Bears’ slower tempo.

At the other end, Scott Drew’s bunch should have its way on the block via its 55.1% two-point clip. Without Udoka Azubuike (wrist) available to protect the rim for Kansas, the Bears’ 16th-highest offensive rebounding percentage (36.7%) will give Jayhawks fits. On top of that, many of Kansas’ opponents have made it pay via 3s. Baylor is shooting 34.4% in that department over its past three contests, thanks in large part to Makai Mason’s improved play.

The backcourt battle between Mason and Kansas freshman Devin Dotson will be a critical factor in this one, and I’ll side with Mason’s less-erratic pace.

The Bears are 3-1 (75%) ATS as a single-digit underdog this season, per Bet Labs. Expect them to nab their second straight upset.

THE PICK: Baylor +3.5