Saturday College Basketball Betting Odds & Picks: Kentucky vs. Louisville, BYU vs. Oral Roberts
Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Louisville F Jordan Nwora
There is no better way to welcome college basketball back from the holiday break than with a true blue blood rivalry between Kentucky and Louisville.
For the first time in quite a while, the No. 3 ranked Cardinals enter this game with a better record and national standing, however, the Wildcats are at home and still favored by one point.
Also in action on Saturday is a red-hot BYU Cougars team still flying under the national radar when they host Oral Roberts.
Let’s see who has the upper hand in both of these contests on a 65-game college basketball slate.
Saturday College Basketball Betting Picks
Odds as of Friday night and via PointsBet, where Action Network users can access an exclusive promotion to get a 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150). No strings attached. No rollover required.
Kentucky vs. Louisville Odds
- Spread: Kentucky -1
- Over/Under: 131.5
- Time: 3:45 p.m. ET
- TV: CBS
The No. 19-seeded Kentucky Wildcats (8-3) enter this home rivalry matchup desperate for a win. Head coach John Calipari’s team have lost consecutive games to Utah and Ohio State. They are just 4-7 against the spread including 3-5 at home.
No. 3 Louisville (11-1) enters Rupp Arena with just one loss on the season, a 70-57 neutral court loss to Texas Tech. However, the Cardinals are only 7-5 ATS with their only true road game coming at Miami back on November 5.
The key to Texas Tech’s win over Louisville was its 3-point defense. The Red Raiders held the Cardinals to a microscopic 17.6% (3 of 17) from beyond the arc. The Cardinals rank 32nd best in the country with a 37.6% from 3P range.
Kentucky ranks 85th in the country in limiting the opposition’s 3P accuracy, and just held the fifth-best three-point shooting team (Ohio State) to 6 of 19 from deep in a neutral site game.
The Wildcats received a huge boost from the return of 6-foot-9 forward Nate Sestina, who scored 17 points on 5 of 8 from 3P in their close loss to Ohio State.
Kentucky has a healthy roster with forward E.J. Montgomery (8.9 ppg, 5.9 rpg) and guard Immanuel Quickley (11.1 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 2.1 apg) back at full strength.
Louisville needed spurts in the late second half of home games against Pittsburgh and Miami (OH) to secure victories, and head coach Chris Mack’s pack-line defense does not provide extra offensive opportunities through turnovers.
Louisville usually has an advantage on the boards ranking 23rd in the nation with an average of 40.5 per game, eight more than their opposition. However, Kentucky’s seven-rebound differential with their opponents should neutralize the Cardinals’ usual advantage.
Kentucky’s strength on defense and at the free-throw line (79% as a team) will be the difference in this matchup.
I’m taking the more desperate team at home in Kentucky to upset the higher-ranked Cardinals and win their third consecutive matchup in this legendary rivalry.
The Pick: Kentucky -1
BYU vs. Oral Roberts
- Spread: BYU -14
- Over/Under: 149.5
- Time: 9:00 p.m. ET
- TV: BYUtv
BYU (10-4) is one of the most underrated teams in college basketball. The Cougars have earned big wins at Houston, and neutral-court victories over UCLA, Virginia Tech, and Utah State. BYU is 8-5 against the spread and played the first nine games of the season without their best player, 6-foot-8 senior Yoeli Childs.
Oral Roberts (7-5) enters this game on a four-game winning streak and is an impressive 6-2 ATS, including 4-2 on the road.
The key to this game will be the battle in the post between Childs and Golden Eagles tandem of Emmanuel Nzekwesi (16.1 ppg, 8.7 rpg) and Kevin Obanor (11.3 ppg, 7.4 rpg).
Oral Roberts ranks 87th in the nation in offensive rebounding percentage, and Childs 10.4 rpg is almost one-third of BYU’s total team per game average.
However, Oral Roberts will have to address BYU’s superior marksmanship from beyond the arc. The Cougars sit ninth-overall in the nation with a 40.3% team average from deep.
In the five games since Childs return, the Cougars have averaged 82.4 points per game including cresting the 90-point level twice.
The Golden Eagles fast pace (33rd fastest in adjusted tempo) is a poor match on the road at BYU, and should provide plenty of open-floor 3P opportunities for the Cougars in transition.
The Cougars versatile offense combined with Oral Roberts poor shooting (28.9% 3P) adds up to a big BYU win at the Marriott Center in Provo.
The Pick: BYU -14