Saturday College Basketball Betting Odds & Picks: Syracuse-Georgetown, ULM-Stephen F. Austin

Saturday College Basketball Betting Odds & Picks: Syracuse-Georgetown, ULM-Stephen F. Austin article feature image

Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Elijah Hughes

After a lean week, college basketball is back in full force on Saturday.

All eyes may be on Oregon-Michigan and Gonzaga-Arizona, but a once-heralded Big East rivalry and a matchup being played on the Texas-Louisiana border may present the most value to bettors.

Let’s get to it.

College Basketball Odds & Picks

Odds as of Friday night and via DraftKings, where Action Network users get a risk-free bet up to $500.

Syracuse at Georgetown

  • Spread: Georgetown -3
  • Over/Under: 148
  • Time: 1 p.m. ET
  • TV: FOX

The Hoyas have been a difficult team to figure out this season. In the last month alone, they’ve collected quality wins over Texas, Oklahoma State, and SMU, but they’ve also dropped home tilts to UNC Greensboro and Penn State. The home game against the Nittany Lions was particularly disheartening, considering the Hoyas shot just 37.7% from the field.

And since Patrick Ewing took over the program in 2017, GU is 6-14 against the spread as a home favorite.

If you pick and choose moments, such as the first 15 minutes against Duke (GU led by 11) or the late-game meltdown against UNCG, you could make a solid argument for or against the Hoyas in this spot. The problem is that they seem too inconsistent to nail down.

Syracuse, on the other hand, has a clear M.O.

The Orange  are 0-4 straight-up and ATS against teams projected to make the NCAA Tournament (per Bracket Matrix). And when they’ve faced opponents not projected in the field, they’re 5-0 straight-up and 4-1 ATS. They do the opposite of playing up and down to their competition.

That accounts for their four losses to Iowa, Penn State, Oklahoma State and Virginia, and their five wins against Colgate, Seattle, Cornell, Bucknell, and Georgia Tech.

Georgetown is just off the bubble right now and can’t find much consistency, so I’ll take the points.

Pick: Syracuse +3

UL Monroe at Stephen F. Austin

  • Spread: SFA-8.5
  • Over/Under: 138
  • Time: 9 p.m. EST
  • TV: ESPN+

Kyle Keller has picked up where Brad Underwood left off three years ago in Nacogdoches.

With three coaches in the last decade, Stephen F. Austin has emerged as a premier mid-major program. In addition to SFA’s four NCAA Tournament berths since 2014, they’ve knocked off power programs like Baylor and Duke on the road in the last two seasons.

And as impressive as those road victories are, they’ve made an even bigger name for themselves at home. Since 2010, the Jacks are 127-16 SU at William R. Johnson Coliseum.

UL Monroe took down SFA last season at home, but this season’s version of the Warhawks is far from the one that captured a CIT bid last spring. Fresh off a loss to Grambling State, it’s clear they’ve been bitten by the turnover bug.

UL Monroe now ranks 300th nationally in turnovers per play and 287th in the lesser-known effective possession ratio, which  is calculated like this:

(Possessions + Offensive Rebounds – Turnovers) / Possessions]

And this metric is important because it measures how good a team is at getting a scoring opportunity from each possession.

That brings us back to SFA, which ranks first out of 353 teams when it comes to opponent effective possession ratio, essentially limiting scoring opportunities on each possession.

It’s deep-cut efficiency metrics like this that make SFA a near lock in this spot to win outright.

Pick: SFA Moneyline -400

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