Saturday College Basketball Betting: Virginia-Columbia, Northeastern-Old Dominion

Saturday College Basketball Betting: Virginia-Columbia, Northeastern-Old Dominion article feature image

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Virginia Cavaliers head coach Tony Bennett

Saturday college hoops bring us two home teams with proven results on opposite sides of the ball.

Virginia’s defense is a nightmare for opposing offenses every season, while Northeastern head coach Bill Coen’s Huskies are always the standard for offensive efficiency.

Let’s examine how these two teams will fare on today when Virginia hosts Columbia and Northeastern welcomes Old Dominion.

Saturday College Basketball Betting

Odds as of Saturday at 7 a.m. ET 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.

Columbia at Virginia

  • Spread: Virginia -23
  • Over/Under: 120.5
  • Time: 12 p.m. ET
  • TV: ACCN

Virginia’s adjusted defensive efficiency rankings are annually elite, finishing in the overall Top 5 in five of the last six seasons. Currently, the Cavaliers are ranked No. 1 in the nation on defense.

Head coach Tony Bennett has guided Virginia in two dominant wins this season, holding both opponents (Syracuse and James Madison) to exactly 34 total points.

It is difficult to imagine the Columbia Lions and their 181st ranked offense, finding success against Bennett’s pack line defense.

Columbia features one player with double-digit scoring in guard Mike Smith (21.3). The 5-foot-11 senior is a volume shooter who is only averaging 43.4% from the field and 26.7% from 3P.

The Lions will need other players to score with the Cavaliers likely to limit Smith. Virginia will bring the nation’s best effective field goal percentage defense and 2P% defense, along with limiting their opponents to just 21.7% from 3P this year.

Columbia (1-2) has lost its two road games this season to vastly inferior opponents (Lafayette and Wake Forest) compared to Virginia. The Lions also cannot match up with the versatility of the Cavaliers scorers. Seniors Mamadi Diakite (15.5 ppg, 9.5 rpg) and Braxton Key (10.5 ppg, 10.1 rpg) are joined by 7-foot-1 Jay Huff (11.1 ppg, 9.5 rpg) and sophomore point guard Kihei Clark (7.5 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 6.5 apg) to form a balanced scoring attack.

The betting trends favor Virginia as well.  The Cavaliers are 7-0 against the spread in their last seven games dating back to last season, while Columbia is just 1-4 ATS in their last five non-conference games.

I am not scared off by the high number. Backing Virginia at home is always a favorable wager, especially against an Ivy League school with no track record of non-conference road success.

The Pick:  Virginia -23 [In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]

Old Dominion at Northeastern

  • Spread: Northeastern -3.5
  • Over/Under: 129.5
  • Time: 1 p.m. ET

Northeastern looks for a bounceback performance after a surprising 80-71 loss at UMass. Senior guard Jordan Roland was held to just 14 points after scoring 81 in the Huskies’ first two contests.

Old Dominion is 2-1 after consecutive home victories over to St. Joseph’s and Loyola (MD). The Monarchs feature a balanced scoring attack led by junior guard Xavier Green (14.1 ppg, 8.0 rpg).

The Monarchs always defend well, and currently rank 49th in adjusted defensive efficiency per KenPom.

Their problem, however, is on the offensive end.

Old Dominion ranks just 284th in adjusted offensive efficiency and 295th in effective field goal percentage. In addition, they are only shooting 63% (267th) from the free-throw line as a team.

Old Dominion struggled to cover last year in away games, finishing with only a 3-9 record against the spread.

Northeastern averaged 78 ppg in their first two contests, including scoring 84 at home against a strong defensive team in Harvard.

I expect the Huskies, behind their 40% team 3P shooting, to jump on Old Dominion early and put an inefficient offense in a bad game script.

Take Northeastern and give the 3.5 points in a prime team rebound spot.

The Pick:  Northeastern -3.5 [In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]

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