Saturday College Basketball Betting Picks: Our Staff’s 4 Favorite Bets
Quinn Harris/Getty Images. Pictured: Darious Hall
- Looking to bet college basketball on Saturday? Of course you are. Our staff looked through today's 80-plus games to find betting value.
- They're honing in on a few short lines, including two conference tournament games.
- Get their best bets for Saturday as an Action EDGE member below.
Rivalry games. Regular season finales with titles on the line. Conference tournaments.
It doesn’t get much better than Saturday’s college basketball card.
Our staff has been hard at work preparing for this slate and what’s to come in the next few weeks, and whittled the card down to one favorite bet each.
- Odds: Kansas -3.5 at Texas Tech
- Over/Under: 133.5
- Time: 2 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPN
Although the Red Raiders have dropped four of their past six games against the spread, they impressively covered wire-to-wire at Baylor on Monday while nearing pulling off the outright upset. This line is sitting around Kansas -2 if Texas Tech had done so, so there’s definite value.
Texas Tech also finds itself in a bit of a must-win situation after dropping three straight games — now viewed as a borderline at-large team come the NCAA Tournament. Look for Chris Beard’s bunch to come out with one of its best efforts of the season, and it actually was fairly competitive on the boards in their previous matchup with Kansas (36-33 Jayhawks’ edge).
In that game, the Red Raiders shot 42.9% from behind the arc and covered (+9) in the process. Kansas is letting up the third-highest 3-point scoring rate in Big 12 play while Texas Tech has tallied the third-highest scoring rate in that department, so it should get some clean looks from behind the arc from freshman Jahmi’us Ramsey and Co.
Beard’s team does have long-term question marks without a true point guard, as point-forward Chris Clarke has been forced to initiate some of its offense. But for at least one game, the Red Raiders should be efficient enough to cover in a motivational spot.
Pick: Texas Tech +3.5
- Odds: Long Island vs. Robert Morris -5.5
- Over/Under: 143.5
- Time: 2:30 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPN+
The NEC Tournament has a bit of a strange feel this year. The regular season champion, Merrimack College, is not eligible for March Madness, which means that the top four remaining seeds actually finished the regular season 2-5 in the standings.
Both Long Island and Robert Morris won nail-biters in the quarterfinals, with each program squeezing through to the semis by a single point. Robert Morris took the lone regular season meeting between these two teams by five points at home back on Jan. 25.
The Colonials are not a super dynamic offensive unit, but they do share the ball better than any team in the NEC. Nearly 65% of every RMU basket comes via an assist, the second highest rate in the entire country. Seven players on RMU average 20 minutes or more per game, but they are heavily reliant upon the play of senior guard Josh Williams. In the Colonials last five losses, Williams has failed to score more than 10 points. When he can’t find his shooting stroke, RMU falls apart.
Speaking of scoring punch, LIU relies on three-point shots for its offensive haymakers. The Sharks average 9.2 made three-pointers per game (26th nationally). Which leads me to believe they are due for an uptick in three-point fortune against Robert Morris. In their last six games (3-3 SU / 3-3 ATS) the Sharks have made an average of just eight three-point shots on 33% shooting, both under their season average.
LIU’s duo of Raiquan Clark and Tyrn Flowers, one of the nation’s best mid-major scoring tandems, has been elevating the Sharks play as of late.
Given RMU’s defensive deficiencies and pedestrian ATS record as a home favorite, I’m going to take the points in this one and back an LIU team that is one hot shooting night away from an NEC title game appearance.
Pick: LIU +5.5
- Odds: DePaul at Providence -10
- Over/Under: 136.5
- Time: 6:30 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPN2
It’s finally time to fade my Friars, who I think are a touch overvalued here after a recent hot stretch. Plus, I have no issues fading PC as a favorite. Ed Cooley’s bunch really struggles from the line at just 69% overall (248th).
If you recall, Providence was actually a 1.5-point underdog when these two teams first met back in early January when the Friars won by one on a free throw with one second left.
Despite their season taking a turn for the worse during conference play, the Blue Demons have continued to fight and compete. They even picked up a win over Marquette in their most recent game — despite not having the services of star big man Paul Reed, who’s listed as questionable (but I think plays tonight).
Providence is just one of those teams I love to fade as a sizable favorite and the numbers have backed that up this year. The Friars are just 3-7 ATS as a favorite of seven or more points with four outright losses to Northwestern, Penn, Long Beach State and Charleston. It’s also not a bad matchup on paper for DePaul.
- Odds: SMU at South Florida pk
- Over/Under: 129
- Time: 7 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPN+
The road issues continued for the Mustangs after a mid-week loss in Orlando against Central Florida. SMU now travels to Tampa to take on South Florida in the Yuengling Center.
Tim Jankovich’s team has won just once on the road during conference play, failing to cover the spread over the past five games. A 22-point deficit was erased against Central Florida, but was then squandered as the Knights scored the last five points in a three-point victory.
SMU may not have much in the tank to finish out the regular season with overlook to the conference tournament, which will be played just 30 minutes from SMU’s campus in Fort Worth.
This is a revenge spot for the Bulls, as SMU shot 77% from 2-point range in a blowout on Jan. 1. This game will have a much slower pace as both teams have an adjusted tempo in the bottom 25 of Division I play.
SMU has the best offensive efficiency in the AAC complimented by the worst defensive efficiency in the conference. The Mustangs also have the worst perimeter defense, but South Florida must be better on the boards. SMU grabbed 30 defensive rebounds in its New Year’s Day victory against a South Florida team that is top 50 nationally in offensive rebounds.
The Bulls also have a hidden advantage at the charity stripe. A big chunk of USF’s points come from the free-throw line, as they get to the line better than almost anyone in the conference and shoot well from it.
Look for the Bulls to take advantage of an SMU squad that has thrown in the towel with each passing road game.
Pick: South Florida pk