Saturday College Basketball Betting Picks: Our Staff’s 5 Best Bets
Mitchell Layton/Getty Images. Pictured: Oscar Lopez Jr.
We’re blessed with 149 college basketball games on Saturday, and our staff has been hard at work trying to cut the slate down into one favorite play each.
Today we’re focused in on the Big 12, Big East, and Big Ten.
Here’s what we’re betting on Saturday:
College Basketball Betting Picks
Odds as of Saturday morning and via DraftKings, where Action Network users get a risk-free bet up to $500.
- Odds: Purdue at Ohio State -5
- Over/Under: 128
- Time: 12 p.m. ET
- TV: FOX
Purdue’s inspired play at home this season has been well-documented. Matt Painter’s team thrashed both Virginia and and Michigan State by 29 points in West Lafayette, but despite those impressive victories, they’ve been unable to climb back into the AP Top 25.
The reason they remain on the outside of the national rankings looking in is that when the Boilermakers take their show on the road, things have gone off the rails pretty dramatically.
When facing teams projected to make the NCAA Tournament (per Bracket Matrix) on the road or at a neutral site, Purdue is 1-7 SU and ATS.
With the exception of their win last Saturday against Indiana, Purdue’s offense has been the issue on the road. The Boilermakers’ scoring average plummets from 69.3 points per game to 59.8 when facing a quality opponent on the road or at a neutral site. That includes three overtime periods, too.
In case there was any doubt, Purdue hasn’t been snake-bitten in these situations. Across those eight contests, Purdue shot 36.4% from the floor and 28.9% from three.
Which brings us to the suddenly surging Ohio State Buckeyes, who are 4-1 SU and 3-1-1 ATS across their last five games.
Chris Holtmann’s defense has put the clamps on the competition this season. They lead the Big Ten in 2P% defense and have held six straight opponents to 66 points or fewer. The Buckeyes lone issue has been perimeter defense. Opponents shoot a healthy 33.8% from long range, and bury 7.3 treys per game (205th).
In this spot, I wouldn’t count on Purdue to suddenly find their shooting stroke, which amounts to their only chance to stay within five points of the Buckeyes.
Pick: Ohio State -5 [In Indiana? Bet now at DraftKings]
- Odds: Texas Tech -4 @ Oklahoma State
- Over/Under: 133.5
- Time: 1 pm EST
- TV: CBS
Stuckey and I can argue about the Red Raiders’ long-term prospects all day, but I’m fading them after the market has overreacted to their largest-ever margin of victory in Big 12 play. They’ll also be missing freshman Terrence Shannon Jr. — an up-and-coming two-way guard — who was placed in concussion protocol following their win over TCU.
The Cowboys have looked improved ever since getting smacked by Kansas and Oklahoma, too, covering their following three contests while averaging 1.05 points per possession in the process.
Not only does Mike Boyton’s bunch have a size advantage in this contest, allowing it to likely control the glass, but it should have more opportunities to attack the paint minus Shannon’s sound ball pressure. Those driving lanes should result in trips to the line, as Oklahoma State is averaging the second-highest free-throw scoring rate in conference play. Meanwhile, Texas Tech is yielding the second-highest rate in that department.
To top it off, the Cowboys dropped their first meeting in Lubbock (85-50) on Jan. 4. Expect them to come out motivated and at least keep the final score within a single possession.
Pick: Oklahoma State +4
- Odds: Texas Tech at Oklahoma State +4
- Over/Under: 133.5
- Time: 1 p.m. ET
- TV: CBS
It’s time to sell high on the Red Raiders.
You may recall recently hearing many start to question whether or not Texas Tech would make the tournament with only one Quad 1 win on its resume. Well, just a few short weeks later, those same people are now saying Chris Beard’s bunch could return to the Final Four.
What has transpired since?
A home win over West Virginia. That’s an impressive victory in a game I bet TTU but let’s be honest, the Red Raiders shot 11-17 from deep and 28-32 from the line. They also picked up home wins over TCU (meh) and Oklahoma (decent) in addition to a fortunate road win in comeback fashion at Texas in a game in which the Longhorns lost multiple players to injury.
Texas Tech is clearly a tournament team but I’m not buying the recent hype on this extremely young team that only has two true road wins this season: at Kansas State and at Texas in a game it probably should’ve lost.
The Red Raiders have also benefited from unsustainable three-point splits in conference play. They lead the Big 12 in both 3P shooting at 39.8% and 3P defense at 26.0%. Expect a correction to both numbers in the coming weeks.
On the flip side, Oklahoma State is shooting just 28.1% from beyond the arc in conference play. And this is almost the same group that shot just under 37% from three last season in league games. You should see a bump in this category moving forward.
I like the way the Pokes have played over their past few games and think this is a good spot to sell high on a Texas Tech team that has been running a little too well.
It’s also a young Red Raider squad that could come out a little flat after basically securing their spot in the dance over the past couple weeks.
I’m also throwing some on 1H out of respect for those deadly Chris Beard in-game and halftime adjustments.
Pick: Oklahoma State +4
- Odds: Iowa State -1
- Over/Under: 137
- Time: 2 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPN2
Most bettors will stress over the loss of guard Tyrese Haliburton to Iowa State, but underestimate the injury to Texas forward Jericho Sims. The 6-foot-9, 240 lb junior averages 9.7 ppg and is clearly the best Texas rebounder at 8.2 boards per game. The next best rebounder for the Longhorns is backup forward Gerald Liddell at 3.3 rpg.
Even with Sims this season, Texas ranks last in Big 12 play in defensive rebounding and second to last in offensive rebounding.
While the Cyclones certainly miss Haliburton’s multi-faceted contributions on offense, they still have scoring options. Sophomore guard Rasir Bolton (14.9 ppg, 3.5 rpg) has been a much better player at home, averaging 21 points and shooting 50% (11 of 22) from 3P against Baylor, Oklahoma State, and Oklahoma.
The Longhorns road offense will struggle without Sims. In their last conference road game, Texas only had two players score in double-figures: junior guard Matt Coleman (20 points) and Sims (17 points). The Longhorns rank third in Big 12 play in 3P%, but the Cyclones will be able to extend their defense without worrying about Sims’ inside presence. .
Iowa State always has a strong home court advantage, and that won’t be different against a short-handed Texas team that is only 9-15 against the spread. The Cyclones are a solid 8-5 at home ATS this season, and should be able to cover the small number at home against the similar talent structure of Texas.
Pick: Iowa State -1
- Odds: Creighton -9
- Over/Under: 147
- Time: 730p EST
- TV: FS1
There may not be a better spot on the Saturday slate when DePaul visits Creighton. The Bluejays are certainly a team on the rise, ranking top 25 nationally shooting the 3 and winning six fo their last seven games.
Those victories include road wins at some of the Big East’s best in Villanova and Seton Hall.
The next big game as Creighton ascends in the conference ranks is at Marquette next Tuesday. Sandwiched in between the Seton Hall win and Marquette is lowly DePaul.
The Blue Demons were winners of 12 of their first 13, but have hit hard times with a 1-10 record in Big East play. Despite the record, DePaul is still playing hard.
Recent losses to Marquette and Georgetown were by just four points on the road.
From a matchup perspective, the Blue Demons rank top 120 nationally in 3-point defense, a stat that is crucial against a hot-shooting Creighton team. DePaul also has a major advantage on the glass, as the Bluejays field the worst defensive rebounding squad in the Big East.
Pick: DePaul +9