Saturday College Basketball Betting Picks: Our Staff’s 6 Favorite Bets
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Saint Louis Billikens
With college football winding down, college hoops will take center stage on Saturday with 82 games, including a pair between top 20 teams.
Our staff has been hard at work dissecting the card and boiled it down to a favorite bet. Let’s get to it.
College Basketball Betting Picks
Odds as of Saturday morning and via DraftKings, where Action Network users get a risk-free bet up to $500.
- Michigan (-3.5) vs. Oregon, 12 p.m. ET, CBS
- Louisville (-32) vs. EKU, 12 p.m. ET, ACCN
It has been a rough week for Top 5 college basketball teams. No. 1 Louisville lost to Texas Tech on Tuesday and No. 5 Michigan fell to Illinois on Wednesday.
The Cardinals and Wolverines will try to redeem themselves on Saturday following their losses. Each team will be a popular bet as casual gamblers will expect them to bounce back after poor performances.
However, it has not been profitable to bet on a Top 5 team after a loss. Since 2005, a $100 bettor would have lost $1,535 wagering on these highly ranked teams following a loss.
There is a sharp split when these teams are favored or underdogs.
Favorites: 89-114-1 (43.8%) ATS
Underdogs: 18-3-2 (85.7%) ATS
Louisville (-32 vs. Eastern Kentucky) and Michigan (-3.5 vs. Oregon) are both favorites on Saturday.
Picks: EKU +32, Oregon +3.5
Eli Hershkovich: Syracuse +2.5
- Odds: Syracuse +2.5 at Georgetown
- Over/Under: 147
- Time: 1 p.m. ET
- TV: FOX
Syracuse won’t shoot 42.4% from the perimeter like it did at Georgia Tech last weekend, but expect another sound performance.
Georgetown’s biggest defensive liability is matching up from behind the arc, allowing the 41st-highest 3-point scoring rate in the country.
Patrick Ewing’s squad is also letting up a 36.4% 3-point clip (62nd-worst in the nation).
Although the Orange have displayed their inconsistencies in that department (34.1%), they’ve been reliant on perimeter shooting throughout the young season. If Jim Boeheim’s crew can generate quality looks for wings Elijah Hughes and Buddy Boeheim, it begins with controlling the tempo.
With Matt McClung and Terrell Allen representing the Hoyas’ primary ball-handlers, they’ve generated college hoops’ 53rd-highest turnover rate (22.3%). Syracuse (51st-highest opponents’ turnover rate) thrives off creating havoc en route to playing at a snail-like pace. Look for its defense to set the tone early.
Moreover, this matchup is a sell-high opportunity with Georgetown following two straight wins after ex-Hoyas’ James Akinjo and Josh LeBlanc were removed from the team. Forwards Galen Alexander and Myron Gardner announced they were leaving the program on Friday as well, so the Hoyas will be playing short-handed — down to seven scholarship players.
Pick: Syracuse +2.5
Stuckey: St. Louis +11.5
- Odds: Saint Louis +11.5 at Auburn
- Over/Under: 138
- Time: 4 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPN2
I think Auburn is a little overvalued in the market right now due to its undefeated record. However, if you look a little closer, Bruce Pearl’s bunch easily could’ve lost to South Alabama (won on a buzzer beater) and Furman (overcame a 14-point second half deficit to tie it with 15 seconds left before winning in OT.) You could also see some initial rust for a team that hasn’t played since Dec. 5.
I’m a big fan of this Saint Louis team. It all starts with the dynamic inside-out junior duo of guard Jordan Goodwin (who’s averaging 15.4 points and 11 rebounds) and forward Hasahn French (who is also averaging a double-double per game). Both are very physical players on a physical team that can match up with Auburn.
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Saint Louis is known for its excellent defense but the difference this year (especially of late) has been the play on the other end of the court from some of its role players. The Billikens actually have players who are hitting outside shots, namely Demarius Jacobs and freshman sharpshooter Gibson Jimerson. That really opens up the lane for Goodwin and French.
Free throw shooting is a major concern here as the Billikens are one of the worst in the nation (French is especially painful to watch at the line and can get there a ton) but this is a very good matchup for the Bills.
If they can just hit some outside shots, French and Goodwin can keep this close and SLU can compete on the glass. And in a week where we’ve seen a number of unbeatens go down, it wouldn’t completely shock me to see the Tigers lose here in a game that will be played on a semi-neutral court in Birmingham.
Pick: Saint Louis +11.5
Mike Randle: Utah -9
- Odds: Utah -9 vs. Weber State
- Over/Under: 143.5
- Time: 4 p.m. ET
- TV: Pac-12 Network
The Utes (7-2) are riding a three-game winning streak including a huge 102-95 home win over rival BYU. They will play Weber State (3-5) as part of the final installment of the Beehive Classic, which was created to showcase hoops in the state of Utah.
This game will be the front end of a one-admission doubleheader at the Vivint Smart Home Arena located in Salt Lake City.
While this isn’t technically a home game for Utah, it is located in the same city and should provide the high-scoring Utes with a de facto home court. Weber State (3-5) is coming off consecutive wins over Utah Valley and independent Westcliff. So this is big step up in opposing talent for the Wildcats.
Utah’s offense is among the best in the nation, ranking fourth overall in effective field goal percentage and third in 2P%. They will feast on a Weber State team that ranks 335th or worse in 2P%, effective field goal defensive percentage and 3P%. The Wildcats allow an embarrassing 40.3% from beyond the arc to opponents.
Weber State is only 2-4 against the spread on the season, and will need to play its best defense of the season against a balanced Utah offense that is not reliant on 3-pointers to score.
The Utes have produced a modest 28.4% of their points via 3P, only 225th most in the nation.
I expect a big Utah win in the last year of the Beehive classic. Head coach Larry Krystkowiak has his team playing tremendous basketball and will keep the offense rolling against a poor Weber State defense.
Bryan Mears: Dayton -16
- Odds: Dayton -15 vs. Drake
- Over/Under: 136
- Time: 7 p.m. ET
- TV: N/A
Dayton has been nothing short of awesome this season. The Flyers sit 7-1 on the year with a lone loss to Kansas in overtime on a neutral court.
On the year, they’re fourth in offensive efficiency and lead the nation in both eFG% and 2P%. They’re also deadly from outside, and honestly they’ve probably had some poor shooting luck on defense: Opponents are hitting 38.8% of their 3s against the Flyers, one of the highest marks in the nation (average is 33.0%).
Dayton continues to outperform expectations: They’re 4-2 ATS this year on games with listed lines, and they’ve beat the spread by an average of 7.42 points.
Drake, meanwhile, is 3-4 ATS on games with lines and has underperformed the spread by -2.43 points per game. The Bulldogs sit 8-2 on the year, but these are not convincing wins. Just in the past week, they won by just five at home over Southeast Missouri State (who barely beat a non Division I team in Missouri S&T before that) and three at home against Milwaukee, who has also been … not very good.
KenPom’s marks would’ve had this game at around Dayton -16.5 prior to the start of the year (notably, Dayton has one of the best home-court advantages in the league). Today’s spread sits at … -15?
KP has adjusted Dayton up; that’s not the issue. The Flyers went from 57th in his AdjEM rankings to 19th today. I just don’t think that may be enough, and I think Drake probably deserves to fall a bit given their play — they’ve risen as well. Drake is a slow-paced team, which is good in terms of covering big spreads, but it also mean the Bulldogs operate mostly in the halfcourt, where Dayton is just awesome so far.
Pick: Dayton -16