Saturday College Basketball Odds & Picks: Kansas State-WVU, Utah State-San Diego State
Ethan Miller/Getty Images. Pictured: KJ Feagin (10) and Malachi Flynn (22) of the San Diego State Aztecs.
It’s tempting to bet tons of college basketball this time of year. It can be difficult to whittle down the massive college basketball slate on Saturday to a few plays that offer the most value.
Two games in particular stood out to me today and both offer a similar angle to gamblers. Here’s who I’m backing in Kansas State vs. West Virginia and Utah State-San Diego State.
College Basketball Odds & Picks
Odds as of Saturday morning and via FanDuel, where Action Network users get a risk-free bet up to $500.
Kansas State at West Virginia
- Spread: WVU -12
- Over/Under: 131
- Time: 2 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPN2
The Huggy Bear Invitational offers some exceptional value for gamblers who aren’t afraid to lay significant points during conference play.
Kansas State, losers of six of its last eight, actually rebounded fairly nicely from the brawl against in-state rival Kansas. Since then, the Wildcats nearly scored a road upset of Alabama and handled Oklahoma with ease in the Octagon of Doom.
Unfortunately for Kansas State, the schedule is about to get pretty rugged. After a trip to Morgantown on Saturday afternoon, the Cats return home to host No. 1 Baylor.
If K-State had folded up the tent in the wake of their dustup in Lawrence, the market may have felt more comfortable handing out north of 13.5 points in this game. But when you couple their resilience with their upset of WVU at home just two weeks ago, its easy to see why this number is hovering a little lower.
K-State’s home/away splits have always been striking. Since KenPom began quantifying homecourt advantage, K-State has resided in the 95th-98th percentile. The Wildcats held true to form this year, posting an 8-3 home record SU and an 1-4 mark straight-up away from their friendly confines.
Beyond the situational play, WVU is a known commodity in terms of disruption and rebounding. The Mountaineers steal the ball away from opponents on 10% of their possessions and lead the nation in offensive rebounding. That translates to a lot of extra possessions.
It’s no wonder the Mountaineers are 12th nationally in Extra Scoring Chances per game.
Add in the revenge factor to WVU’s statistical advantages and any number under 13.5 is a strong play in this spot.
Pick: WVU -12
Utah State at San Diego State
- Spread: SDSU-7.5
- Over/Under: 130.5
- Time: 10 p.m. ET
- TV: CBSSN
Utah State (17-6 SU, 9-12 ATS), a one-time preseason darling, can change the course of its season on Saturday.
Injuries, uneven play and a slight regression from star wing Sam Merrill has fans and gamblers alike turning their ankles as they jump off the Aggie bandwagon. But this matchup against the Aztecs can serve as a shot in the arm for Utah State, whose at-large hopes are touch and go at best with selection Sunday just six weeks away.
So why the sudden faith in Utah State? For starters, Neemias Queta appears to have turned the corner. The Portuguese big spent the first nine games of the season on the sidelines, nursing an offseason knee injury.
It’s taken a while for Queta to regain his bounce, and it was apparent that head coach Craig Smith had his future pro on a pitch count early on.
Since the calendar turned to 2020, Queta’s playing time has jumped to nearly 25 minutes per game. During that seven game stretch he’s averaged 12.4 ppg and 7.2 rpg, while shooting better than 70% from the floor. As a fringe first-round pick, this showdown with SDSU represents his best chance to catch the attention of scouts before March.
What’s interesting to note is that in Queta’s absence, and subsequent slow return, sophomore Justin Bean took a massive leap forward from last season. The two now represent the most intimidating front court tandem in the MWC and could be the key in this game.
Thanks to Bean and Queta, USU is the best defensive rebounding team in the conference, which bodes poorly for SDSU, which struggles to crash the offensive glass (7.7 ORPG, 244th).
In their last matchup, a nine-point Aztec win in Logan, SDSU shot 45% from 3-point range. If they’re unable to replicate such long-range success, and are brushed back off the offensive glass, Utah State has an excellent chance at ruining college basketball’s first perfect regular season since 2015.
Pick: Utah State ML+270