College Basketball Pick & Roll: Calabrese & McGrath’s Top-6 Best Bets and Player Props for Saturday, Jan. 23

College Basketball Pick & Roll: Calabrese & McGrath’s Top-6 Best Bets and Player Props for Saturday, Jan. 23 article feature image
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Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Oregon State guard Ethan Thompson (5).

  • All good things in college basketball come in pairs, and Mike Calabrese and Tanner McGrath are keeping that trend going.
  • Calabrese and McGrath broke down their four favorite betting picks and their top-2 college basketball player props ahead of Saturday's tip-offs.
  • Below, find Calabrese's and McGrath's comprehensive breakdowns for each of their top betting picks and prop bets on Saturday.

Ayo Dosunmu and Kofi Cockburn. Joe Wieskamp and Luka Garza. Corey Kispert and Drew Timme. If you have a one-two scoring punch, you have a chance in today’s college basketball. 

Well, here at the Action Network, we’re putting together a dynamic duo of our own to help you put together a lethal Saturday card. 

Each Saturday, Tanner McGrath and Mike Calabrese will be teaming up to deliver sides, totals, moneyline upsets, parlays and player props. So, “pick” from their selections, “and roll” into Saturday’s action with confidence. 


All listed odds have been updated as of Friday evening. Specific bet recommendations before each breakdown come from the sportsbook offering preferred odds as of writing on Friday night.

Always shop for the best price using our NCAAB Odds page, which automatically surfaces the best lines for every game.


McGrath’s Top 2 Plays for Saturday

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Carmen Mandato/Getty Images. Pictured: The Houston Cougars.

Houston -14.5 @ Temple (132), 12 p.m. ET | Under 132

Houston is an incredible defensive team. 

Kelvin Sampson’s Cougars are fourth in the nation in defensive efficiency, per KenPom, and are holding opponents to just 43.4% from 2-point range and 24.2% from 3-point range.

Meanwhile, Temple can’t shoot the ball. It boasts a measly 47.9 eFG%, and it’s shooting less than 40% from 2-point range in conference play this season. Overall, the Owls are averaging just 62 points per game.

Additionally, the under is 8-3 in Houston’s last 11 road games and 7-3 in the last 10 games between Houston and Temple. 

Temple’s last two games went under the total, as it managed just 65 points against Tulane and 62 against UCF. Against the defensive juggernaut that is Houston, the Owls might not break 50. 

Clemson @ Florida State -7.5 (137.5), 3 p.m. ET | Florida State -7.5 and Over 137.5

Clemson began this season really strong. The Tigers won nine of their first 10 games behind the strongest defense in college basketball. 

Clemson has since collapsed. 

It has suffered two demoralizing losses in a row, losing by 18 to Georgia Tech and 35 to Virginia. Before the Virginia game, the Tigers hadn’t given up more than 70 points in a game all season, but they allowed 85 and 83 in those two losses, respectively. 

Clemson’s defense is in a drought, and now it has to play Florida State on the road. This Seminole team has been hot offensively, scoring 78, 82 and 105 in its last three games, respectively. In ACC play, Florida State ranks second in offensive efficiency and first in eFG%. 

The struggling Clemson defense, which is probably overvalued, plus a surging Seminole offense provides value on two plays in this spot. 

First, Florida State -7.5. Florida State is 3-0 ATS in its last three, while Clemson is 1-3-1 ATS in its last five.

Second, over 137.5. The over is 5-0 in Clemson’s last five and 4-0 in Florida State’s last four. Plus, the over has gone 4-1 in the last five games between the Tigers and Seminoles in Tallahassee. 

Give me both!

Calabrese’s Top 2 Plays for Saturday

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Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Mitch Ballock.

Connecticut @ Creighton -6 (137.5), 12 p.m. ET | Creighton -6 

With Marcus Zegarowski running the point, the Bluejays were rolling. In his last five games before suffering a hamstring injury, Zegarowski helped propel Creighton to a 5-0 record straight up and against the spread. 

After a brief period on the shelf, he’s now back to full strength and has had a game to shake off the rust. For that reason, I believe Creighton is undervalued in this spot. 

UConn is headed in the opposite direction and down its go-to scorer. James Bouknight was making a run at Big East Player of the Year, but according to head coach Dan Hurley, Bouknight will be sidelined for approximately three more weeks after undergoing left elbow surgery. 

The Huskies’ offensive limitations bit them against St. John’s, and without Bouknight, I foresee Creighton running away from UConn in the second half of this one. 

Oregon State @ Oregon -12 (137.5), 10:30 p.m. ET | Oregon State +12 

Since 2018, the Ducks and Beavers have been the top two Pac-12 teams against the spread, with records of 60% and 56.2%, respectively. 

Oregon has accomplished this feat by being an absolute menace at home, covering 65% of the time in the last 2.5 years under Dana Altman. 

But it may come as a surprise to many that Oregon State is actually the only Pac-12 team during this time period to post a winning ATS record on the road. 

“Going on the road,” isn’t something that the Beavers have heard in a long time. Due to COVID-19 cancellations, Oregon State hasn’t played away from Corvallis since Dec. 2. 

This season has forced me to narrow in on exactly how teams are playing at this very moment. 

Long layoffs, strange scheduling quirks and other distractions make it a fool’s errand to judge a team on how it played a month ago or trying to project how it’ll play a month from today. 

With that in mind, Oregon State is playing really well at the moment, upsetting Arizona State and USC in back-to-back games. 

Oregon has also steadied its ship following its annual loss in Boulder. But this number is just too large for a rivalry game. My power rankings called for this to be in the Oregon -7 to -8.5 range, so I’ll gladly take the 12 in this spot. 

It doesn’t hurt that the Beavers have won three of the last four in this series, and they’re sharing the basketball better than anyone in the Pac-12 (0.678 Asts/FGM, second nationally). 

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McGrath’s Top Player Prop

Editors Note: Oklahoma State forward Cade Cunningham will not play today against Baylor, according to The Oklahoman’s Jacob Unruh.

Oklahoma State Forward Cade Cunningham Over 19.5 Points or Better | 2 p.m. ET

At first glance, this feels like a bad spot. Baylor has the best defense in college basketball with multiple bodies it can defend Cunningham with.

However, I think that’s why it might be a good spot. Cunningham’s point total might be low at some books because of Baylor’s defense, and I can make an argument for a big Cunningham game.

Cunningham plays well against good teams with good defenses. In just the last six games, he scored 25 against Texas, 25 against West Virginia and 18 against Kansas. He shot at least 50% from the field in all three of those games.

The one common thread between those performances — they were all in Stillwater. Cunningham plays way better at home than on the road. He’s averaging 21.7 points per game on 49.4/42.9/78.6 shooting splits at home, while averaging just 14.8 points per game on 41.7/33.3/78.6 splits on the road. 

Baylor’s defense is absurd, but it allowed Mac McClung to score 24 points when it played Texas Tech on the road. Why can’t the projected No. 1 overall pick score 20? 

Calabrese’s Top Player Prop

Editors Note: Head coach Dana Altman announced that neither Chris Duarte nor LJ Figueroa will play vs. Oregon State this evening due to a positive test and contact-tracing protocols related to COVID-19.

Accordingly, the forthcoming player prop bet recommendation is now off the board.

Oregon Guard Chris Duarte Over 21.5 Points (Up to 22.5) | 10:30 p.m. ET

For our friends in the Garden State, DraftKings has been offering player props on ranked matchups throughout the season for bettors in New Jersey. 

Generally speaking, those numbers have been set within a point or two of a player’s season average, which is why I keep my eyes peeled for players with a hot hand. 

Duarte started slow this season, averaging just 14.5 points per game in his first six. But since then, the senior wing has revved it up on the offensive end. In his last five, he’s averaging 23 points per game and has bested this number (21.5) in three straight. 

I also love the fact that he plays a lot of minutes (34.2 mpg) and is never in foul trouble. Nothing kills a college player prop faster than early foul trouble, but Duarte averages just 1.3 personal fouls per game. 

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