Saturday College Basketball Betting: Gonzaga-Creighton, Purdue-Michigan Games 3.0

Saturday’s College Basketball Betting Previews: Gonzaga-Creighton, Purdue-Michigan article feature image

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Zavier Simpson

  • Eli Hershkovich previews Saturday's college basketball slate
  • Additional games info to come

Although there’s a mouth-watering slate of college football games to wager on throughout the day, don’t forget about college basketball on Saturday.

Not only does Big Ten conference play continue, including a top-25 affair between Michigan and Purdue, but No. 1 Gonzaga carries its undefeated mark into Omaha, Neb. against Creighton.

Which side(s) delivers more value in each game? Let’s dig in.

Gonzaga at Creighton

  • Odds: Gonzaga -5.5
  • Over/Under: 167
  • Time: 2 p.m. ET
  • TV: FOX

The Bulldogs (6-1 against the spread) boast the third-best Adjusted Offensive Efficiency (119.5 points per 100 possessions) in Division I, and it’s guided them past some oddly difficult matchups against Illinois and Arizona. The 6-foot-8, 230-pound Rui Hachimura (21.9 ppg) has been their catalyst on that end of the floor, generating a team-high 27.4 Possession Percentage.

If the Bluejays (4-3 ATS) couldn’t test Hachimura, I’d be spekital of their chances to keep the score close. But the 6-foot-9, 235-pound forward Martin Krampelj, who has recovered from a torn ACL suffered in January, represents one of coach Greg McDermott’s most undervalued pieces because of his prowess for doing just that. Krampelj’s 3.5% Block Rate, along with his established on-ball defense, will halt Hachimura from dominating the afternoon.

Plus, Gonzaga’s sound defense, with an opponents’ Effective Field Goal Percentage of 44.7%, hasn’t faced a dominant shooting bunch like Creighton. Before you scream about Duke, Mike Krzyzewski’s unit ranks No. 112 in 3-point percentage (36.1%).

The Bluejays own a combined 63.2 eFG% — the highest in Division I — led by sophomore Ty-Shon Alexander (18.3 ppg). The 6-foot-4, 195-pound wing has boosted his 66.9 eFG% by 14.0 percentage points, thanks to a 47.2% clip from behind the arc.

Both programs present underrated defenses despite their top-90 Adjusted Tempos, with at least 71.8 possessions per 40 minutes. I’d take the under or pass.

According to our Bet Labs data, Creighton is 2-1 ATS (66.6%) when at least a 5.5-point home underdog in the past four regular seasons. That limited trend will rise following Saturday’s contest in a hostile environment.

THE PICKS: Bluejays +5.5; Under 167

Purdue at Michigan

  • Odds: Michigan -7.5
  • Over/Under: 136.5
  • Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
  • TV: ESPN

The Wolverines (4-3 ATS) stymied North Carolina’s No. 4-rated AdjO to the tune of 0.96 Points Per Possession in their 84-67 win on Tuesday, giving them 21 victories in their past 22 games. Michigan has turned 16 of those games into double-digit wins, along with yielding more than 1.0 points per possession just four times.

Enter Purdue (5-2 ATS), which fought back in a 73-72 loss to Florida State following a 12-point halftime deficit. Nevertheless, preseason All-American Carsen Edwards (25.1 ppg) showcased a knack for forcing his offense with Purdue notching just one field goal over a 11:26 stretch in the first half.

The Wolverines’ No. 1-rated Adjusted Defensive Efficiency (87.1 points per 100 possessions) should create loads of havoc — led by 6-foot point guard Zavier Simpson — for the Boilermakers. Michigan’s two-point defense (36.1%) ranks first in the nation, too, which will force Edwards to operate mainly from the perimeter.

John Beilein’s No. 25-rated AdjO (112.2 possessions per 40 minutes) is also an evident force. Even though the Wolverines haven’t gotten off to a stellar start from behind the arc (35.1%), Purdue’s perimeter defense (34.3%) is struggling itself. Look for Michigan’s 6-foot-5 Jordan Poole (40.6% 3-point clip) to have his breakout performance of the young season.

Michigan is 9-4 ATS (69.2%) when at least a 7.5-point favorite over the last season-plus, per Bet Labs. Expect Beilein’s group to increase that percentage with on Saturday afternoon.

THE PICK: Wolverines -7.5

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