College Basketball Picks: Saturday, February 20th
We have a heavy slate of college basketball betting action today. I am not sure that one game really stands out as the best but it is nice to get the action going again in the Big 12 after some weather delays.
We only have a couple of big Saturdays left before teams are selected for the Tournament. It is days like these where teams can make their biggest impression. Will we have any laughers among today’s top college basketball games?
Let’s have a look…
Vanderbilt vs. Alabama, SEC Network, 1:00 PM ET
College Basketball Betting Matchup: Vanderbilt Commodores (6-11 SU, 8-6-3 ATS) vs. (#9) Alabama Crimson Tide (17-5 SU, 13-8-1 ATS)
Spread: Vanderbilt +14.5 (-110), Alabama -14.5 (-110)
Total: Over 153.5 (-116), Under 153.5 (-106)
Money Line: Vanderbilt +750, Alabama -1200
This one opened at 17 points so it looks like some think Vanderbilt might keep it close. I am not sold on that. Vandy might have only a couple of ATS losses in their last 10 games but one of them was at Tennessee, a situation similar to this one where they are going to be largely outclassed.
Perhaps the move was because Alabama is coming off one of its best games – they scored 115 points and won by more than 30 against Georgia. A slight fade after a game like that makes sense but this seems like too much of a correction without something major happening. Alabama can get up by 20 in the first half and then cruise from there. They don’t even need a great shooting day to get this number.
Betting Advice: Take Alabama.
Connecticut vs. Villanova, FOX, 1:00 PM ET
College Basketball Betting Matchup: Connecticut Huskies (10-5 SU, 11-4 ATS) vs. (#7) Villanova Wildcats (13-3 SU, 9-7 ATS)
Spread: Connecticut +6.5 (-105), Villanova -6.5 (-115)
Total: Over 137 (-116), Under 137 (-106)
Money Line: Connecticut +240, Villanova -295
James Bouknight is back for the Huskies. He scored 18 points off the bench in their last game so it looks like he is ready to go after a long injury layoff. They are going to need him if they are going to challenge against Villanova. Danny Hurley has this team really fighting right now.
Villanova is off a loss, just their third of the season. They have not lost at home this year and generally, Jay Wright has his team ready after a disappointment. I like the depth of the Wildcats this season. Collin Gillespie was supposed to be more of a star this season but with all of their starters scoring more than 10ppg this team has awesome depth.
Betting Advice: Take Villanova.
Kentucky vs Tennessee, CBS, 1:00 PM ET
College Basketball Betting Matchup: Kentucky Wildcats (7-13 SU, 5-13-2 ATS) vs. (#20) Tennessee Volunteers (15-5 SU, 11-9 ATS)
Spread: Kentucky +7 (-110), Tennessee -7 (-110)
Total: Over 135 (-110), Under 135 (-110)
Money Line: Kentucky +260, Tennessee -320
Kentucky is on an actual winning streak coming into this one but not much has really changed. There is just too much talent on the Wildcats for them not to win a little. The best thing you can say about Kentucky right now is that despite their season-long struggles they do not appear to be giving up.
Tennessee has already beaten Kentucky once this season by 11 at Rupp Arena. Ironically they were favoured by more in that game than they are in this spot. That might make this a buying opportunity if this team were a little more consistent. That is what has killed the Vols this season but if you are going to have to make a bet on which one of these programs is more likely to come to pay I would take Tennessee at home.
Betting Advice: Take Tennessee.
Texas Tech vs. Kansas, ESPN, 2:00 PM ET
College Basketball Betting Matchup: (#11) Texas Tech Red Raiders (14-6 SU, 7-13 ATS) vs. (#24) Kansas Jayhawks (16-7 SU, 11-11 ATS)
Spread: Texas Tech +1.5 (-116), Kansas -1.5 (-106)
Total: Over 133.5 (-110), Under 133.5 (-110)
Money Line: Texas Tech +100, Kansas -118
This is probably the best game of the day. Texas Tech is off a loss and hasn’t played in more than a week though. When it comes to talent this is a rare case where there is more of it on the Red Raiders side this season. Most importantly they have a couple of shotmakers they can rely on, plus a defense that is in the top 20.
Kansas has just one home loss this season. They are well below their usual standards and look ripe for an upset in this spot. They are not going to get blown out as they did against Texas but against a top defensive team, I am not sure how they keep up when they have to work so hard for their own offense too. Kansas might make it to the Sweet Sixteen with the right matchups but they are not worth giving the benefit of the doubt this season.
Betting Advice: Take Texas Tech.
Missouri vs. South Carolina, ESPN2, 2:00 PM ET
College Basketball Betting Matchup: (#19) Missouri Tigers (13-6 SU, 10-9 ATS) vs. South Carolina Gamecocks (5-10 SU, 6-9 ATS)
Spread: Missouri -3.5 (-110), South Carolina +3.5 (-110)
Total: Over 151 (-110), Under 151 (-110)
Money Line: Missouri -168, South Carolina +142
The “Big” key here is that it looks like Mizzou's big man Jeremiah Tilmon is still g0ing to be away from the team. Without him, they have lost two straight and are riding a three-game losing streak overall. He is a difference-maker that they have trouble replacing, to say the least.
In all three of those losses, the Tigers were favored but each of those opponents was better than this South Carolina team. They have had a few surprise performances this season so this would not be a shock at home but beyond AJ Lawson is it hard to project much from them.
Betting Advice: Take Missouri.
West Virginia vs. Texas, ABC, 3:00 PM ET
College Basketball Betting Matchup: (#15) West Virginia Mountaineers (14-6 SU, 10-10 ATS) vs. (#13) Texas Longhorns (13-5 SU, 7-11 ATS)
Spread: West Virginia +3 (-106), Texas -3 (-116)
Total: Over 147 (-116), Under 147 (-106)
Money Line: West Virginia +136, Texas -142
The Big 12 has two great matchups today and this is the other one. West Virginia is looking for some revenge after a close loss at home to the Longhorns. West Virginia has been playing some great ball of late but they are off a loss by a point to Oklahoma in OT last weekend. They tend to lose a game by just a bucket, when they do lose, so expect this one to be close.
Texas won last weekend and seems to have used games against TCU and Kansas State to get back to winning. Best of all they are healthy right now and with that being the case it is tough to bet against them at home with their experienced guards and athletic big men. They can win a close one for sure.
Betting Advice: Take Texas.
Illinois vs Minnesota, 3:30 PM ET
College Basketball Betting Matchup: (#5) Illinois Fighting Illini (15-5 SU, 11-8-1 ATS) vs. Minnesota Golden Gophers (13-9 SU, 10-11-1 ATS)
Spread: Illinois -4.5 (-116), Minnesota +4.5 (-106)
Total: Over 147 (-110), Under 147 (-110)
Money Line: Illinois -205, Minnesota +172
Illinois is one of the best teams in the teams in the country and they dominated at home when these teams met earlier in the season. Especially big man Kofi Cockburn who scored 33 points. Maybe they don’t score in the 90s again on the road but a close game seems unlikely.
Minnesota plays much better at home and as a home underdog, they have 4-0 SU record this season including a shocker win over Michigan. They have shown they can do it and I think that is creating a huge buying opportunity on the other side. Recent double-digit losses, even on the road, to Maryland and Indiana are not inspiring.
Betting Advice: Take Illinois (Best bet)
Florida State vs. Pitt, ACC Network X, 4:00 PM ET
College Basketball Betting Matchup: (#16) Florida State Seminoles (12-3 SU, 9-6 ATS) vs. Pitt Panthers (9-8 SU, 9-8 ATS)
Spread: Florida State -5.5 (-110), Pitt +5.5 (-110)
Total: Over 146 (-110), Under 146 (-110)
Money Line: Florida State -235, Pitt +194
Florida State is off a monster win against Virginia to start the week. They have to have a letdown, right? The question is whether that is enough for Pitt to sneak an upset here. The Seminoles have the same number of losses as UVA now so a league title is very possible. They also are healthy and their depth is impressive.
Pittsburgh has one of the most productive players in the nation in Justin Champagnie. At home that does not look like it's enough. The Panthers did steal one from Virginia Tech recently in a similar spot where the Hokies had just beaten UVA. Similar to the Gophers above I am not seeing this team as being good enough to do that a couple of times this season.
Betting Advice: Take Florida State.
Arizona vs. USC, 6:00 PM ET
College Basketball Betting Matchup: Arizona Wildcats (14-8 SU, 8-14 ATS) vs. (#18) USC Trojans (18-3 SU, 14-7 ATS)
Spread: Arizona +7 (-116), USC -7 (-106)
Total: Over 140 (-110), Under 140 (-110)
Money Line: Arizona +245, USC -300
Arizona looks like they might finally be hitting a wall. In any season is tough to stay motivated when there is no possibility of a title, but especially so this season. This team is not as talented as we are used to seeing and with the offense drying up they could not be getting USC at a worse time.
That is because USC is rolling right now. They have covered their last five and won their last six. Evan Mobley continues to be great and in the last game his brother Isaiah was a lot more than just another big body, they combined for 42 points and 21 rebounds. If they keep finding sources of production beyond their star this could be a Final Four team.
Betting Advice: Take USC.
February 20 College Basketball Betting Best Bet of the Day
Virginia vs Duke, ESPN, 8:00 PM ET
College Basketball Betting Matchup: (#8) Virginia Cavaliers (15-4 SU, 10-8-1 ATS) vs. Duke Blue Devils (9-8 SU, 5-12 ATS)
Spread: Virginia -2 (-116), Duke +2 (-106)
Total: Over 131.5 (-110), Under 131.5 (-110)
Money Line: Virginia -134, Duke +114
Virginia has had some really spectacular losses this season, to Florida State and Gonzaga and Virginia Tech. San Francisco beat them too but I am not expecting a back-to-back loss for the first time this season. This team is too good and too well-coached.
And Duke is just too bad. They just lost their top player Jalen Johnson, who out opted out of the season to prepare for the NBA draft, and they have been anything but a sure thing at home this season. They are just 6-4 at Cameron Indoor Stadium this season. That record drops to 2-8 ATS at home and as an underdog all season long they are 0-2 SU and ATS. I am not seeing a case for the Blue Devils here.
Betting Advice: Take Virginia (Best Bet)
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