Our staff’s top 5 bets for Saturday, including Wake Forest vs Syracuse
Another Saturday means another long, hectic day of college hoops all about betting and (hopefully) winning some money.
This week we feature a Big Ten rivalry game, multiple Big 12/SEC Challenge matchups, Indiana going to Maryland, and a critical ACC matchup at night.
Our staff breaks down this business and offers five best bets below to help you prepare for a huge betting Saturday.
Best Saturday College Basketball Bets
The team logos in the table below represent each of the matchups our college basketball team is targeting from today’s roster. Click on the team logos for any of the matches below to jump to a specific bet covered in this article.
Michigan vs Michigan State
Through Tanner McGrath
I really believe that Michigan is starting to find something. I think it’s because of the wing play.
Hunter Dickinson has been consistent. He’s even starting to develop a right hand and an outside shot. He should be a formidable force on the inside against Marcus Bingham Jr. in this game.
Meanwhile, DeVante’ Jones is starting to get more aggressive from the guard position. He’s dished out 13 assists in his last two games, connecting more with Dickinson in the two-man game. Look for Jones to rival the backcourt Sparty tandem of AJ Hoggard and Tyson Walker.
Meanwhile, Moussa Diabate has been more consistent playing foursome with Dickinson. When Diabaté plays there, it gives him more offensive comfort and Michigan more defensive length.
But in the end, this match will come down to the Caleb Houstan vs. Max Christie match.
The freshmen wings are crucial for both teams. UM and MSU are great teams when Caleb Houstan and Max Christie are hitting shots. To say they battled losses is an understatement. pic.twitter.com/ldy6cxa8JO
—Dylan Burkhardt (@umhoops) January 28, 2022
Michigan has struggled primarily because it’s hard for its two freshman wings to replicate what Isaiah Livers and Franz Wagner did last season. However, Wolverine’s freshmen find out.
For example, Houstan is averaging 17.7 points per game on 69% shooting from the field over his last three games. That equates to three Michigan wins.
Meanwhile, Christie – Sparty’s freshman winger – has scored just 20 points in his last three games on 7-of-21 shooting from the field. Sparty went 1-2 in those matches.
Between these two players, I will take the one that tends upwards. And I’ll be happy to grab Michigan +4.5 considering the Wolverines have won their last two games at East Lansing.
Take: Michigan +4.5 (Play up to +4)
Missouri vs. Iowa State
Through DJ James
Missouri is coming off a near-upset victory over Auburn, which resulted in the last possession of the baseball game. Iowa State beat Oklahoma in overtime on Wednesday night, but lost its previous two deals.
This is a perfect place to fade the Tigers.
For one thing, Iowa State has one of the toughest home environments for opponents to play in. KenPom ranks the Hilton Coliseum 15th in the nation with a 4.0 point advantage. This should be able to shake up an inconsistent team like Missouri, after playing an important game at home.
Additionally, the Cyclones boast the ninth-best adjusted defensive efficiency in the nation compared to Mizzou’s 120th.
Iowa State also returns opponents on 25.4% of possessions, and Missouri is a very sloppy team, ranking 310th in college basketball with a 21.1% turnover clip. Iowa State will exploit this, including Tyrese Hunter (2.1 SPG), Gabe Kalscheur (1.6 SPG), Izaiah Brockington (1.2 SPG) and Tre Jackson (1.0 SPG).
Jarron Coleman, Kobe Brown and DaJuan Gordon all average more than two gifts per game for the Tigers, so they will struggle to maintain control of the ball.
Missouri is also drawing just 27.2% from downtown this season. That puts him 344th in the country. Iowa State isn’t necessarily strong on the outside, but it’s around the long-term average at 33.0%. This discrepancy will be noticeable and could put Iowa State over the hill to cover this spread.
Also look for Caleb Grill, Jackson and Brockington to take full advantage of Missouri’s lackluster perimeter defense.
Take: Iowa State -11.5 (Play to -14.5)
Indiana vs. Maryland
Through Mike McNamara
Going back to last season, Indiana really struggled on the road in the Big Ten game.
Since February 2021, the Hoosiers have won just two Big Ten games away from Assembly Hall. One of the wins came last year at Northwestern in double overtime, and the other was earlier this month at Lincoln against lowly Nebraska.
So why am I backing IU on Saturday as he heads to College Park as a short-road favorite? Well, for starters, I think Mike Woodson’s band are very aware of the difficulties of the road and will come out motivated to get this one.
Second and more importantly, I think Indiana has game advantages here on both sides of the ball. Maryland has had its problems in half court offensively, especially against teams that pressure the ball and can cover Qudus Wahab one-on-one.
Xavier Johnson is a very solid defender on the ball who can make things difficult for Fatts Russell, and the Hoosiers have the size and depth inside to contain Wahab.
On the other side, Trayce Jackson-Davis should be in line for a big night out on the block. Aside from the Purdue game – where he had foul trouble early on and only played around 10 minutes – the junior has been incredibly efficient all year.
I don’t think Wahab or Donta Scott can cover him one-on-one, and Maryland doesn’t have a lot of options in terms of big players on the bench.
In short, I think Indiana is the better team, but also the team that the situational position favors. Maryland is coming off back-to-back victories and could have a disappointing performance, while the Hoosiers should have plenty of motivation to secure the road win and move to 7-4 in the league.
Give me Indiana to win and cover Saturday afternoon.
Take: Indiana -1.5 (Play -2)
Baylor vs. Alabama
Through Patrick Strollo
The No. 4 Baylor Bears (18-2 overall, 5-0 on the road) travel to Tuscaloosa to face the Alabama Crimson Tide (13-7 overall, 9-1 at home) on Saturday afternoon. This game provides a break from strenuous conference schedules for both programs as they embark on the Big 12/SEC Challenge.
Baylor is looking to continue its three-game winning streak after a 74-49 thrashing of Kansas State on Tuesday night. However, it wasn’t all easy for the Bears as they suffered back-to-back home losses to Texas Tech and Oklahoma State earlier in the month.
Alabama has lost four of its last six games after suffering a tough loss to Georgia on the road in its last game. The Crimson Tide are reaching dire straits after being ranked No. 6 this season.
Alabama has struggled with its loyal bettors, going 7-13 ATS so far. Baylor has been much kinder to the players this season, going 12-7-1 against the line in the desert.
Baylor will likely enter this game at full strength for the first time in nearly three weeks, as freshman striker Jeremy Sochan and senior point guard James Akinjo are set to return.
The Bears are the superior team both offensively and defensively, with an OWO and DWO of 119.0 (fifth nationally) and 89.2 (10th nationally), respectively.
Alabama has been very effective on offense this season, averaging three players in double digits. Strong scores from Jaden Shackelford, Jahvon Quinerly and Keon Ellis propelled the Tide to 16th place in the nation in WO with a rating of 116.0.
Defense was the Achilles heel of the Tide. Through 20 games this season, Alabama has an AdjD rating of 99.1, which ranks them 112th in the nation.
The Tide have struggled for the past few weeks and have a grueling basketball game ahead of them where they will face three top 12 teams.
Baylor overcame recent injuries and two devastating home defeats to right the ship. Look for a healthy, rested Baylor offense to wear down the Alabama defense in the second half.
My model projects Baylor as a 6.95-point favorite on the road against Alabama, which offers a 4.45 advantage on the indicated line.
Land 2.5 in Tuscaloosa.
Take: Baylor -2.5 (Play -3.5)
Wake Forest vs. Syracuse
Through Anthony Dabbundo
Wake Forest’s offense is elite against human defenses, in post-up and edge-driving situations, but Wake doesn’t shoot well from the perimeter at all.
The Deacs are considerably below average against zone defenses so far this season, and while the Orange defense can’t protect anyone this year, they still force teams to shoot from the perimeter to beat them.
Wake attempted 37 3s in the first encounter, more than any other game this year, and only made 11. The Demon Deacons were lucky to win this game, as their probability of winning was 8.8 % with 11 seconds left before claiming the overtime victory. .
That’s a great buy point low on Syracuse, which has been beaten in its last two games at Duke and Pittsburgh. The Orange will not return the ball frequently and will not let Wake out in transition.
Wake can’t exploit Orange’s weakness on the glass, and Syracuse has a ton of positive shooting regression coming from beyond the arc after the last two games.
As bad as things have gone for the Orange, who are shorthanded here without sixth man Symir Torrence, are banking on a positive shooting regression and victory as the underdog at home on Saturday night.
Wake Forest and Syracuse have had opposing fortunes in close games this season, and the gap between them isn’t big enough to warrant the Deacs being road favorites.