College basketball best bets for Saturday, 3/4: Duke, North Carolina will find the range
To say that we have a lot to work with while coming up with some best college basketball bets for Saturday would be a massive understatement. How good is the lineup? Well, exactly 76% of the top 25 is taking the court. For those counting, that means 19 top-25 teams are lacing up their sneakers. Eight of them are going head-to-head in 4 all-ranked battles: #2 Alabama vs #24 Texas A&M, #3 Kansas vs #9 Texas, #25 Pittsburgh vs #16 Miami and #8 Arizona vs #4 UCLA. Another fun one could be #12 Tennessee paying a visit to Auburn.
Let’s take a look at my 3 best bets for Saturday.
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Marquette -11.5 over St. John’s (-115)
There is no reason to think that St. John’s can be competitive in this Big East battle. The Red Storm are wallowing down near the bottom of the conference standings with a 7-12 record, while the Golden Eagles lead the way at 16-3 (24-6 overall). St. John’s is without Montez Mathis and Rafael Pinzon, so this team really goes only 7 deep at the moment. Marquette features 4 guys scoring in double figures and is averaging more than 80 points per game. St. John’s doesn’t have the offensive arsenal to keep up. The Golden Eagles scored 96 points in the first head-to-head matchup this season, and although the Red Storm put up 85 I don’t see the underdogs doing that again.
You can also read our NCAAB Saturday mega parlay (+1075 odds!)
TCU -2 over Oklahoma (-110)
TCU is the far superior team, so I will happily give such a small about of points – even on the road. After all, the Horned Frogs already boast wins at Baylor, at Texas Tech (last Saturday) and a 23-point beatdown of Kansas inside Phog Allen Fieldhouse. It’s safe to say this program knows how to win in hostile environments. Meanwhile, Oklahoma is a horrendous 4-13 in the Big 12 and has lost 3 of its last 4 at home. All 3 of those recent losses have come by double digits, too. The first meeting between these teams came at TCU on January 24 and the Frogs dominated by 27 points.
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Duke vs North Carolina Over 142 (-110)
The previous matchup between these arch rivals was a 63-57 decision in favor of Duke. Such a low-scoring affair is the main reason why Saturday’s total is set at an unusually modest number (142) for this matchup. Thus a prime over opportunity is created, and I’m not too concerned about what happened at Cameron Indoor Stadium a few weeks ago. It’s not like the pace of play was down; North Carolina and Duke simply couldn’t throw it in the ocean. The Tar Heels shot 24-of-70 from the floor and 7-of-27 from 3-point range; the Blue Devils were 24-of-61 (4-of-11 from deep). Duke has won 5 in a row and is averaging 77 points in its last 4, while UNC is averaging 74 ppg in its last 2 even though it faced Virginia last weekend. These squads have too much firepower to be stymied by the other one twice in succession. In what is almost certain to be another close game in this rivalry, I also like Duke +3.5.
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