Top College Basketball Picks for Saturday, January 16th, 2021 

Top College Basketball Picks for Saturday, January 16th, 2021 
Fri 15th January 2021

Ohio State vs Illinois 

The Ohio State Buckeyes are 3-2 straight up and 2-3 ATS in their last five encounters with the Illinois Fighting Illini, and all those five contests were decided by ten or fewer points. All this should tell you enough how unpredictable Saturday’s clash between #21 Ohio State and #14 Illinois is.

On paper, the Fighting Illini have a slight advantage in this matchup. While both teams rank among the top 10 in the country in offensive efficiency, Illinois is 19th in defensive efficiency, way above Ohio State at the 56th spot. 

The Buckeyes (10-3; 4-3 Conf.) have won two straight games, beating #15 Rutgers 79-68 and Northwestern 81-71. On the other side, the Fighting Illini (9-4; 5-2 Conf.) have just snapped a four-game win streak with a surprising 66-63 home loss to Maryland. 

The momentum seems to be on the Buckeyes’ side, but Ohio State is only 1-5 SU and 1-4-1 ATS in its last six showings on the road as an out-of-towner. Also, the Buckeyes are a terrible 5-14-1 ATS in their previous 20 road contests. 

Illinois heavily lean on junior guard Ayo Dosunmu (22.4 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 4.8 APG) and sophomore center Kofi Cockburn (17.3 PPG, 10.1 RPG). This duo should torture the Buckeyes’ defense, and we expect the visitors to struggle mightily against the 7-foot-tall Cockburn. Also, the hosts should be fired up to put on another strong defensive display after a narrow loss to Maryland. 

College basketball pick – Illinois by 6. 

Missouri vs Texas A&M 

The #17 Missouri Tigers (7-2; 1-2 Conf.) are gearing up for the SEC showdown at Reed Arena, hoping to snap a three-game skid against the Texas A&M Aggies (7-4; 2-3 Conf.). Last season, the Aggies upset the Tigers 68-51 as 1.5-point home dogs and 66-64 as 10-point road dogs. 

Both Missouri and Texas A&M have dropped two of their last three games overall. The Aggies couldn’t score more than 56 points during that span, and they rank 160th in the country in offensive efficiency, tallying just 102.1 points per 100 possessions. 

Interestingly, both teams played their last game against Mississippi State on the road. While the Tigers suffered a heavy 78-63 defeat, the Aggies beat the Bulldogs 56-55, overcoming a 13-point deficit. 

We should see a hard-fought battle, as these two teams mostly lean on a stout defense. The Aggies love to play at a very slow pace, averaging 65.5 possessions per 40 minutes, and we think they’ll find a way to keep it close against the Tigers who haven’t impressed at all over the last two weeks. 

College basketball pick – Texas A&M by 5. 

Iowa State vs Kansas 

The #6 Kansas Jayhawks opened as double-digit favorites for Saturday’s clash against the hapless Iowa State, and we won’t hesitate to take the hosts to cover. The Cyclones are 2-7 on the season and 0-5 in the Big 12 Conference play. They’ve dropped three straight games to #2 Baylor 76-65, #4 Texas 78-72, and #18 Texas Tech 91-64. 

We don’t see why the Jayhawks won’t pile on the Cyclones’ misery. Iowa State is winless in 16 straight road games, going only 4-12 ATS in the process. The Cyclones have covered in nine of their last 12 encounters with Kansas, but they are 3-6 ATS this term. 

The Jayhawks have dropped two of their last four games, falling to 10-3 on the season and 4-2 in the conference play. They are coming off a 75-70 defeat at Oklahoma State, as the Jayhawks allowed an 8-0 run in the last 1:28 of the second half. 

Kansas just has to win this game. The Jayhawks are a much better team than Iowa State, especially on the defensive end, so the hosts shouldn’t have problems to win by 13 or more points. 

College basketball pick – Kansas by 13. 

Michigan vs Minnesota 

The Big Ten clash between #7 Michigan and #23 Minnesota will be a joy to watch, as the Golden Gophers will try to hand the Wolverines their first loss of the season.

Minnesota killed a few giants at home this term. However, the Golden Gophers have dropped three of their previous four games including an 82-57 defeat at Michigan ten days ago. 

The Wolverines shut down the Gophers completely, allowing them to make only 32.4% of their field goals and 25.0% of their 3-pointers. Michigan shot 56.9% from the field, and freshman Hunter Dickinson led the way with 28 points on 12-for-15 from the field. 

We expect to see more of the same Saturday in Minneapolis. The Wolverines are coming off a terrific 77-54 home win to #9 Wisconsin, allowing the Badgers to score three points in total during the last seven minutes of the first half and the first seven minutes of the second half. 

Michigan will have a bad day in the office eventually, but they’ve looked unstoppable recently. The Wolverines are 12-2 straight up and 9-5 ATS in their last 14 meetings with the Golden Gophers. 

College basketball pick – Michigan by 5. 

Creighton vs Butler 

The #8 Creighton Bluejays are winless in their last three visits to Hinkle Fieldhouse, but this time, they should stop the skid against the 3-7 Butler Bulldogs and improve to 11-2 on the season.

The Bulldogs have lost four of their last five games overall and are 3-7 ATS this term, while the Bluejays are undefeated in six straight outings, covering three times in the process. 

Over their last two showings, the Bluejays smashed Seton Hall 89-53 and St. John’s 97-79. They have the seventh-best offensive rating of 116.5 points per 100 possessions. Creighton is 26th in the country in field goal percentage (49.6%) and 31st in 3-point percentage (38.8%), while five Bluejays players average points in double figures. 

On the other side, the Bulldogs score 104.2 points per 100 possessions (117th) and surrender 97.1 in a return (87th). They prefer to play at a slow pace and will have a mountain to climb against the Bluejays who love to push the ball in transition and take a bunch of triples. 

Creighton is now 8-4 against the spread in its last 12 matchups with Butler and is 13-6 against the spread in its previous 19 games against the Big East Conference. 

College basketball pick – Creighton by 9. 

Baylor vs Texas Tech 

The Big 12 showdown from United Supermarkets Arena in Lubbock is arguably the most intriguing game on Saturday’s schedule, as the #15 Texas Tech Red Raiders host the undefeated #2 Baylor Bears. The visitors opened as slight 3-point favorites, and the Bears went 4-1 SU and 3-2 ATS through their last five encounters with the Red Raiders. 

Three of those five matchups between Baylor and Texas Tech were decided by five or fewer points. Saturday’s clash could easily go either way, so we suggest you stay away from it, although Baylor is a better team than Texas Tech. 

The Red Raiders are one of those teams that never give up. They just outlasted #4 Texas 79-77 on the road thanks to Mac McClung’s jumper with three seconds left on the clock. Texas Tech is 5-1 straight up in its last six outings, losing only to Oklahoma State in overtime, 82-77. 

The Bears are 11-0 on the season, but they haven’t played the top-25 team since December 2, 2020. The clash against the Red Raiders will be a proper reality check for Baylor, making the betting prediction even tougher. 

We love this Baylor team. The Bears possess great depth, while junior guard Jared Butler (16.4 PPG, 5.4 APG) is a true leader on the floor. They have the fourth-best offensive rating (119.3) and the third-best defensive rating in the country (87.5). On the other side, Texas Tech is 27th in offensive efficiency (112.1) and fifth in defensive efficiency (89.0). 

College basketball pick – Baylor by 3. 

Vanderbilt vs Tennessee 

After an 84-81 home loss to Mississippi State, the Vanderbilt Commodores fell to 4-5 on the season and 0-3 in the SEC play. They’ve dropped four of the last five games overall and are 3-4 ATS over the previous seven. 

The Commodores are winless in six consecutive matchups with Tennessee, covering four times in that span, but we have to go with the Volunteers this time. Tennessee is 9-1 SU and 7-3 ATS on the season. The Vols’ lone loss came against Alabama at home, 71-63, while they beat Texas A&M 68-54 and Arkansas 79-74 in the last two outings. 

Tennessee is No. 10 in the AP Top 25 Poll and No. 6 in the KenPom rankings. The Vols have the second-best defensive rating in the nation, allowing just 87.2 points per 100 possessions, so they should torture the Commodores who rank 115th in offensive efficiency (104.3) and 163rd in defensive efficiency (101.6). 

Considering the stats and teams’ current form, the Vols shouldn’t have any problems covering the spread here. 

College basketball pick – Tennessee by 17. 

Virginia vs Clemson 

Now, here’s the Atlantic Coast Conference clash between a couple of teams who heavily lean on their defenses while playing at a very slow pace. The #18 Virginia Cavaliers are tallying the fewest possessions per 40 minutes (59.3) while surrendering 90.6 points per 100 possessions (13th). The #12 Clemson Tigers have the best defensive rating in the country (86.8) while averaging 66.4 possessions per 40 minutes (297th). 

This should be a proper defensive battle and a low-scoring affair, so if you like betting on the totals, go with the under. When it comes to the side bet and spread, we will stick with the betting trends, as Saturday’s game at Littlejohn Coliseum can easily go either way. The hosts opened as 3-point favorites with a total of 118.5 points. 

Both Virginia and Clemson are on a four-game win streak. Anyway, the Tigers are winless in ten straight encounters with the Cavaliers while going 3-7 ATS in the process. Virginia is 4-1 ATS in its last five road contests against Clemson and 12-5 ATS in its last 17 games overall. Clemson is 9-2 SU and 5-5-1 ATS in its last 11 outings at home. 

College basketball pick – Virginia by 3. 

Kansas State vs Texas 

We have mentioned above that #4 Texas suffered a painful home loss to Texas Tech 79-77, putting an end to a six-game win streak and falling to 10-2 on the season (4-1 Conf.). There’s no reason to think Texas won’t bounce back in this one, as the Kansas State Wildcats are riding a three-game losing streak. 

The visitors are now 5-8 on the season and 1-4 in the Big 12 play. The Wildcats are a terrible 3-9 against the spread, failing to cover in three of their previous four showings. 

Kansas State ranks outside of the top 150 in the country in both offensive and defensive efficiency, scoring 102.3 points per 100 possessions and yielding 101.7 in a return. Texas, on the other side, ranks 12th in offensive efficiency (113.8) and sixth in defensive efficiency (89.1). 

We are not going to overthink this one. The Longhorns are 3-1 SU and ATS in their last four games against Kansas State, and look for this trend to continue. 

College basketball pick – Texas by 17. 

Louisville vs Miami 

While the Miami Hurricanes have won just one of their last five games overall, the #16 Louisville Cardinals are rolling on a five-game win streak. Louisville is 9-1 on the season and 4-0 in ACC play, and the Cardinals are 3-0 SU and ATS in their previous three outings on the road. 

On paper, this seems like a very tight matchup, but the Cardinals are playing in a much better form than the Hurricanes, so we are backing them to cover a 3.5-point spread. Miami is 5-6 on the season and only 1-5 in the ACC play. 

The Cardinals limited their opponents below 66 points in four of their last five showings while beating the #19 Virginia Tech 73-71. They are 3-1 SU and 4-0 ATS in the previous four encounters with the Miami Hurricanes. 

College basketball pick – Louisville by 4. 

Gonzaga vs Saint Mary’s 

The West Coast Conference showdown between the top-ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs and St. Mary’s Gaels will wrap up Saturday’s slate, and the Zags opened as huge 16-point favorites.

We’re about to find out how good the Gaels’ defense actually is, as Saint Mary’s is 54th in defensive efficiency at the moment, allowing 94.9 points per 100 possessions. 

The Gaels will try their best to slow down things. They average only 62.9 possessions per 40 minutes which is the fourth-slowest pace in the country. On the other side, the Zags play at the ninth-fastest pace of 75.6 possessions per 40 minutes. 

The Zags have been completely unstoppable thus far, and we don’t see them slowing down at Saint Mary’s. The Gaels have won just one of their last four tilts, going 1-3 ATS in the process. They are 4-16 SU and ATS in the last 20 meetings with Gonzaga. 

College basketball pick – Gonzaga by 16.

Are you interested in finding out more on the latest season of college basketball? Then make sure you visit our college basketball hub page, we’ve got all the details you need!

SportsTips covers all the latest betting, odds, picks & predictions news when it comes to major American sports like NFL, NBA, MLB & NHL. If you want to stay up to date with the latest information, SportsTips has you covered!