Top College Basketball Picks for Saturday, January 2nd, 2021

Top College Basketball Picks for Saturday, January 2nd, 2021
Fri 1st January 2021

Texas vs Kansas 

Saturday’s college basketball betting action tips off with the Big 12 Conference showdown at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kansas, where the #3 Jayhawks welcome the #8 Texas Longhorns. On a day when a bunch of ranked teams plays their games, this is a must-see matchup between two super talented teams that promises a hard-fought battle. 

The Longhorns are 7-1 on the season and 1-0 in the conference play, winning their last three games overall, but they are 1-3 ATS over the last four tilts. Still, the Longhorns have won five of their last six games when listed as underdogs. 

On the other side, the Jayhawks are 8-1 overall and 2-0 in the Big 12 play, riding an eight-game win streak. They’ve covered in 11 of their last 17 outings including the previous three, and the Jayhawks have already recorded four wins over the top-25 teams in the country. 

In their last two showings, the Jayhawks beat #14 Texas Tech 58-57 on the road and #7 West Virginia 79-65 at home. Hereof, we are backing the hosts to win Saturday, as the Longhorns have a win over #14 North Carolina 69-67 and a loss to #12 Villanova 68-64. 

In case you prefer betting on the totals, we suggest you take the under, as both Texas and Kansas like to play at a slow pace while ranking among the top 10 teams in the country in terms of defensive efficiency. The under has hit in the previous four encounters between the Longhorns and Jayhawks. 

College basketball pick – Kansas by 5. 

Creighton vs Providence 

Although they rank 11th in the AP Top 25 Poll, the Creighton Bluejays are tied with the Providence Friars for the 3rd spot in the Big East Conference with a 3-1 record. The Bluejays are 7-2 overall, while the Friars have gone 7-3 thus far, so their Saturday’s clash should be a really tight one. 

Creighton is 3-1 straight up and 2-2 ATS in its last four meetings with Providence. The Bluejays will look for another win on the back of their prolific offense. Creighton scores 114.3 points per 100 possessions (9th in the country) on 48.8% shooting from the field (44th) and 37.0% from downtown (76th). 

The Friars, on the other side, are 48th in the country in offensive efficiency (109.5), but their defense is a big issue. Providence surrenders 96.0 points per 100 possessions (79th) on 44.3% shooting from the field (226th). 

The hosts will try to slow down the tempo and use the 6-foot-10 senior center Nate Watson (19.0 PPG, 6.9 RPG). The Bluejays lack height, but their offense should be a key factor, so we are taking them to win and cover. 

Creighton is 13-7 ATS in its last 20 games overall and 10-2 ATS in its previous 12 contests played on Saturday. Providence is 3-6 ATS in its last nine tilts overall and 4-1 ATS in its previous five games played on Saturday. 

College basketball pick – Creighton by 4. 

Missouri vs Arkansas 

The #12 Missouri Tigers will have a mountain to climb at Bud Walton Arena, as the Arkansas Razorbacks have been spectacular thus far. While the 6-1 Tigers rank 50th in the latest KenPom, the 9-0 Razorbacks sit at the 28th spot. 

Five Arkansas players average points in double figures. The Razorbacks have the 24th-best offensive rating in the country (111.4) while tallying 73.2 possessions per 40 minutes (39th). They should have enough firepower to cope with the Tigers’ D that ranks 26th in the country, allowing 91.8 points per 100 possessions. 

The Razorbacks are coming off a 97-85 victory at Auburn, covering a 3.5-point spread. The matchup with the #12 Missouri will be the toughest test of the season for them, and we think the Razorbacks will be up for the task. Arkansas is 10-4 ATS in its last 14 games overall. 

The Tigers and Razorbacks split their previous four encounters, as each team went 2-2 against the spread. Missouri won its first six games of the season but is coming off a heavy 73-53 defeat at the #7 Tennessee Volunteers. 

College basketball pick – Arkansas by 5. 

Baylor vs Iowa State 

The #2 Baylor Bears shouldn’t have any problems beating the Cyclones on the road to extend their perfect season and tally their ninth straight win this term. The Cyclones have dropped four of their first six games including a couple of losses at #3 Iowa 105-77 and #8 West Virginia 70-65. 

Over the last few weeks, the Bears have beaten some mediocre teams and will look for more of the same against the Cyclones who are the only Big 12 school with a losing record. Iowa State is No. 89 in the KenPom rankings and ranks 81st in offensive efficiency (106.2) and 108th in defensive efficiency (97.6). 

Baylor is 5-1 straight up and ATS in its last six games against Iowa State. Look for this trend to continue Saturday afternoon. The Bears are scoring 119.7 points per 100 possessions (3rd) while yielding just 89.0 in a return (9th). 

College basketball pick – Baylor by 16. 

Iowa vs Rutgers 

The #14 Rutgers Scarlet Knights rank 24th in defensive efficiency, allowing 91.5 points per 100 possessions, but can they cope with the top-ranked offense in the country? The #10 Iowa Hawkeyes score a whopping 121.8 points per 100 possessions, but they surrender 96.7 in a return (96th) which could be a problem against Rutgers. 

The Scarlet Knights average 111.8 points per 100 possessions (17th). They just defeated Purdue 81-76 without their best player Ron Harper Jr. (23.4 PPG, 7.1 RPG). The 6-foot-6 junior guard is questionable to play Saturday, and his eventual absence would be a massive blow for Rutgers. 

The Hawkeyes will continue to lean heavily on Luka Garza (27.7 PPG, 9.6 RPG). He’s completely unstoppable in his senior year, and we don’t think the Scarlet Knights will have enough big bodies to put on him. 

Iowa has won two of its last four games against Rutgers but failed to cover in the process. The over is 4-1 in the last five encounters between the Hawkeyes and Scarlet Knights, so if you prefer betting on the totals, stick with it. 

College basketball pick – Iowa by 3. 

West Virginia vs Oklahoma 

Here’s another interesting Big 12 showdown, as the Oklahoma Sooners will look for their third straight win over the #9 West Virginia. Still, the Sooners are just 3-5 SU and ATS in their last eight games against the Mountaineers, while the under has hit in ten of the previous 13 encounters between these two schools. 

West Virginia (8-2, 1-1 conf.) has won five of its last six games including an 87-71 victory to #19 Richmond. The Mountaineers’ lone loss in that span came at #3 Kansas, 79-65. On the other side, the Sooners (5-2, 1-1 conf.) are coming off a 69-67 home loss to #15 Texas Tech. It was their first game against the ranked team, and the Sooners will have a few more in the next seven days. 

The Mountaineers lean on their tough D, allowing just 89.7 points per 100 possessions (13th), but they also score 111.7 points per 100 possessions (20th). The Sooners have the 15th-best offensive rating in the nation (112.1), but they surrender 95.6 points in a return (71st). 

Last time out, the Sooners battled bravely against the Red Raiders’ stout defense. We expect to see more of the same against the Mountaineers, backing the hosts to cover. 

College basketball pick – Oklahoma by 2. 

Oklahoma State vs Texas Tech 

After beating the Sooners on the road, the #13 Texas Tech Red Raiders outlasted Incarnate Word 79-51 to improve to 8-2 on the season. They still have the best defense in the nation, yielding just 85.5 points per 100 possessions, so grab the Raiders to cover against the Cowboys on Saturday. 

Oklahoma State dropped to 6-2 on the season with a couple of losses in their last two showings. The Cowboys lost to TCU 77-76 before suffering a 77-74 defeat at the #11 Texas Longhorns. They play good defense, allowing 91.6 points per 100 possessions (25th), but the Cowboys score just 107.7 in a return (64th). 

And we said just because they’ll face off against the No. 1 defensive team in the country. They will need a terrific shooting night to overcome the Red Raiders on the road. 

College basketball pick – Texas Tech by 8. 

Alabama vs Tennessee 

The #7 Tennessee Volunteers will look to extend their perfect campaign and tally the eighth straight victory to improve to 2-0 in the SEC play. They welcome the 6-3 Alabama Crimson Tide who also won their opening game of the SEC season. 

The previous six encounters between the Vols and Tide went in the under, and we are looking for another low-scoring affair. Tennessee has the second-best defensive rating in the country, yielding a paltry 85.8 points per 100 possessions while averaging 68.2 possessions per 40 minutes. 

On the other side, Alabama prefers to play at a very fast pace, recording 74.5 possessions per 40 minutes. However, the Crimson Tide will have a tall task to speed up things against the Vols’ stout D, so we are going with the hosts to cover. 

The Volunteers are 6-1 ATS on the season. They’ve won six straight games on the home court, covering five times in the process. 

College basketball pick – Tennessee by 10. 

Purdue vs Illinois 

The Boilermakers head to State Farm Center in Champaign carrying a 7-4 record (2-2 conf.), but they’ve lost two straight games against Illinois while combining for only 99 points on those two occasions. 

The #15 Fighting Illini are 7-3 on the season and 3-1 in the Big Ten Conference play. They’ll search for their third straight win after outlasting Indiana 69-60 and Penn State 98-81 in their last two outings. 

Junior guard Ayo Dosunmu leads the way for Illinois with 24.1 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 5.2 assists per game. The Fighting Illini are No. 8 in the latest KenPom rankings, having the sixth-best offense in the country (116.2 points per 100 possessions), so give me the hosts to cover. 

Purdue lost two of its last three games at Iowa 70-55 and Rutgers 81-76. This will be another tough road challenge for the Boilermakers who are No. 36 in the KenPom rankings with the 49th-best defense in the country (93.7). 

College basketball pick – Illinois by 8. 

Michigan State vs Nebraska 

The 6-3 Spartans are riding a three-game losing streak, as well as the 4-6 Cornhuskers. Both teams ruined my parlays over the last few days. Michigan State was humiliated at Minnesota last Tuesday, 81-56, shooting a horrible 25.7% from the field. Nebraska lost at Ohio State 90-54 this past Wednesday. 

We are not going to overthink this one at all. The #17 Spartans are 6-0 straight up and ATS in their last six matchups with Nebraska. They should be keen to make amends for that embarrassing performance against the Golden Gophers. 

The Cornhuskers score just 101.1 points per 100 possessions (162nd) while yielding 97.2 to their opponents (100th), but they love to push the ball in transition and have the 30th-fastest pace in the country with 73.7 possessions per 40 minutes. 

College basketball pick – Michigan State by 6. 

Duke vs Florida State 

We are not sure what to expect from Duke, as the Blue Devils haven’t taken the floor since December 16 and a 75-65 victory at Notre Dame. Back on December 8, they lost to Illinois 83-68, so the 3-2 Blue Devils have played just twice in the last four weeks. 

The Seminoles, on the other side, are 5-2 on the season and 1-1 in the ACC play following a 77-67 defeat at Clemson this past Tuesday. It was their second loss in the last three showings, as the Seminoles once more struggled against a good defensive team. They committed 17 turnovers while surrendering a whopping 19 offensive rebounds. 

Duke has won its last five matchups with Florida State, but the Seminoles are 5-1 ATS in their previous six encounters with the Blue Devils. We are not sure the betting trends will help because Duke heavily leans on four freshmen, but we are taking the hosts in this one. 

College basketball pick – Florida State by 2. 

San Francisco Dons vs Gonzaga Bulldogs 

The top-ranked Bulldogs continue their journey with another easy task, hosting the San Francisco Dons who sit at the 77th spot of the KenPom rankings. Gonzaga is 9-0 on the season following a 112-67 victory over Dixie State, while San Francisco is 7-4 after beating San Diego 70-62. 

The Zags have won 19 straight matchups with the Dons. They are 4-2 ATS over the previous six, but the Bulldogs barely survived their last encounter with San Francisco, escaping with an 81-77 victory at the neutral site. 

Still, the Zags covered a 16-point spread in their last home game against the Dons, though they won by 17 points. Gonzaga is just 3-4 ATS in its last seven games overall, but we cannot bet against them. If you like the totals, bet on the over that has hit in six of the last seven games between Gonzaga and San Francisco. Also, the over is 11-3 in the Zags’ last 14 games overall. 

Gonzaga tallies 121.8 points per 100 possessions (2nd in the nation). The Bulldogs average a ridiculous 77.4 possessions per 40 minutes, so it’s no strange that the vast majority of their games produce a bunch of baskets. 

College basketball pick – Gonzaga by 20. 

Stanford vs Oregon 

Stanford has won three of its last nine games against Oregon, covering four times in the process, but the Cardinal are 1-6 SU and ATS in their previous seven visits to Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene, Oregon. They’ve dropped four straight road games against the Ducks by 13 or more points, so we are taking Oregon to cover once again. 

Both teams have played well lately. Stanford enters this clash on a four-game win streak, while Oregon has won seven straight games since an 83-75 defeat to Missouri in the opener. The Ducks are 10-4 ATS in their last 14 games overall. The Cardinal are 3-6-1 ATS in their previous ten. 

The Ducks played well in an 82-69 win to California last Thursday but just failed to cover a 14-point spread. They shot 45.9% from the field and 42.3% from beyond the arc, and the Ducks’ offense ranks 16th in the country with 112.1 points per 100 possessions. 

Stanford has the eighth-best defense in the country (88.9) but struggles on the offensive end with 106.5 points per 100 possessions (74th). The Ducks are a good defensive team, so we expect them to continue with a strong performance in 2021. 

College basketball pick – Oregon by 4. 

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