Saturday College Basketball Best Bets: Situational Spots Worth Considering

Written By Derek Wagner on March 4, 2023 - Last Updated on March 5, 2023
College Basketball Best Bets

There are 82 games on Saturday’s college basketball odds board, which include a few situational spots I’ve decided to target. Let’s dig into my college basketball best bets for one of the final days of the regular season.

Click on any of the odds below to place a wager as well.


Let’s start off with the Cyclones, which are in a prime buy-low spot after four straight losses. Iowa State dropped a hard-fought home game against West Virginia on Monday, but it’s eyeing one last chance to bolster its NCAA tournament resume.

The program made headlines on Wednesday when it dismissed senior guard Caleb Grill due to his “failure to meet the program’s expectations.” Grill led the team in 3-point percentage (36.8%). Nevertheless, they still possess a trio of perimeter threats in Gable Kalscheur, Jaren Holmes, and four-man Aljaz Kunc. The latter piece wasn’t available for their first matchup on New Year’s Eve, in which ISU nabbed a 15-point victory.

Although the strength of T.J. Otzelberger‘s defensive structure is its man-to-man principles, the Cyclones have utilized a 1-3-1 zone at times. In turn, that’s disrupted the rhythm of their opponents, especially given Iowa State’s intensive ball pressure. Its defense proved to be problematic for Baylor in their last meeting, forcing 19 takeaways. The Bears own the conference’s lowest turnover rate in Big 12 play, yet they’ve scuffled against hyper-aggressive defenses — with three 19-plus turnover games this season.

Look for that “trend” to continue, especially if Keyonte George (ankle) is unable to go. George ranks No. 6 in free-throw attempts across the Big 12, playing a major role in Baylor’s success with putting an opposing backcourt in foul trouble. Even though the Cyclones allow a whopping 22.5% of their opponent’s points from the line, the Bears’ theoretical edge will be lacking if George doesn’t suit up. He’ll be a game-time decision, along with redshirt freshman Langston Love.

While Baylor is out for revenge, Otzelberger’s pressure-driven defense, guided by Tamin Lipsey‘s Big 12-leading 4.3% steal rate, should remain an issue for its conference foe. The best available line is currently Iowa State .


This PAC-12 affair represents a revenge spot for Bobby Hurley’s bunch after a home loss to USC on Jan. 21. The Sun Devils failed to hit perimeter shots (22.7%), but based on the quality of shots taken, Arizona St. should have won the game.

The strength of ASU lies in its defense, rank 32nd nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency (per KenPom). It excels at defending inside the arc, allowing a woeful 43.2% clip. On shots at the rim, Sun Devils’ opponents are shooting roughly 47%, good for No. 4 in the nation.

Moreover, they thrive when they force takeaways and tally pick-sixes in transition. In fact, in their last matchup, the Trojans stumbled with an eye-popping 18 miscue. There should be plenty of transition opportunities for the Sun Devils if Drew Peterson’s turnover rate, sitting at 2.8 per game (third-worst in the PAC-12), continues to plague the Trojans.

Desmond Cambridge and Frankie Collins lead the way for ASU, via their 3.3% and 2.7% steal rate, respectively. While the USC showcases a slightly above-average turnover rate, collectively, they clearly struggle when their opponents crank up their ball pressure.

If you’re into trends, Hurley’s squad is 4-1 ATS as a road underdog this season. As seen in the odds table above, the best available line is currently ASU .

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To close out my college basketball best bets column, let’s examine this ACC tilt between Wake Forest and Syracuse. It’s a typical spot of one team’s strength versus the other’s weakness. Jim Boeheim’s unit concedes 3-pointers at the highest rate in the country. That’s because of his patented zone looks.

On top of that, the Demon Deacons are hoisting up the 27th-highest 3-point rate nationally while converting at the 36th-ranked clip (37.1%).

Boeheim’s refusal to ditch his defensive structure is the main reason behind its inability to contend in a weak ACC. There is little reason to believe those issues will mend themselves in Syracuse’s regular season finale.

Plus, ShotQuality notes that the Orange also surrender a bottom-90 open 3-point rate. It was on full display in losses to Pitt and Virginia Tech, as they yielded double-digit perimeter shots to go down in each. Couple that Georgia Tech squad shooting 18-of-40 from deep on Tuesday — despite owning a bottom four 3-point percentage in the ACC.

The Deacs are paced by the backcourt combination of Tyree Appleby and Damari Monsanto. Monsanto boasts the ACC’s third-highest 3-point percentage (40.5%), and Appleby is lethal as well, shooting 37.1% in that regard. In fact, the latter is in the midst of a three-game stretch of shooting an astounding 40.6% from deep. This mania will likely continue against Syracuse’s spiraling defense.

Let’s ride Wake Forest’s hot marksmen for my college basketball best bets. The best available line is currently Deacs .


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