College Basketball Best Bets: Saturday Spread Picks, Including Arizona – Illinois

Written By Eli Hershkovich on December 11, 2021 - Last Updated on December 12, 2021
College Basketball Best Bets

With 15 ranked teams in action on Saturday’s slate, including in-conference matchups, the season has officially arrived. Let’s dig into my college basketball bets, focusing on the teams that are undervalue in the betting market.

Click on the odds below to place a bet now. You can also continue the discussion in our betting community, as we dissect all of the games throughout the week.

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No. 12 Arkansas Razorbacks vs. Oklahoma Sooners

Coming off Tuesday’s loss to Butler as a double-digit favorite, the Sooners possess market value against the undefeated Hogs.

Eric Musselman’s pressure defense limits opponents’ paint touches, yielding the 23rd-fewest near-proximity attempts (lay-ups, dunks and tip-ins via Haslametrics). It’s susceptible from behind the arc as a result, though.

Oklahoma must be efficient enough to keep Arkansas out of transition, but its five-out attack should generate some perimeter shooting luck following a below-average start. If the Sooners are able to slow down the tempo, Porter Moser’s team will cash in against the spread.

Eli’s Bet: Oklahoma pick’em (placed on Saturday morning at PointsBet Sportsbook)
College Basketball Best Bets: Oklahoma -1 or better
Best Available Line: Oklahoma

Charlotte 49ers @ Valparaiso Beacons

Charlotte backers saw their bets go up in flames after covering for almost all of Tuesday’s loss at Arkansas. But like the Sooners, the 49ers have a more appealing price tag because of it.

Not only does Ron Sanchez’s group have a size advantage, but Jahmir Young’s quickness off the bounce should lead to some traps while translating into open three-point looks. Charlotte is in position to stay within two possessions.

Eli’s Bet: Charlotte +4.5 (placed on Friday afternoon at PointsBet)
College Basketball Best Bets: Charlotte +3 or better
Best Available Line: Charlotte

No. 15 Connecticut Huskies vs. St. Bonaventure Bonnies

Although UConn is still without Adama Sanogo (abdominal) and possibly Tyrese Martin (wrist, day-to-day), I’d expect the Huskies to bounce back from their 3-of-21 perimeter shooting performance in the loss at West Virginia on Wednesday. Keep in mind, the Bonnies pack-line defense is yielding the 11th-highest scoring rate from distance.

If St. Bonaventure point guard Kyle Lofton (ankle) suits up, the market will most certainly back the A-10 favorite.

College Basketball Best Bets: Consider UConn ATS
Best Available Line: 

No. 11 Arizona Wildcats @ Illinois Fighting Illini

After the Wildcats’ national title futures dipped down to 50-1 after their win over Michigan in the Roman Main Event Championship, they’re now .

Ex-Gonzaga assistant Tommy Lloyd boasts one of the most athletic frontcourts in college basketball, and their length could be an issue for Wooden Award candidate Kofi Cockburn (). Nevertheless, we’ve yet to see Arizona need to adjust in-game, and this contest will be their first true road test of the season.

As long as Brad Underwood’s unit can hang on the glass, its methodical pace should bother the Wildcats.

Eli’s Bet: Illinois +2 (placed on Friday afternoon at PointsBet)
College Basketball Best Bets: Illinois -1 or better
Best Available Line: Illinois

No. 25 LSU Tigers vs. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

Just like Arizona and Arkansas, we’ve reached a sell-high spot with LSU. The Tigers have yet to face a challenge in the rebounding department, and Josh Pastner’s squad provides just that.

Moreover, Pastner’s 1-3-1 zone will bother Will Wade’s interior-oriented offense, especially considering its three-point inefficiency.

Eli’s Bet: Georgia Tech +9 (placed on Friday afternoon at PointsBet)
College Basketball Best Bets: Georgia Tech +7.5 or better
Best Available Line: Georgia Tech

Cincinnati Bearcats @ Xavier Musketeers

In this rivalry affair, the Musketeers are overpriced after their 8-1 straight-up start. Meanwhile, the Bearcats have gone unnoticed after a dominant win over the Illini and having nearly knocked off the Razorbacks.

Travis Steele’s bunch is fairly reliant on its perimeter shooting, yet Cincinnati is limiting its opponents to the second-lowest effective field goal percentage (eFG%) in the country. Plus, the Bearcats present the necessary depth upfront to throw bodies at Xavier big man Zach Freemantle, who recently returned from a foot injury.

  • eFG% differs from conventional field goal percentage by taking into consideration the added value of a three-pointer.

Look for Wes Miller’s ball pressure to force Musketeers miscues too, as they’ve tallied the 85th-highest turnover rate in Division I.

Eli’s Bet: Cincinnati +8.5 (placed on Friday afternoon at PointsBet)
College Basketball Best Bets: Cincinnati +7 or better
Best Available Line: Cincinnati

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Written by
Eli Hershkovich

Eli Hershkovich is a lead sports betting writer with TheLines and Catena Media, formerly with Audacy and The Action Network. His goal is to provide you with data and information to lead you to winning bets. Eli is an avid college basketball gambler — among many other sports — and still hasn't forgiven Virginia for ruining his 2018-2019 Texas Tech futures.

View all posts by Eli Hershkovich