College Basketball Best Bets: Saturday Spread Picks, Including USC – Georgia Tech

Written By Eli Hershkovich on December 18, 2021
College Basketball Best Bets Saturday USC Georgia Tech spread

Despite the COVID-driven cancellations, there are still plenty of intriguing matchups on Saturday’s college basketball oddsboard. Here’s a deep-dive into my college basketball best bets, leading with No. 10 USC battling Georgia Tech in Phoenix.

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

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No. 10 USC Trojans vs. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

Andy Enfield’s team rose to No. 14 in my latest college basketball power rankings after last season’s March Madness run, but the Trojans are overvalued in this matchup.

USC presents a perimeter defense that’s due to regress, surrendering a 27.5% shooting clip. Georgia Tech doesn’t rely on three-pointers at a high rate, yet it’s generating the 18th-highest percentage against the average opponent (via Haslametrics). Yellow Jackets wing Michael Devoe, who’s one of the most improved scorers in Division I (22.1 points per game), should produce his fair share of clean looks from behind the arc.

Moreover, Georgia Tech possesses the size to challenge USC on the glass while limiting it to a slower tempo. If the Trojans are forced to play more in the half court, Josh Pastner’s 1-3-1 zone will be an issue for an interior-reliant unit.

Coming off three straight losses, expect a motivated Yellow Jackets bunch to stay within a few possessions.

Eli’s Bet: Georgia Tech +8.5 (placed at FanDuel Sportsbook on Friday night)
College Basketball Best Bets: Georgia Tech +7.5 or better
Best Available Line: Georgia Tech 

No. 21 Kentucky Wildcats vs. North Carolina Tar Heels

After UCLA and Ohio State bowed out of the CBS Sports Classic, it set up for a blue-blood showdown in Las Vegas.

Both the Wildcats and Tar Heels play at an uptempo pace, yet John Calipari’s team exclusively looks to attack the rim in those instances because of their perimeter shooting woes. They’ll also rely on the 6-foot-9 Oscar Tshiebwe in the low-post, and Hubert Davis’ squad is allowing the sixth-highest near-proximity field goal percentage (lay-ups, dunks and tip-ins via Haslametrics).

As long as Tshiebwe doesn’t pick up early foul trouble, Kentucky should control the paint and the rebounding department.

Nevertheless, its defense could be in for an arduous assignment if the Tar Heels are knocking down their own shots from behind the arc (40.9%). The Wildcats’ success against threes (29.9%) is more of a product of a mid-major-filled slate.

If this game hovers around a pick’em, I may not have any action it. But bettors could easily sway towards the Tar Heels — given their five-game winning streak — creating value in the Wildcats.

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

No. 1 Baylor Bears at Oregon Ducks

Yes, I hate myself already for even writing this much. But similar to USC-Georgia Tech, this game represents a buy-low/sell-high spot with the market having a vastly different opinion of each program. The Bears climbed to the No. 1 spot in the AP Top 25 poll on Monday while the Ducks have done anything but live up to their preseason hype.

Still, Oregon showcases the length to give Baylor fits on the glass, which should help them slow down the pace at both ends. The Bears aim for the opposite, forcing turnovers with its no-middle defense that keeps the ball out of the lane.

Villanova missed numerous point-blank layups in its 21-point loss to Scott Drew’s bunch, but if the Ducks find room inside early on via the 6-foot-11 N’Faly Dante & Co., Baylor is allowing an above-average near-proximity clip (58.4%). That would set up their perimeter shooting, and Dana Altman’s crew can certainly space the floor when Will Richardson and Quincy Guerrier are on.

There should be a raucous environment in Eugene, Oregon. Anticipate the Ducks hanging around throughout.

Eli’s Bet: Oregon +8 (placed at PointsBet Sportsbook on Friday night)
College Basketball Best Bets: Oregon +7 or better
Best Available Line: Oregon

Eli Hershkovich Avatar
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