Saturday College Basketball Best Bets: Spread Plays For LSU Vs. Arkansas & More

Written By Eli Hershkovich on January 14, 2022 - Last Updated on January 16, 2022

With college football officially over, Saturday’s college basketball schedule presents bettors with plenty of promising matchups and situational spots. These circumstances are driven by bounce-back, letdown, look-ahead or revenge opportunities. Here’s a breakdown of my college basketball best bets — highlighted by a buy-low, sell-high SEC game.

Click on the odds below to place a wager when the lines are available.

In this COVID era, some of these bets are contingent on the betting market and player availability, so be sure to check back and follow me on Twitter for the latest. You can also continue the discussion in our Discord betting community, as we dissect all of the games throughout the week.

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No. 19 Texas Tech Red Raiders at Kansas State Wildcats

Mark Adams’ bunch (No. 19 in my college basketball rankings) has won three consecutive affairs and is expected to have Terrence Shannon Jr. — its most prolific playmaker — back in the rotation after he missed the last seven matchups with a back injury.

The first-year, power-five conference head coach is the architect of the no-middle philosophy, collapsing the interior while forcing opponents to beat them with outside shooting. In turn, the Red Raiders are surrendering the sixth-highest three-point scoring rate.

Enter Bruce Weber, who runs a five-out motion attack that’s predicated on generating looks from distance. Led by a pair of sharpshooters in Nijel Pack and Mark Smith, K-State ranks No. 110 in perimeter scoring rate. Couple that with a low turnover rate, and the home underdog is set up well offensively.

The Wildcats are also in the midst of a four-game losing skid, so there will be plenty of motivation to bounce back. They could even see their defensive ballhawk Mike McGuirl return from a two-game COVID absence. Plug your nose, as we’re just getting started with some ugly spots.

Eli’s Bet: Kansas State +4.5 (placed on Friday night at DraftKings Sportsbook)
College Basketball Best Bets: Kansas State +3.5 or better
Best Available Line: Kansas State

Arkansas Razorbacks at No. 12 LSU Tigers

Make this LSU nonsense stop. ShotQuality (SQ) noted that the Tigers rung up a 23.0% win expectancy in Wednesday’s road victory over Florida.

The Gators shot an abysmal 7 of 31 from behind the arc — many of them wide-open shots — and 11 of 22 from the free-throw. In fact, Will Wade’s group has earned a 10-5 SQ record overall, which is determined by each team’s shot selection in every game.

LSU, boasting the third-shortest odds to win the SEC regular-season title (+600 on DraftKings), has greatly exceeded expectations with shooting luck on both sides of the court. Look for it to finally come back down to earth against the Hogs, especially at the defensive end.

Not only did Arkansas tinker with its starting five in Wednesday’s blowout win over Missouri, inserting Wichita State transfer Trey Wade for additional floor-spacing, but it’s also due for positive shooting luck (29.7%). This metric will sound like a broken record, yet the Tigers are letting up the 32nd-highest three-point scoring rate despite yielding a 26.3% clip. The latter isn’t sustainable against a capable shooting bunch.

Razorbacks coach Eric Musselman (shoulder) won’t be on the sidelines, yet there’s plenty of buy-low value in the road underdogs.

  • Injury update: LSU point guard Xavier Pinson (knee) will be unavailable.

Eli’s Bet: Arkansas +7.5 (placed on Friday night at FanDuel Sportsbook)
College Basketball Best Bets: Arkansas +6.5 or better
Best Available Line: Arkansas

Texas A&M Aggies at Missouri Tigers

Thanks to a seven-game winning streak, Buzz Williams has put his Aggies on the map nationally for the first time since arriving in April 2019. But their offense is outperforming their expected production, slotting in at No. 81 in SQ’s adjusted offensive efficiency metric.

Anticipate Texas A&M’s three-point shooting to dip (38.2%), matching up a Missouri unit that should continue to undergo positive regression in that department following an absurd start from their opponents. Cuonzo Martin’s squad also presents the length to compete on the glass, likely leading to some second-chance opportunities for Kobe Brown & Co.

This contest represents a look-ahead spot for Texas A&M too, as it’ll host Kentucky in College Station on Wednesday.

Eli’s Bet: Missouri +5 (placed on Friday night at DraftKings Sportsbook)
College Basketball Best Bets: Missouri +4.5 or better
Best Available Line: Missouri

No. 24 Alabama Crimson Tide at Mississippi State Bulldogs

Even though the Tide are coming off back-to-back losses, creating a possible bounce-back spot, the Bulldogs should be riled up at home after dropping all three meetings last season.

For one, Ben Howland’s team showcases a significant size advantage, which should translate into a rebounding edge while dictating a slower pace. Alabama will break out from three-point land in due time, but it’ll lack clean looks if it’s failing to push the tempo.

Moreover, Mississippi State is delivering a top-55 near-proximity attempt rate and field goal percentage, respectively (lay-ups, dunks and tip-ins via Haslametrics). Big men Tolu Smith and Garrison Brooks should feast inside versus a Tide frontcourt that lacks any sort of physicality.

Eli’s Bet: Mississippi State -1 (placed on Friday night at PointsBet Sportsbook)
College Basketball Best Bets: Mississippi State -1.5 or better
Best Available Line: Mississippi State

Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Virginia Tech Hokies

Mike Young’s Hokies were considered an ACC dark horse to begin the season, yet they’re off to a 0-4 straight-up start in conference play after failing to score in the final 3:13 in Wednesday’s road loss at Virginia.

According to SQ, Virginia Tech should have three more wins under its belt. It’ll look to take out its anger versus an Irish squad that’s struggling to limit opponents’ perimeter attempts. Unfortunately for Mike Brey, Young’s five-out offense is amassing the 52nd-highest three-point scoring rate in Division I. Following seven wins in its last eight games, Notre Dame is positioned for a letdown in Blacksburg, Va.

Eli’s Bet: Virginia Tech -6 (placed on Friday night at DraftKings Sportsbook)
College Basketball Best Bets: Virginia Tech -6.5 or better
Best Available Line: Virginia Tech

Stanford Cardinal at Washington Huskies

Although Jerrod Haase’s unit has won consecutive games following a COVID pause, its success isn’t viable. Keep in mind, Stanford went on a 23-0 second-half run at Washington State on Thursday to overcome a 12-point deficit.

The Huskies run a 2-3 zone under Mike Hopkins, and I’m not a believer in the Cardinal’s shooting holding up. Plus, Washington is accruing the 16th-highest turnover rate in Division I, and Stanford’s ball handlers have struggled to limit their miscues throughout the season.

If Arizona transfer Terrell Brown & Co. can consistently speed up the pace off of takeaways, the Huskies will end the Cardinal’s four-game winning streak.

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

BYU Cougars at San Francisco Dons

Gonzaga blitzed Mark Pope’s team on Thursday, and it’ll now play its second game in three days. Similar to the Bulldogs, the Dons deliver more size than the Cougars and will have room attack the rim.

With forwards Gavin Baxter (ACL injury) and Richard Harward (heart condition) out for the season, BYU is allowing a below-average near-proximity field goal percentage, and it doesn’t manufacture the necessary ball pressure to force turnovers and keep San Francisco’s guards outside of the paint.

Todd Golden’s bunch lost both meetings last season, and its tenacity around the arc with Khalil Shabazz and Jamaree Bouyea should force the Cougars into taking difficult three-point looks.

College Basketball Best Bets: Consider USF ATS

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