Best ATS Picks For Saturday, February 18

Matthew Jordan

Friday, February 17, 2017 9:11 PM UTC

Friday, Feb. 17, 2017 9:11 PM UTC

A third straight winning Saturday last week (2-1) on best ATS NCAA basketball picks, hitting on Villanova (-4) at Xavier and Michigan State (-6.5) vs. Iowa. Let’s keep it going this Saturday with three games I recommend around the country.

No. 25 Notre Dame At NC State (+5.5)

One of the biggest stories in college basketball this week was that NC State was going to fire Coach Mark Gottfried. Some media in that area of the country speculated it could happen as early as Wednesday night if the Wolfpack were smashed at home by rival North Carolina. They were, getting routed 97-73. It was NC State’s sixth straight loss and fourth in that stretch by at least 24 points. The media was pretty dead-on as Gottfried was fired Thursday but will finish the season. How is that team that lousy – only Boston College is worse in the ACC -- with a superstar freshman point guard in Dennis Smith Jr.? He’s a lock Top-5 pick in the 2017 draft and averaging 19.0 points, 6.7 assists and 4.4 rebounds per game. Smith should be the ACC Freshman of the Year. He had 27 vs. Carolina but got little help as usual. The Irish are playing for a Top-4 finish in the ACC and the double-bye that would bring in the conference tournament. Notre Dame has followed a four-game losing streak with three straight wins. It played at Boston College on Tuesday and prevailed 84-76 to snap a three-game road skid.  Irish senior guard Steve Vasturia became one just one of 11 players in program history to score over 1,300 points and dish out 300 assists in a career by reaching the latter number in the win. This is the only scheduled meeting between the Wolfpack and Irish. The Wolfpack have covered eight of their past 10 after a double-digit home loss and I think they play hard for their coach.

NCAAB Free Pick: NC State +5.5Best Line Offered: BetOnline

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No. 3 Kansas At No. 4 Baylor (-1.5)

The game of the day in college basketball. Kansas has won a ridiculous 12 straight Big 12 titles and the Jayhawks will all but wrap up this year’s regular-season title with a victory in Waco. KU has a two-game lead over Baylor. Both the Jayhawks and Bears were given top seeds when the NCAA Tournament selection committee released a preview of the Top-4 seeds in each region last Saturday, but I doubt both schools get one. Kansas has had six straight games decided by six points or fewer. It has won five of those, including the comeback of the year Monday at home vs. No. 9 West Virginia. WVU was up 14 with under three minutes left, but Big 12 Player of the Year favorite Frank Mason III hit two free throws with 21 seconds to go to tie it at 71. WVU missed a shot at the end of regulation and KU won it 84-80 in OT. Kansas avoided being swept in a season series by any Big 12 opponent for the first time ever under Bill Self. Baylor may have been looking ahead to this game Monday in losing 84-78 at Texas Tech. The Bears lost at Kansas 73-68 on Feb. 1. Jayhawks freshman Josh Jackson was the best player on the floor with 23 points and 10 rebounds. KU has failed to cover its past seven overall.

NCAAB Free Pick: Baylor -2Best Line Offered: Heritage

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No. 15 Florida At Mississippi State (+11)

Outside of Gonzaga, no team in the country is playing better than Florida right now as the Gators enter this SEC matchup on a seven-game winning streak -- and they blew out most of those foes. On Tuesday, UF set a school record for points in an SEC game with a 114-95 victory at Auburn. Florida shot 56 percent from the field and made 11 of 19 3-point attempts and 37 of 42 free throws. The Gators did get some terrible news, however, as center John Egbunu left early with a knee injury, and his season is over with a torn ACL. The redshirt junior was averaging 7.8 points and 6.6 rebounds in a bit more than 22.3 minutes per game. Senior Justin Leon and sophomore Kevarrius Hayes will now be counted on more down low. Mississippi State can only play spoiler at this point or perhaps for an NIT berth. The Bulldogs have lost three straight and five of six. They fell at Georgia 79-72 on Tuesday. MSU led at the half, but allowed Georgia to hit 66.7 percent after intermission. This is the only scheduled meeting between Florida and Mississippi State. The Gators are 1-6 ATS in their past seven in Starkville.

NCAAB Free Pick: Mississippi State +11Best Line Offered: SportsBetting

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