Best ATS Picks For Saturday, March 4

Matthew Jordan

Friday, March 3, 2017 8:56 PM UTC

Friday, Mar. 3, 2017 8:56 PM UTC

It’s the final Saturday of college basketball’s regular season. Here’s hoping you bet big on one school from Washington often this year (Gonzaga was 20-6-1 ATS) but not another (U. of Washington an awful 8-19-1 ATS). Here are three games I recommend Saturday.

No. 6 Oregon At Oregon State (+18.5)

It’s simple for the Ducks (26-4, 15-2 Pac-12): Win and they will be the top seed for next week’s Pac-12 Tournament in Las Vegas. Oregon is tied atop the conference with Arizona, but the Ducks won the lone head-to-head matchup. UCLA is a game back of both. All three should win Saturday, with Arizona at Arizona State and UCLA hosting a terrible Washington State side. Earning the top seed means avoiding Arizona or UCLA until the conference championship game, which could be the difference in earning a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Ducks enter on a five-game winning streak but have played with fire in the past two in winning at Cal by just three on a last-second 3-pointer and at Stanford by two on a putback basket with 14 seconds to go. It was only Oregon’s second Bay Area sweep since 1976. Oregon State (5-25, 1-16) is easily the worst team in the Pac-12, although to be fair the Beavers have been gutted by injuries. Their lone conference win was Feb. 19 at home by a point over Utah. OSU was blasted at Oregon 85-43 on Jan. 14. The Ducks scored the game’s first 21 points. It took the Beavers more than nine minutes to make their first field goal. Oregon is 6-0 ATS in its past six road games vs. teams with a losing home record, so it’s the pick. Normally this many points would scare me, but Ducks still have plenty to play for.

NCAAB Free Pick: Oregon -18.5Best Line Offered: BetOnline

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Indiana At Ohio State (-2.5)

Could be the final regular-season game at their current schools for both coaches: Indiana’s Tom Crean and Ohio State’s Thad Matta. The Hoosiers (16-14, 6-11) had stellar non-conference wins over Kansas and North Carolina, maybe the two best teams in the nation, but that’s not enough to get IU an at-large NCAA Tournament berth. Last year the Hoosiers went 15-3 in the Big Ten and were regular-season champions. They beat Kentucky in the NCAA Tournament and reached the Sweet 16. Now, IU's 6-11 in conference play. Thus why Crean is in trouble. Ohio State (17-13, 7-10) will miss the Big Dance for the second year in a row. The Buckeyes have followed a three-game losing streak with back-to-back wins over Wisconsin and at Penn State.  Ohio State's -1.3 turnover margin marks the second-straight year it has been in the red; it had a positive margin the four years before that. A win here for the Buckeyes would clinch a first-round bye for the Big Ten Tournament at the Verizon Center in Washington next week. The home team has covered the past four in this series, and that will continue.

NCAAB Free Pick: Ohio State -2.5Best Line Offered: Heritage

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Georgia Tech At Syracuse (-8.5)

Probably the biggest bubble game of Saturday as the Yellow Jackets (17-13, 8-9) and Orange (17-13, 9-8) close their ACC regular seasons. As of this writing, ESPN’s Joe Lunardi projects Syracuse as among the “last four byes” for the NCAA Tournament and Georgia Tech as the “first four out.” The Orange have dropped four of five and were clobbered at Louisville last Sunday. They have an RPI rating of 76 with six Top-50 wins. The Jackets have lost three of five but do come off an important 61-52 home win over Pitt on Tuesday. Tech has an RPI of 93 with four Top-50 wins. Frankly, Syracuse has no right getting in ahead of Georgia Tech if the Orange lose this game. That’s because Tech beat Syracuse 71-65 in Atlanta on Feb. 19. Ben Lammers and Tadric Jackson combined for 43 points, with Lammers adding seven blocks. SU nearly rallied from 13 down and had had a chance to tie in the closing seconds, but Tyler Roberson was whistled for an illegal screen. The NCAA Tournament selection committee has never given an at-large bid to a team with 15 or more losses. Clearly the loser here will get to 15 in the ACC Tournament. The Orange are a different team at home and have covered eight of their past nine there.

NCAAB Free Pick: Syracuse -8.5Best Line Offered: SportsBetting

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