A loaded Saturday schedule features 20 of the AP-ranked teams in college basketball, and we have you covered with our daily college basketball player props and best bets for Saturday based on the best college basketball odds from our best sports betting apps.
Today's college basketball lineup spans North America, featuring exciting matchups: Alabama versus Purdue and Clemson against TCU. These games, part of the Hall of Fame Series in Toronto, pit teams with an impressive combined record of 15-0 against each other, promising intense and highly anticipated clashes on the court.
Elsewhere, Kentucky plays in a rare road atmosphere in Philadelphia against an Ivy League school (UPenn), and Arizona puts its undefeated record and top ranking on the line against Wisconsin.
Here are our college basketball player props and best bets for Saturday (odds via our best March Madness betting sites; Pick confidence is based on a 1-to-5-star scale).
(Odds via DraftKings)
- Illinois vs. Tennessee (-7)
- Alabama vs. Purdue (-6)
- Wisconsin vs. Arizona (-9.5)
- Arkansas vs. Oklahoma (-4.5)
- Clemson vs. TCU (pick 'em)
- BYU (-4) vs. Utah
- Gonzaga (-4) vs. Washington
Saturday’s college basketball best bets
- KJ Adams Jr. (Kansas) Over 13.5 points vs. Missouri (-105 via DraftKings) ⭐⭐⭐⭐
- Dalton Knecht Over 1.5 3-pointers made vs. Illinois (-115 via DraftKings, bet365) ⭐⭐⭐⭐
- UCLA-Villanova Under 128 (-110 via DraftKings) ⭐⭐⭐⭐
- Seton Hall -3.5 vs. Rutgers (-110 via Caesars, DraftKings) ⭐⭐⭐⭐
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Saturday’s college basketball player props
KJ Adams Jr. (Kansas) Over 13.5 points vs. Missouri (-105 via DraftKings) ⭐⭐⭐⭐
KJ Adams Jr. has scored 18 points in back-to-back games, and he's topped this projected total in two of Kansas’s four toughest contests against KenPom’s top 22 teams. He still scored 13 points during one of the matchups when he didn't reach that mark.
Hunter Dickinson, the team’s best inside presence, will need to deal with the 7-foot-5 Connor Vanover, which should free up Adams to do more damage inside the arc.
Missouri allows opponents to shoot less than 47% from inside, largely due to Vanover’s roaming presence. However, Dickinson will likely pull Vanover out to the 3-point line often, and Missouri will need to honor his outside shooting ability. He's made 57.9% of his 3-point attempts and made at least one shot from deep in all but two games.
Tigers head coach Dennis Gates will therefore get no choice but to put a smaller and less physical defender on Adams, and he should enjoy a productive day.
Dalton Knecht Over 1.5 3-pointers vs. Illinois (-115 via DraftKings, bet365) ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Tennessee dodged a huge bullet when leading scorer Dalton Knecht (19.0 points per game) didn't miss the team’s last game after suffering an ankle injury against North Carolina. Knecht scored a season-low 10 points after tying a season-low with 25 minutes.
Still, head coach Rick Barnes faces no choice but to play his star closer to the 30.3 minutes he's been averaging so far in 2023-24, as this matchup against Illinois continues the Volunteers’ brutal non-conference slate.
Knecht is just one of two Volunteers shooting 39.0% or better from 3-point range (minimum 28 attempts), and he's scored 89 points on an efficient 48 shots during true road games against Power 5 competition. He's also scored in double figures during all eight games during 2023-24 and made multiple 3-pointers in half of those outings.
The bulk of his scoring on Saturday should come from deep, as Illinois boasts the best interior defense in Division I, allowing 38.2% inside the arc.
DraftKings and bet365 offer the same -115 odds to back Knecht to make two or more 3-pointers.
Saturday’s college basketball game picks
UCLA-Villanova Under 128 (-110 via DraftKings) ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Villanova is amid a three-game losing streak, largely because its offense has been averaging 63.7 points per game during that span, and 61 points per game if you remove the overtime period against Kansas State.
The Wildcats are 26-for-95 (27.4%) shooting from 3-point range during that period, which is an issue since they shoot from beyond the arc at the highest rate of any team in the country, according to Haslametrics.
Meanwhile, Mick Cronin’s defense is predicated on packing the paint and protecting the rim, as UCLA gives up 3-point attempts at the seventh-highest rate in the nation. However, the Bruins allow opponents to shoot just 32% from deep. In their two losses against Marquette and Gonzaga, they allowed a slightly higher 34% (17-for-50) while holding those top-eight teams to a combined 26.7 points lower than their season scoring average.
Meanwhile, UCLA hasn't topped 78 points in any game during 2023-24 despite facing Division II Chaminade and three other squads ranked outside of KenPom’s top 337. This game should be a rock fight, and we expect the Under to cash for the fourth straight time following a Villanova loss.
With all of our other best sportsbooks are offering a total of 127.5 or lower, DraftKings is posting the best number and price for Under backers.
Seton Hall -3.5 vs. Rutgers (-110 via Caesars, DraftKings) ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Rutgers received excellent news this week that they signed Dylan Harper, the No. 2 overall recruit, for next season. But that doesn't mean the Scarlet Knights won't continue to let high-quality opponents expose them all campaign. That's already been the case in back-to-back losses of 18-plus points to Illinois and Wake Forest.
However, the opening night 68-61 loss to Princeton is most concerning. The Tigers spread Rutgers out and shot 45% from 3-point range while doing a masterful job of limiting possessions. And while Seton Hall cannot go five-out and pull Clifford Omoruyi from the basket like the Tigers could, it can still take advantage of one-on-one matchups from the guard and wing positions similarly.
Seton Hall has won three of the previous four head-to-head meetings with Rutgers and has held the Scarlet Knights to 57.3 points per game in the three wins. Those teams were all much better offensively than this year’s squad, which ranks 262nd or worse in both 2-point and 3-point shooting percentages. However, Rutgers’ most significant Achilles heel is its poor 65.2% free-throw shooting. And with Seton Hall shooting 80.1% from the free-throw line as a team (seventh-best in the country), that should give the team the edge in a close game.
Caesars and DraftKings are the only two shops offering a spread of -3.5 (bet365 is as high as -4) at standard -110 odds.
College basketball best bets made 12/9/2023 at 7:23 a.m. ET
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