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College basketball best bets.
College basketball best bets.

Twenty-two of the AP top 25 teams are playing during a loaded Saturday college basketball slate, and we offer our top college basketball player props and best bets based on the best college basketball odds.

Saturday offers a rare late-season opportunity with a notable non-conference matchup between Gonzaga and Kentucky at Rupp Arena, while the most under-the-radar game of the day takes place in the Ivy League as Yale hosts Cornell, amidst the spotlight on power conference games.

The Bulldogs and Big Red (both 6-0 in the Ivy League) are two of three teams (Saint Mary’s is the other) undefeated in conference play, and the winner will have the early inside track to the No. 1 seed in the Ivy League tournament.

Here are our college basketball player props and best bets for Saturday (college basketball picks based on odds via our best March Madness betting sites; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale).

Saturday’s college basketball schedule and odds

(Odds via BetMGM)

Saturday’s college basketball best bets

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Saturday’s college basketball player props

Cam Spencer (UConn) Under 15.5 points vs. Georgetown (-125 via DraftKings) ⭐⭐⭐

UConn’s Cam Spencer has been on fire the last two games, averaging 21.5 points in wins at St. John’s and against Butler, while shooting 14-for-25 from the floor. However, he took on a lot of the scoring load out of necessity with Alex Karaban missing the St. John’s game due to a sprained ankle, and Karaban scored well under his season average with seven points in his first game back against Butler.

Now that Karaban has had four more days to heal, we expect him to get back closer to his 14.2 points per game average, and steal some of Spencer’s 3-point looks.

Spencer had 20 points in a Jan. 14 home win over Georgetown, but the bulk of that was from beyond the 3-point line (5-for-7). The Huskies did not have center Donovan Clingan in that game, and we expect them to utilize their 7-foot-2 big man to take advantage of a Hoyas defense that ranks in the bottom 10 of all Division I teams while allowing opponents to shoot 55.4% inside the arc.

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Keshon Gilbert (Iowa State) Over 4.5 rebounds vs. TCU (-120 via DraftKings) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Iowa State guard Keshon Gilbert rebounds well from his position, ranking third on the team with 4.7 rebounds per game. Gilbert pulled down just four rebounds five games ago in a one-point road win at TCU, but since then he has grabbed six-plus boards in three of the last four games.

The Cyclones generate a ton of misses each game on the heels of a defense that ranks fourth in the country in adjusted defensive efficiency. They surrendered 15 offensive rebounds to a Horned Frogs team that secures 35.9% of its misses (22nd in the country), so we expect head coach T.J. Otzelberger to stress the importance of all five players crashing the boards and keeping TCU off the offensive glass.

Saturday’s college basketball game picks

Yale -5.5 vs. Cornell (-110 via FanDuel) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Yale and Cornell had a full week off instead of the typical Friday-Saturday back-to-back slate that the Ivy League consistently operates under, and that long rest advantage heavily favors the Bulldogs. James Jones’ squad is 7-1-1 ATS this season when having four-plus days off to prepare, not to mention covering the spread in all six conference games this season. 

Yale received 14 of the 16 first-place votes in the preseason conference poll and is playing every bit like the team that was projected to win the league over a Princeton team that made the Sweet 16 last year. The Bulldogs have the league’s most efficient offense and defense per KenPom in Ivy League play, and their pack-line defense and size in the frontcourt should neutralize a Cornell offense that leads the country in 2-point shooting (63.7%). 

This is a four-star play, as Cornell’s three conference road wins are against teams with a 5-13 combined record in league play, and Yale avenged a 12-point road loss to Cornell last year with a resounding 18-point home win later in the season. Our other best sports betting sites charge more in juice (-112) to back the favorites, so we opt for the best value at FanDuel.

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Providence-Butler Under 144.5 (-110 via FanDuel, DraftKings) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Providence and Butler have played the same gauntlet of three games over the last two weeks, facing UConn, Creighton, and Villanova. While Butler came out of that stretch 2-1 with Providence going 1-2 (both earned wins over Creighton), we expect that grind to impact each team’s offenses more than we have confidence in Butler covering at Hinkle Fieldhouse.

Providence has averaged just 62.7 points per game in its six true road games outside of the 100-point explosion against DePaul, who is arguably the worst team among any of the power conferences. The Friars rely on bully ball and getting to the free throw line for a lot of their offense (they rank first in the Big East in free throw attempts per field goal attempt), as their jump shooting (256th in 3-point percentage) has been non-existent all year.

Meanwhile, Butler’s defense allows the third-lowest free throw rate in league play, and Big East opponents are generating just 15.4% of their scoring from the charity stripe against Providence, the 10th-lowest in the conference.

Kim English’s Providence squad hangs its hat on a defense that ranks 11th in the country in adjusted defensive efficiency and is a big reason we expect the Under to cash for the seventh time in the 10th game the Friars have been underdogs.

Some competing best sports betting apps like BetRivers offer a slightly lower total at 144, so we are headed to FanDuel or DraftKings for the best number as Under backers.

College basketball best bets made 2/9/2024 at 8:31 p.m. ET

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