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College basketball best bets.
College basketball best bets.

We're one month away from Selection Sunday as we prepare for a Saturday college basketball slate featuring 22 teams from the AP top 25, and we offer our top college basketball player props and best bets for Saturday based on the best college basketball odds.

Three ranked vs. ranked matchups highlight one of the most anticipated days in college basketball to date.

No. 1 UConn can virtually clinch a regular-season Big East title with a win over No. 4 Marquette, as it enters the day with a two-game lead over the Golden Eagles in the league standings.

Elsewhere, No. 6 Kansas continues to fight through injuries and has lost two of its previous three games heading into a road contest at No. 25 Oklahoma, while No. 22 Kentucky travels to one of the best atmospheres in college basketball and takes on No. 13 Auburn in “The Jungle.”

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 DraftKings)

Saturday’s college basketball best bets

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Saturday’s college basketball player props

Wade Taylor Over 20.5 points vs. Alabama (-115 via DraftKings) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Texas A&M point guard Wade Taylor has scored 21-plus points in only two of the previous seven games, but considering he has scored 25 or more points on six occasions, we are banking on one of those coming in this SEC clash that figures to be a track meet.

Either Alabama or its opponent has scored 91 or more points in six of the previous eight games, and the Crimson Tide love to push the pace, with the fastest adjusted tempo in the SEC and a top-14 ranking in that metric nationally.

The Aggies know they will have to score to keep up in this game, as the Crimson Tide have the nation’s top-ranked adjusted offensive efficiency. One area we expect Taylor to shine is at the free-throw line in this contest, as Texas A&M has the second-most free-throw attempts per field-goal attempt in SEC play, while Alabama’s defense ranks second-worst in that metric.

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This is a four-star play, as Taylor leads the SEC in the percentage of his team’s possessions, second in the percentage of his team’s shots taken (35.3%), and fifth in percentage of minutes played. 

Donovan Clingan Over 6.5 rebounds vs. Marquette (-104 via FanDuel) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

UConn center Donovan Clingan has had serious issues with foul trouble of late, accruing four fouls in three of the previous five games, which limited him to 17 or fewer minutes in each of those contests. Clingan has played 19-plus minutes in four of eight games after a five-game absence with an injury, and he has secured seven or more rebounds in all of those. We expect him to stay on the floor more often than usual against a Marquette team that ranks 343rd in the country in ShotQuality free-throw rate.

Clingan ranks in the 99th percentile in block rate, and his elite ability to alter shots should allow him to pull down several rebounds. And while Marquette ranks 38th in ShotQuality’s rim-&-3 rate, UConn excels at that defensively, ranking 37th in opponent open-3 rate and 13th in opponent rim-&-3 ShotQuality points per possession.

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Since we believe in Clingan’s ability to stay out of foul trouble, we are making the Over a four-star play, and will be checking out any alternate totals for his rebounds when they become available.

Saturday’s college basketball game picks

Wake Forest +3.5 vs. Virginia (-118 via FanDuel) ⭐⭐⭐

Virginia had the nation’s longest active home winning streak (23 games) snapped with Tuesday’s 74-63 loss to Pittsburgh, but perhaps that should not have been too surprising, given the Panthers are now 5-2 on the road in ACC play.

Wake Forest can do exactly what Pittsburgh did to frustrate the Cavaliers, as the Panthers made 14 3-pointers (10 more than Virginia), which were the most made threes against Virginia since Purdue made 14 in the 2019 Elite Eight matchup.

Six different Panthers made at least one three, and they dominated Virginia 11-3 on the offensive glass, which led to a 13-2 edge in second-chance points. Wake Forest shoots 3-pointers at a top-26 rate nationally (37.3%) and has made a slightly higher percentage (37.5%) in ACC play. The Demon Deacons made 10 threes in a 66-47 home rout of Virginia earlier this year and overcame 17 turnovers by out-rebounding the Cavaliers 40-27.

We have a lot of respect for the atmosphere at John Paul Jones Arena, as Virginia is 9-4-1 ATS as a home favorite this season and covered 56.5% of its games following losses (13-10-2 ATS) since 2021. However, Wake Forest is coming off a road game in arguably the toughest road environment in college basketball (Cameron Indoor Stadium) and would have covered as a seven-point underdog if not for a meaningless dunk by Duke in the closing seconds when Wake Forest had waved the white flag on defense.

We are buying low on the Demon Deacons to cover their first game as road underdogs (0-5 ATS) this season.

The best value on this wager is at FanDuel, the only one of our best sports betting sites offering a line as high as Wake Forest +3.5, while all other competitors are at +2.5.

Arizona -18.5 vs. Arizona State (-110 via DraftKings) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Typically, we tend to throw records out in a rivalry game of this magnitude, especially since eight of the previous 13 meetings between these teams have been decided by single digits. However, we can't ignore the talent gap between the two in-state rivals this season, and while Arizona has won six of the previous seven matchups, it will be out for revenge after losing at home to Arizona State 89-88 last year.

That Sun Devils team earned an 11-seed in the NCAA tournament and was a basket away (it lost 72-70 to TCU) from advancing to the Round of 32. This year’s Sun Devils squad ranks dead-last in the Pac-12 in effective field-goal percentage defense and 2-point percentage allowed and knocks down just 31.7% of its 3-point attempts (also last) in league play. That is a bad formula to compete with an Arizona team that ranks second in the country in scoring at 90.1 points per game.

Arizona is coming off arguably its most impressive performance in Pac-12 play in its last game, a 99-79 road drubbing of Colorado (the Wildcats were two-point underdogs in the game).

This game against Arizona State figures to have a lot of possessions, as the Sun Devils spend 16.7 seconds on average per defensive possession, the shortest in the league. That suggests that opposing offenses hunt and find good shots quickly with frequent success against Arizona State, so it would not be shocking to see Arizona surpass its season scoring average in this game.

This is a four-star play, as Arizona is 9-3 ATS as home favorites this year. DraftKings is the only one of our best sports betting apps charging standard -110 juice to back the favorites, with FanDuel on the high end of the market at -120 to lay the 18.5 points.

College basketball best bets made Friday at 7:26 p.m. ET

Here are our best March Madness betting sites:

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