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College basketball best bets.
College basketball best bets.

The first Saturday of March has a “madness” type of feel to it with five games between top-25 opponents, and we offer our top college basketball player props and best bets for Saturday based on the best college basketball odds.

There's already been plenty of afternoon college basketball action on Saturday, and the night slate includes a 10 p.m. tip between No. 23 Gonzaga and No. 17 Saint Mary's.

However, we also have our eyes on a potential Big East tournament semifinal preview between No. 5 Marquette and No. 12 Creighton. Meanwhile, No. 4 Tennessee continues its pursuit of a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament when it goes on the road to face No. 14 Alabama.

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 best bets

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Saturday’s college basketball schedule and odds

(Odds via Caesars)

Saturday’s college basketball player props

Adem Bona Under 11.5 points vs. Washington State (-115 via bet365) ⭐⭐⭐

UCLA’s Adem Bona has scored 13-plus points in five of the last six games, and he is now the Bruins’ second-leading scorer at 12.3 points per game. However, arguably no Pac-12 team has a more imposing front line than Washington State, and the Cougars are a prime candidate to hold Bona under his season scoring average.

Washington State can rotate a pair of 6-foot-11 centers on Bona in Oscar Cluff and Rueben Chinyelu, and those two are largely responsible for the Cougars’ 31st-ranked 2-point defense. Only one team has topped 70 points in Washington State’s last five home games, and both teams rank 317th or lower in adjusted tempo, which means this should be a low-possession game.

We are making this wager at bet365, as our other best sports betting sites charge slightly higher -120 juice for the same number.

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Josh Oduro Over 6.5 rebounds vs. Villanova (-115 via bet365) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

There is arguably no game on Saturday’s college basketball slate that impacts two bubble teams more than the Villanova-Providence matchup, which means we expect each team’s rotations to get shorter and for all starters to earn more playing time. And the fact that Josh Oduro’s Over of 6.5 rebounds is juiced to -115 despite him securing six or fewer rebounds in four consecutive games makes us even more confident that a big day on the boards is coming for the 6-foot-9 senior.

Oduro secured 12 rebounds (four offensive) in a 68-50 loss earlier this season against Villanova. Thus, being pulled out on the perimeter often by Wildcats forward Eric Dixon did not impact his rebounding total much, and we expect a Friars defense that ranks in the top 20 nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency to continue to force plenty of misses. 

Most of our other best sports betting apps are hovering around -120 to play this Over, so we once again head to bet365.

Saturday’s college basketball game picks

Creighton -4.5 vs. Marquette (-110 via Caesars) ⭐⭐⭐

Creighton is out for revenge after a 72-67 road loss at Marquette in the prior meeting between these teams. The Bluejays have been a juggernaut at home lately, winning three consecutive home games, two of which were against top-three teams in the Big East at the time (UConn and Seton Hall) by an average of 20.7 points per game.

Creighton has had its perimeter shooting going in those wins, combining to make 44-of-96 from beyond the arc (45.8%). That's a big reason why the Bluejays have the best homecourt advantage of any Big East school (and a top-26 ranking nationally), per KenPom.

Marquette eked out an uncharacteristic five-point win in the first meeting, grabbing a whopping 18 offensive rebounds despite entering this game ranked 248th nationally in that metric.

We don't expect a repeat performance in that regard on the road against a Creighton team that allows the second-fewest offensive rebounds (26.3%) in Big East play. Additionally, Golden Eagles guard Sean Jones torched the Bluejays for 15 points in 13 minutes in the first meeting but is now out for the season, and Marquette ranks outside the top 200 in bench minutes with a shorter rotation as a result.

We expect Creighton center Ryan Kalkbrenner’s presence in the paint to again pay huge dividends, as he is a big reason the Golden Eagles shot only 43.2% from 2-point range in the first meeting. That impact can't be understated, as Marquette attacks the rim relentlessly, and makes the second-highest percentage of 2-point shots (55.9%) in league play.

This is a three-star play, as Marquette is 11-4 ATS at home this season but a much less profitable 5-5 ATS in 10 road games. All of our best sportsbooks are in unison with a line of -4.5, which is up from -3.5 at most places. We would play this number up to -5 if the line continued to rise.

Pittsburgh -1 vs. Boston College (-105 via DraftKings) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Pittsburgh’s NCAA tournament hopes are hanging by a thread after losing two of three games, with both losses coming on the road at Wake Forest and Clemson. The seven-point loss to the Tigers in its last game was much closer than the final score indicated (the final margin was Clemson’s biggest lead of the entire game), and we still have confidence in a Panthers squad that has won on the road at Duke, NC State, and Virginia (ending the longest active home winning streak at the time) this season.

Pittsburgh is built to win on the road, as it turns the ball over at the second-lowest rate (13.6%) in league play. It should also have a distinct advantage on the boards, ranking in the top four in both offensive and defensive rebounding percentage, while Boston College ranks eighth and 13th in those categories.

Boston College is just 2-5 since the end of January, with its only wins in that span coming against Louisville and Miami, two of the three worst teams in the conference. The Panthers are 6-2-2 ATS on the road this season, and we expect it to grind out another road cover tonight.

Laying the one point at DraftKings at -105 odds provides much better value than the -118 moneyline odds for Pittsburgh to win outright. We would even play this number up to -2.5, so bettors may want to see what alternate spreads are available.

College basketball best bets made Saturday at 6:27 a.m. ET

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