College Basketball Betting: Selections for Saturday
Here's our take on a couple of Saturday's college cage games, with free picks for your contemplation.
This Week's Hoops Betting Record: 0-1
BYU at Santa Clara (4:30 pm ET)
The 13-4 Cougars meet up for a West Coast Conference bout with the 12-5 Broncos.
BYU is on a bit of a roll, winning its last five games in a row, four of them in blow-out fashion. The Cougars' only losses this season have come against Florida State, Notre Dame, Iowa State and Baylor.
Last time out, two nights ago, BYU went off as an 18-point favorite over Pepperdine, trailed at the half by five points, then roared back to out-score the Waves 46-16 in the second half to win 76-51 and cover the spread.
Santa Clara has basically their entire roster back from last season, and started this season by winning 11 of its first 13 games. However, the Broncos have hit some turbulence lately, losing three of their last four. After falling in a tough game to Gonzaga last Saturday 81-74 Santa Clara then got upset at Loyola-Marymount Thursday night 84-80.
Statistically speaking these two teams are about a wash; the Broncos are out-shooting the Cougars slightly from 3-point land, but BYU has better numbers on the boards. There is no great statistical discrepancy for this match-up; our pick for this game is based more on where we think Santa Clara will be emotionally.
BYU swept the two games from the Broncos last year, winning by 17 and 15 points. So, Santa Clara might have revenge in mind. Also, after a good start, then a stumble, this is suddenly a big game for the Broncos. Hopefully, they're up for the challenge. Otherwise, our basketball betting would flop out.
Free Pick: Santa Clara at the +1 offered at Pinnacle.
St. Louis at Temple (6 pm ET, ESPNU)
The 12-3 Billikens, riding a nine-game winning streak, hit Philly to take on the 10-4 Owls.
St. Louis was pretty highly regarded in some of the pre-season polls. Then, stumbled a bit out of the gate, splitting their first six games. But the Billikens have since reeled off nine wins in a row. They also recently covered four spreads in a row, although last time out, as 10-point favorites over UMass they couldn't quite cash in, winning 70-62.
Temple, meanwhile, started 6-0 this year, got to 10-2 but has lost its last two games. Last weekend the Owls fell at Kansas 69-62, covering as 12-point dogs, but Thursday night they lost at Xavier 57-52 as three-point favorites.
By the numbers St. Louis is shooting 46 percent from the floor this season and 37 percent from long range; Temple, meanwhile, is only shooting 40 percent from the field and 30 percent from beyond the arc.
After a slow start St. Louis seems to be putting things together. Come March the Billikens should be somewhere near the top of the Atlantic 10, and maybe even in the conversation for a decent seed in the NCAA tournament. Getting points here is just a bonus.
Free Pick: St. Louis at the +4 points offered at Pinnacle.
Bonus Picks For Saturday: For our NFL playoffs two-team parlay for Saturday we like the Broncos to beat the poser Ravens and cover the nine points, and the 49ers to take care of business against the Packers out in San Francisco.
And for the San Fernando Stakes out at Santa Anita Saturday afternoon we'll go with an exacta with the eight horse, Fed Biz, ridden by Mike Smith, keyed over the Nos. 3 and 4 horses; and another exacta with the one horse, Battle Force, piloted by Garrett Gomez, over the Nos. 5 and 9 horses.I hope this satiates your daily appetite for sports picks. Good luck!