NCAA Basketball Odds: Best ATS Picks For Saturday, December 17

Matthew Jordan

Friday, December 16, 2016 8:42 PM UTC

Friday, Dec. 16, 2016 8:42 PM UTC

The college football bowl season kicks off Saturday, but that doesn't mean you have to ignore the NCAA hardwood action as there are some interesting non-conference games. Here are three I feel good about after a 2-1 ATS mark last Saturday.

Ohio State Vs. No. 2 UCLA (-7.5)

This game is being played in Las Vegas as part of the CBS Sports Classic. These schools haven't met since 1980. I previewed Ohio State's home game against UConn in this space last Saturday and the Buckeyes won 64-60 but weren't able to cover the 9-point spread on NCAA basketball picks. Trevor Thompson led the Buckeyes with a career-high 17 points and 17 rebounds. Thompson was primarily a starter last year, but has come off the bench in each of OSU's 10 games. Under Coach Thad Matta, the Buckeyes are 54-67 in games against teams ranked in the AP Top 25. That win total ranks No. 10 nationally for victories vs. ranked opponents since 2004-05. Ohio State is a good defensive team, holding teams to 37.9 percent shooting. That will be tested against an unbeaten Bruins squad that is No. 2 nationally in scoring (97.9 ppg) and first in shooting (56.0 percent). UCLA owns the best win in the country of the early season, a 97-92 victory at then-No. 1 Kentucky on Dec. 3, and the Bruins beat another good Big Ten team, Michigan, 102-84 on Dec. 10. UCLA scored 102 again on Wednesday in a blowout of UC Santa Barbara. It was UCLA's fifth 100-point game of the season, the school's most in a season since 1993-94 when it had seven. The Bruins have six players scoring at least 11.1 points, and freshman guard Lonzo Ball is among the national assist leaders at 8.6 per game.

NCAAB Free Pick: UCLA -7.5Best Lines Offered All: BetOnline

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No. 18 Butler Vs. No. 9 Indiana (-4.5)

Another big game at a neutral site as these in-state rivals meet at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis as part  of the Crossroads Classic. It also includes two other schools from the state playing in No. 15 Purdue and No. 21 Notre Dame.  In odd-numbered years, Notre Dame plays Indiana and Butler plays Purdue, while in even-numbered years Notre Dame plays Purdue and Butler plays Indiana. For the first time in the history of this event, all four schools are ranked.  The big news here is the expected return of Hoosiers forward OG Anunoby, a likely future NBA Draft pick. He is averaging 12.5 points and 6.5 rebounds and is a terrific defender but has missed the past three games with a left ankle sprain. He suffered the injury in the Hoosiers' 76-67 victory over North Carolina on Nov. 30. IU has easily won the three without him, but they were against really low-level schools. Indiana is 2-0 vs. ranked teams this year, beating both Kansas and UNC when they were No. 3 in the nation. Butler is also 2-0 vs. ranked clubs, beating No. 8 Arizona last month and then No. 22 Cincinnati last Saturday as Butler extended its non-conference home winning streak to 34 in a row. Butler is in Indianapolis but doesn't play at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, home of the NBA's Pacers. Oh, and Butler gets someone back here too: Butler Blue III, the bulldog mascot, has recovered from Oct. 18 surgery and will be on hand.

NCAAB Free Pick: Indiana -4.5

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Davidson Vs. No. 3 Kansas (-14)

A neutral-site trifecta as it's being played in Kansas City as part of the Jayhawk Shootout, so it might as well be a Kansas home game.  Davidson has played plenty of good competition this year, beating Missouri and Arizona State and losing to Clemson and, last time out, at then-No. 7 North Carolina 83-74 on Dec. 7. The Wildcats rallied from a 16-point second-half deficit to within 3 late before the Heels pulled away again. Davidson is led by senior guard Jack Gibbs, who is fourth nationally in scoring at 24.3 points per game. He had 30 against the Heels. In the 10-year history of Kansas City’s Sprint Center, only five teams have beaten Kansas there. One was Davidson in the 2011-12 season. Kansas has won nine in a row since a season-opening overtime loss to Indiana in Hawaii. The last eight of those wins have been by double digits.  The Jayhawks welcome back forward Carlton Bragg Jr. after authorities dismissed a battery charge against him and charged the woman who accused him. The sophomore, once a highly-touted recruit, had been suspended indefinitely but has been reinstated and turned out to  miss just one game. He's averaging 7.8 points in 5.3 rebounds in 16 minutes per game.

NCAAB Free Pick: Kansas -14

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