NCAA Basketball Odds: Best ATS Picks For Saturday, December 31

Matthew Jordan

Friday, December 30, 2016 8:02 PM UTC

Friday, Dec. 30, 2016 8:02 PM UTC

Saturday is obviously a huge day in college football with the national semifinals taking place. But that doesn't mean you should ignore the NCAA hardwood entirely. Here are three games involving ranked teams and my picks. Have a safe New Year's Eve!

No. 17 Xavier At Georgetown (+2.5)

They are getting this Big East game underway early with an 11 a.m. ET start on Fox Sports 1. The Musketeers clearly don't like playing true road games as they are 0-2 in them this season, losing by 15 at Baylor on Dec. 3 and then by two at Colorado four days later. Those are both good teams, especially Baylor. Xavier enters this one a four-game winning streak, including solid home ones over Utah and Wake Forest. XU crushed Providence on Wednesday in the Big East opener for both. The 26-point margin was Xavier's most lopsided win in four seasons of Big East play. The Musketeers' star is Trevon Bluiett, who is fourth in the conference in scoring at 19.2 ppg. The junior had 22 vs. Providence to go with nine rebounds and four assists. Georgetown had a six-game winning streak snapped in a 76-66 loss at Marquette on Wednesday in their conference opener. Rodney Pryor led the Hoyas with 23 points. He's second in the Big East in scoring at 20.1 ppg. GU's second-best player, L.J. Peak, was just 1-for-8 from the floor vs. Marquette and is dealing with a groin injury. It's  possible it keeps Peak out here. These schools split last year, each winning on the road. Xavier is 4-1 ATS in the past five meetings.

NCAAB Free Pick: Xavier -2.5Best Lines Offered: BetOnline

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No. 20 Florida State At No. 12 Virginia (-9)

ACC matchup at 2 p.m. ET on ESPNU. Could be a bit of a letdown game for the Wahoos after their very impressive 61-53 win at No. 6 Louisville on Wednesday in the conference opener for both. In a matchup of the nation's best defenses, Virginia's was better in holding the Cardinals to 2-for-14 from long range and no Louisville player reaching double-figure points. That hadn't happened at Louisville since March 2, 2010. Meanwhile, the Cavaliers led by as many as 21 points in the second half and shot 49 percent from the floor against what was the No. 1 defensive team in the nation. FSU's lone loss was by three to a good Temple team in a Thanksgiving holiday tournament. The Seminoles have won nine in a row since following Wednesday's 88-72 victory over Wake Forest. After trailing most of the game, the Seminoles went on a run of 17 straight points over a four-minute span in the second half to take control. Dwayne Bacon and Xavier Rathan-Mayes each scored 23 points for FSU. Rathan-Mayes became the 46th player in school history to reach 1,000 career points. His dad Tharon Mayes played at FSU from 1988-90 and scored 1,260 points. They are the first father-son duo in ACC history to each reach 1,000 points. The Cavs and Seminoles played once last season and FSU won 69-62 at home. The home team is 4-1 ATS in the past five meetings.

NCAAB Free Pick: FSU +9Best Line Offered: Heritage

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No. 7 Gonzaga At Pacific (+20)

West Coast Conference game at 8 p.m. ET. I guess if you are a fan of one of these schools, you will need the two TVs going as this is opposite the Clemson-Ohio State Fiesta Bowl. Around Christmas, I wrote a story projecting which NCAA basketball unbeaten would be the last to lose this season and picked Gonzaga. So far, so good. The Bulldogs had quality nonconference wins over Florida, Iowa State, Arizona and Tennessee and they opened WCC play on Thursday with a 92-62 home rout of Pepperdine. It was just a seven-point margin at halftime, but the Waves had more turnovers (13) than field goals (nine) in the second half. The Bulldogs have now won 21 straight conference openers, but this will be the Zags' first true road game of the season. On Thursday, Pacific lost its WCC opener 80-76 at home to Portland. The Tigers were down 13 with about five minutes left but got within 78-76. Anthony Townes posted his third double-double this year, tying career-highs in points (18) and rebounds (12) for Pacific. This isn't the Tigers' first rodeo this season against a ranked national championship contender. They lost at UCLA to open the year and were crushed 119-80. Last year, the Zags were 2-0 vs. the Tigers, winning 71-61 in Stockton. That game was close until about six minutes remained.

NCAAB Free Pick: Pacific +20Best Line Offered: SportsBetting

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