NCAA Basketball Picks: Saturday Betting Options

Darin Zank

Saturday, January 5, 2013 6:29 PM GMT

Amid the background of the NFL playoffs there are still winners to be found on Saturday's college basketball slate. So here's our take on a couple of games.

College Basketball Betting: Saturday Selections

As it happens, out in the West Coast Conference, with free picks to contemplate.

This Week's Hoops Record: 1-1

Gonzaga at Santa Clara (8 pm ET, Root Sports)

The 14-1 Zags and 12-3 Broncos get together for a WCC game in Santa Clara.

Battle-tested Gonzaga, with four starters back from last season, already owns victories over, among others, West Virginia, Oklahoma, Davidson, Kansas State, Baylor and Oklahoma State. The Zags only loss came in an 85-74 upset vs. Illinois four weeks ago. 

Most recently Gonzaga opened its WCC season with a 78-62 win over Pepperdine Thursday night. The Bulldogs pushed the spread as 16-point odds favorites, even though they only shot 43 percent from the floor.

Santa Clara, meanwhile, has basically its entire roster back from a team that went 8-22 last year, and 0-16 in WCC play. So far, that collection of returning talent has paid off by already surpassing last season's win total, plus some. However, that success has come against a rather weak schedule. The Broncos have basically beaten St. Louis and a bunch of nobodys, while their losses have come against Utah State, Santa Barbara and Duke (90-77).

But last time out Santa Clara broke an 18-game conference losing streak with a 74-69 victory over San Francisco in its WCC opener Wednesday night.

By the numbers Gonzaga is shooting 50 percent from the floor this season, holding opponents to 40 percent shooting and out-rebounding foes by almost nine boards per game 

The Broncos are shooting 44 percent so far this season, holding foes to 41 percent shooting and out-rebounding them by about a board per game.

Santa Clara has done a very nice job so far of bouncing back from a disastrous campaign of last season. But Gonzaga is simply (still) just a much better team.

[gameodds]14/146701/19-169-43-238-93/us[/gameodds]

Free Pick: Take the Zags at the -6 points offered at Bookmaker.

Check out the Pac-12 Betting options for today right here~

BYU at San Francisco (10 pm ET)

The 11-4 Cougars meet up with the 7-7 Dons in San Francisco 

Brigham Young, with three starters and returning missionary Tyler Haws back for this season, is up to its usual winning ways. But the Cougars haven't really beaten anybody of note, and they've basically lost their four games against their four toughest opponents, Florida State, Notre Dame, Iowa State and Baylor. However, since the loss to the Bears BYU has won three in a row, beating Northern Arizona by 30 points, Virginia Tech by 26 and, most recently, Loyola-Marymount by 41.

San Francisco, meanwhile, had to replace four starters this season from a team that went 20-14 last year. But the Dons started 5-1, with a win over St. John's. Unfortunately, USF then lost five games in a row, falling to, among others, Pacific and Holy Cross.

Since then the Dons beat East Tennessee and somebody called Dominican (CA), then opened their WCC slate with a 74-69 loss to Santa Clara.

Statistically speaking the Cougars are shooting 45 percent from the floor this season, just 32 percent from 3-point range but 74 percent from the line. At the other end of the court BYU is holding opponents to 41 percent shooting, and out-rebounding foes by about six boards per game.

San Francisco is shooting 45 percent from the field, 39 percent from long range but only 64 percent from the line. The Dons are also allowing opponents to shoot 44 percent, and they're playing foes to a dead-even battle on the boards.

[gameodds]14/146703/19-169-43-238-93/us[/gameodds]

BYU has the advantage in experience, from the line, on defense and on the boards. Look for the Cougars to extend their winning streak to four.

Free Pick: Take BYU at the -3.5 points offered at 5Dimes.