NCAA Basketball Picks: Saturday Value Betting Options

Darin Zank

Saturday, January 19, 2013 3:49 PM GMT

College basketball offers up maybe the best Saturday of betting match-ups so far this season, with a pile of good games to choose from, including five battles between ranked teams.

College Basketball Betting: Selections for Saturday

Here's our take on three games, with our free picks to contemplate.

Creighton at Wichita State (4 pm ET, ESPN2)

The Valley offers up an excellent mid-Major conference match-up as the 17-1 Bluejays visit the 16-2 Shockers.

Creighton, the pre-season favorite to win the MVC, is off to a wonderful start, rising to No. 10 in the ESPN poll. The Bluejays already own victories over Wisconsin, Arizona State, St. Joe's and Nebraska, and have won their last 11 games in a row, ten of those coming by double-digits.

Last time out the Jays got 31 points from coach's kid Doug McDermott in beating Northern Iowa 79-68 Tuesday night.  

Wichita State, meanwhile, has done a pretty good job of replacing three starters and five seniors lost from last year. The Shockers own wins over VCU and Iowa, their only losses coming to Tennessee and, last Sunday, to Evansville.

WSU recently got some good news, though, with the return of F Carl Hall, who had missed seven games with a broken thumb. But while getting Hall back helps, we still see Creighton as the better team for our basketball betting here.

 Free Pick: Take the Bluejays at the +2.5 points offered at 5Dimes. 

[gameodds]14/217825/43/us[/gameodds]

Wisconsin at Iowa (8 pm ET, Big Ten Network)

The 13-4 Badgers, coming off an upset victory at Indiana Wednesday, hit Iowa City to tackle the 12-5 Hawkeyes.

Wisconsin went 9-4 through its non-conference schedule, beating nobody of any real note, while their four losses came against Florida, Creighton, Virginia and Marquette. The Badgers have since opened their Big Ten schedule with four straight victories, including a rout of Illinois and, Wednesday night, a 64-59 upset of Indiana in Bloomington. Wisconsin showed some guts, holding off a late Hoosiers rally in front of a deafening Indiana home crowd.

Iowa, meanwhile, started 11-2 this season, with losses to Wichita State and Virginia Tech. But the Hawkeyes then lost their first three Big Ten games, one by four points to Indiana, another by three points to Michigan State. Last time out, though, last Sunday, Iowa held Northwestern to just 15 baskets in winning in Evanston 70-50.

Wisconsin has played two very good games in a row, and while we love Coach Bo, our guess is the Badgers' 4-0 conference start is probably a bit above their heads.

Iowa actually swept the season series from UW last year, including a 72-65 win in Madison as 17-point dogs. While three in a row over a tough rival like the Badgers might be a lot to ask, that's where we're leaning.

Basketball Pick: Take the Hawkeyes at the pick 'em offered at Pinnacle.

[gameodds]14/217900/43/us[/gameodds]

Gonzaga at Butler (9 pm ET, ESPN)

In a match-up of two small but dangerous Bulldogs, 17-1 Gonzaga visits 15-2 Butler.

This one's so big ESPN set up Gameday Saturday morning at Hinkle Fieldhouse. 

Gonzaga has already beaten West Virginia, Clemson, Oklahoma, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Baylor and St. Mary's. The Zags only loss so far came against Illinois six weeks ago. In their last 6 road games, the Zags have beaten the college basketball odds ATS 4times.

Butler, meanwhile, has already beaten Marquette, North Carolina, Northwestern, Indiana, Vanderbilt, St. Joe's, Dayton and Richmond.  These 'Dogs' only losses have come against Xavier and (also) Illinois, almost two months ago.

By the numbers these teams are very similar; both are holding foes to 41 percent shooting, and both are out-rebounding foes by about seven per game. Gonzaga does hold one statistical advantage, though, shooting better than 50 percent from the field as a team, while Butler is shooting 45 percent.

But Butler is also playing without G Rotnei Clarke (16 PPG), who's dealing with a sprained neck.

We can't help but believe his absence will be felt.

We've bet on Butler several times already this season, and with success. But not today. Sometimes hosting Gameday can be detrimental or even, dare we say, a jinx.

NCAAB Picks: Take the Zags at the -3 points offered at 5Dimes.

[gameodds]14/217913/43/us[/gameodds]