NCAA Basketball Picks: Saturday Value PIcks

Darin Zank

Friday, January 25, 2013 3:56 PM UTC

Friday, Jan. 25, 2013 3:56 PM UTC

College basketball's top 10 has had a rough ride recently. Several of the top programs in the country have tasted defeat this month, including current No. 1 Duke, which just got blown out by Miami.

College Basketball Betting: Saturday's Value Picks

Still, the top 10 is the top 10, and still provides a pretty good gauge of just who the top teams are.

Which is why after some of those teams have been beaten, now might be a good time to start betting on those top teams.

Here's our take on a couple of games for Saturday in which we find some betting value, with free picks for your contemplation.

Syracuse at Villanova (11 am ET, ESPNU)

Some readers might wonder where the value is with a team ranked No. 3 in the AP poll, riding an eight-game winning streak, fairly fresh off an upset of the then-top-ranked team in the land on its home court.

That's what we've got with the Orange, as they head to Philly to play the Wildcats.

Syracuse just beat Villanova two weeks ago by a score of 72-61, then won at the then No. 1 Louisville. So, the Orange can't exactly sneak up on the NCAAB odds makers.

The 'Cuse were favored by 14 points over 'Nova at home Jan. 12, so they couldn't come up with the cover for that game. But they won't be favored by quite that much for Saturday's game at the Pavillion. That's where the value on this game lays; Syracuse backers won't have to give up as many points as they had to when these teams played at the Carrier Dome.

Also, Villanova is coming off a 73-64 upset of Louisville Tuesday night. We expect a fall-back performance from the Wildcats Saturday.

Value Pick: Take the Orange, hopefully at no more than -10 points or so.

Maryland at Duke (1 pm ET, CBS)

Again, readers might be wondering where the value is with the No. 1-ranked team in the country.

Well, two weeks ago, after drubbing Clemson 68-40, Duke sat at 15-0. The Blue Devils then lost at North Carolina State, although there was no shame in that, considering they were only favored by one point. Duke then went home and beat Georgia Tech, covering as 14-point chalk.

But Wednesday night the Dukies went down to Miami and got 'Caned by a score of 90-63. Duke allowed Miami to go on a 25-1 run at one point in the game, and near the end things got sloppy.

Think there wasn't steam streaming from Coach K's ears Thursday at practice?

The Blue Devils are down a man, with F Ryan Kelly dealing with a foot injury. His absence will be factored into any point spread.

On the other side of this match-up Maryland started 13-1 this year, but we thought the Terps were playing a little above their heads. Now, they've lost three of their last five games, going 0-5 ATS over that span.

This game will be a bit of a test for Coach K; his team is coming off its worst defeat since, well, we can't remember when. We might have to go back to that blowout at the hands of UNLV in the NCAA championship game 20 years ago to come up with such an embarrassing performance by the Blue Devils.

We expect Duke, even without Kelly, to bounce back Saturday. The linesmakers might be thinking the same thing, though. Hopefully they won't chalk the Devils by too much.

Value Pick: Take the Dukies dor one of your college basketball picks, hopefully at no more than -8 points. 

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