Saturday is one of the most exciting days of the college basketball season, as we get closer to the first NCAA Tournament tickets being punched. Read on for our college basketball parlay picks.
Our college basketball parlay picks blend intense regular-season battles from Power Five conferences and win-or-go-home conference tournament action.
The first leg takes us to "The Jungle" for a matchup between South Carolina and Auburn, with both teams looking to end the regular season on a high note. Next, we couldn't leave off the most anticipated regular-season basketball game of the season, as Mike Krzyzewski leads Duke for the last time at Cameron Indoor Stadium against North Carolina. Finally, we mixed in some conference tournament action for the final leg.
Here are my top parlay picks for Saturday's college basketball matchups (odds via DraftKings Sportsbook; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale)
Saturday’s College Basketball Parlay Picks
South Carolina-Auburn Over 144.5(-110)????North Carolina +11.5 vs. Duke(-110)????Long Island +7 vs. Wagner(-110)?????
College Basketball Parlay Predictions
South Carolina-Auburn Over 144.5 (-110)
After spending a good portion of the season ranked No. 1 in the AP poll, national championship talks involving Auburn cooled after it went 4-3 over the last seven games. However, those losses were on the road against Arkansas, Florida, and Tennessee. South Carolina isn't in the same stratosphere defensively as those teams, and Auburn tends to play at a breakneck pace in the friendly confines of "The Jungle."
Auburn has averaged just 67.8 points per game over its last six road affairs, but even that number is skewed by two overtime periods in that span. Conversely, the Tigers have averaged 85.0 points per game in their last eight home games and have scored fewer than 80 points only twice in that span. South Carolina will likely engage in an up-tempo battle, as the Gamecocks play at the fourth-fastest tempo in SEC play, according to KenPom.
South Carolina is a poor rim-protecting team, as it allows opponents to shoot 51.1% from inside the arc (10th-worst in conference play). Auburn's Jabari Smith and Walker Kessler will have a field day at the rim, leading to a big offensive bounce-back for the Tigers.
North Carolina +11.5 (-110)
There will be much more pomp and circumstance than usual for this rivalry with Krzyzewski coaching his final game at Cameron Indoor Stadium. All 208 of his former players have been invited to attend, and the average ticket price is approaching Super Bowl numbers.
With all the hoopla, the average bettor will take a myopic approach and assume Duke will roll to send its coach out with a victory. However, oddsmakers factored that - as well as Duke's 87-67 road victory at UNC on Feb. 5 - into the lines, so this is a perfect opportunity to back the undervalued Tar Heels.
North Carolina has played well down the stretch, going 6-1 since the Duke debacle. The Tar Heels have found their groove offensively, averaging 86 points in wins over NC State and Syracuse. North Carolina has knocked down the 3-point shot consistently all season, as its 37.4% team 3-point percentage ranks 28th in the country.
Though both teams made better than 40% of their 3-point attempts in the first meeting, Duke's ability to dominate the paint proved to be the difference. The Blue Devils shot 25-for-40 (62.5%) from 2-point range, with much of that coming after Armando Bacot got into early foul trouble. As a result, the Blue Devils ran away with it early.
As long as Bacot can avoid a similar fate, we shouldn't see the same abysmal performance defensively from the Tar Heels. UNC is a profitable 5-4-1 against the spread on the road and 11-7-1 ATS in 19 ACC games. I'll happily take the underdog for the second leg of our college basketball parlay picks.
Long Island +7 (-110)
It seems like ages ago that Wagner had Division I's longest winning streak at 14 games. However, the Seahawks faded down the stretch once star guard Elijah Ford suffered a season-ending knee injury. Wagner lost three of its final five games, including a head-scratching two-point loss to one of the league's worst teams (Fairleigh Dickinson). Thus, despite Long Island losing both regular-season matchups by a combined 22 points, I like the underdog to be much more competitive Saturday.
Long Island has one of the more underrated frontcourts in the NEC, led by Ty Flowers and Eral Penn. They combined for 33 of the team's 64 points in their last game against Wagner and combined for 41 in their first meeting. The duo does much more than score, too, as they're primarily responsible for LIU's No. 1 defensive rebounding rate in the conference, holding opponents to just a 27.7% offensive-rebounding rate. They make it very difficult to finish at the rim, and their 46.3% 2-point percentage allowed is second-best in the conference.
Wagner is just 9-for-35 (25.7%) from 3-point range in the two prior meetings. However, without Ford's slashing ability, the Seahawks don't pose much of a threat to get into the lane. Wagner has covered just one of its last four games, so I'm backing the Sharks at this inflated number.
Combined Odds: South Carolina-Auburn Over 144.5 (-110) + North Carolina +11.5 (-110) + Long Island +7 (-110) = +581
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College basketball parlay picks made 3/4/2022 at 8:41 p.m. ET.