Trio Of Early NCAA Basketball Picks ATS For Saturday

Matthew Jordan

Friday, March 4, 2016 9:57 PM GMT

Friday, Mar. 4, 2016 9:57 PM GMT

Raise your hand if you had Texas A&M as the SEC champion entering this college basketball season. Doubtful. The Aggies can at least share the regular-season title Saturday. Here are my top three early-starting picks for the day on Heritage's NCAA Basketball odds.

Vanderbilt vs. No. 20 Texas A&M (-3.5)
Texas A&M (23-7, 12-5) is a lock to make the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2011, and Billy Kennedy is likely going to be the SEC Coach of the Year no matter what happens here. The Aggies are tied for first in the conference with Kentucky. The Aggies won the lone head-to-head matchup and thus would be the top seed in next week's SEC Tournament with a victory. A&M is seeking its first regular-season title since sharing the Southwest Conference championship in 1985-86. The Aggies enter on a five-game winning streak, which has immediately followed a four-game skid. Vanderbilt (19-11, 11-6) could share the title with a win and Kentucky loss at LSU. The Commodores have played themselves off the bubble and into the NCAA Tournament field regardless of what happens going forward. They have won four straight, all by double-digits -- including impressive victories at Florida and home against Kentucky. No one wants to play this club right now as Vandy has a ton of size. Vanderbilt hosted Texas A&M on Feb. 4 when the  Aggies were No. 8 in the country and the Commodores won 77-60. That was Vandy's first win over a ranked team in four years. A&M star Jalen Jones was held to four points on 1-for-13 shooting.

Take Texas A&M at -4.5 NCAA Basketball odds. The Commodores are 3-7 ATS in their past 10 road games. A&M is 8-3 ATS in its past 11 at home vs. teams with a losing road record.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Texas A&M -4.5
Best Line Offered: at Heritage

 

LSU vs. No. 22 Kentucky (-13)
As noted above, Kentucky (22-8, 12-5) would share the SEC title with Texas A&M if both schools win but UK would be the No. 2 seed in the conference tournament. The Cats have alternated wins and losses over their past five, meaning they may be due a loss here as they won at Florida 88-79 on Tuesday, dealing the Gators' NCAA Tournament hopes a huge blow. UK has struggled on the road all season so that was an important win; the Cats are unbeaten at home. Freshman Jamal Murray had 21 points and he leads all major conference players in scoring since Feb. 1 at 25.8 points per game. This will be Murray's final home game as he's going pro after this season. LSU (18-12, 11-6) has to have this game for any chance at an at-large NCAA Tournament bid as the Tigers are currently  listed among the next four out at ESPN. It would be a shame not to see superstar freshman Ben Simmons in the Big Dance. The Tigers have won two straight games, but those were at home where they've been good all season. They have dropped three straight SEC road games, each by at least 11 points. LSU hosted No. 9 Kentucky on Jan. 5 and won 85-67. Simmons had 14 points and 10 rebounds. Murray had 21 for UK.

LSU won't win but take the points. The Tigers are 4-1 ATS in their past five Saturday games. UK is 6-13 ATS in its past 19 after a win.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: LSU +13
Best Line Offered: at BetOnline

 

Clemson vs. Boston College (+8)
Why on earth am I writing about this basically  meaningless ACC game? If Boston College (8-23, 0-17) loses, it would become the first major conference school to go winless in its league play in both football and men's basketball in the same academic year since World War II. How about that stat!? I might have thought Northwestern had done it since then in the Big Ten. At least BC isn't alone at 0-17 in conference play. Rutgers is there as well in the Big Ten. The last time two schools from different major conferences finished without a win in league play in the same season was 1953-54. Boston College had its heart ripped out Wednesday, losing 73-72 at NC State as the Wolfpack scored on a layup off an inbounds play as time expired. The Eagles led by 13 at one point, their biggest lead in any ACC game this season. No ACC team has gone winless in regular-season play since Maryland in 1986-87. Only five have done so all-time. Clemson (16-13, 9-8) likely won't make the NCAA Tournament thanks to a current three-game losing streak. The Tigers gave No. 4 Virginia a good game Tuesday before falling 64-57 in the home finale. Clemson has lost five of its past seven games overall by an average margin of four points. The Tigers' last win was 65-54 over Boston College on Feb. 17. Eagles leading scorer Eli Carter was an ugly 1-for-17 from the field.

Take Boston College with your NCAA Basketball picks. This is the Eagles' national title game. No players want to go winless. Clemson is 2-5 ATS in its past seven games.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Boston College +9.5
Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker

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