College Basketball Betting Picks for Saturday 3/16/24

Austin Swaim
Austin SwaimASwaim3
College Basketball Betting Picks for Saturday 3/16/24

The college basketball season always provides a flurry of twists and turns that few saw coming -- especially when the NCAA Tournament comes around. This can make college basketball one of the most challenging sports to bet on.

Fortunately, we have plenty of tools available that can aid our chances of taking the most favorable college basketball bets. Bart Torvik and KenPom are excellent sources that give insights into team-level efficiency, and Sports Reference provides a wide range of useful team stats, as well.

Let's check out FanDuel Sportsbook's college basketball odds and select some of the best bets of the day by utilizing the mentioned tools.

Please note lines are subject to change throughout the day after this article is published.

College Basketball Best Bets

New Mexico vs. San Diego State, 6:00 P.M. EST

New Mexico Under 70.5 Points (-104)

Sometimes we forget these players are human. Just 15.5 hours before this game will tip off, the New Mexico Lobos were polishing off their semifinal win against Colorado State.

As a result, I'm expecting a sluggish start from them in tonight's final. The Lobos' tempo (7th in Division I via KenPom) has always exceeded their offensive efficiency (42nd), and pep might not be in their step given the circumstances. It also doesn't help that the San Diego State Aztecs have the eighth-best defense, per KenPom's efficiency ranks, in college basketball.

numberFire's model has just 69.5 median points projected for the Lobos in the Mountain West Championship game.

Marquette vs. UConn, 6:30 P.M. EST

Marquette +9.5 (-114)

The UConn Huskies enter the NCAA Tournament as a clear favorite, but cracks are starting to show against the spread (ATS).

One of the reasons they're a public darling was a 21-12 ATS record, but UConn failed to cover 9.5 points against St. John's on Friday, and the Marquette Golden Eagles might be able to follow suit.

Marquette held these two's latest matchup (in Milwaukee) to 7 points after a 28-point defeat in UConn's building on February 17th. The Golden Eagles, arguably with more to play for in terms of seeding, should be able to hang with the Huskies overall. They're 12th in KenPom's adjusted efficiency ranks, trailing 2nd-ranked Connecticut by an insignificant margin overall.

nF expects Marquette to cover 62.1% of the time in this spot, and other marquee sites are with the model. DRatings has this spread at just 5.5 points, and Bart Torvik has it at 5.1.

N.C. State vs. North Carolina, 8:30 P.M. EST

N.C. State +10.5 (-120)

While seeding is nice, nothing can match the motivation for the North Carolina State Wolfpack tonight.

The Pack needs a win to make the 2024 NCAA Tournament, sitting unlikely to qualify as an at-large bid. I'm not sure they can get it against a superior North Carolina Tar Heels squad, but the effort could make the difference for keeping this game to single digits.

UNC sits 7th in KenPom's overall efficiency rankings, but they've played teams tight -- such as Pitt yesterday -- with just the 23rd-ranked offense. NC State has transcended beyond their 66th-ranked metrics to knock off Duke and Virginia in this tournament; those two teams held an average KenPom rank of 37.0.

I feel good about taking the points when analytics-only sites -- not factoring in motivation -- also like the Wolfpack. DRatings projects this spread at 8.4 points, and Bart Torvik has it at 9.1. Remember, the neutral floor here in Washington D.C. should help their chances.

Oregon vs. Colorado, 9:00 P.M. EST

Colorado -2.5 (-120)
Over 140.5 (-105)

The final Pac-12 Tournament champs will be decided tonight, and the Tad Boyle's Colorado Buffaloes seem to be in the driver's seat.

After the Oregon Ducks knocked off proverbial favorite Arizona, CU is the best team remaining on paper. Their 25th-best efficiency ranking in KenPom towers over Oregon (55th overall).

Unlike with a projected top seed in UNC, the Buffs and Ducks have pretty substantial motivation. For CU, they'd be climbing out of the 5-to-6 seed range with a win, and Oregon likely needs this to make the dance at all.

The difficult matchup for Oregon here will be the size of center Eddie Lampkin Jr., who has aided the Buffs to Bart Torvik's 49th-ranked two-point offense. That's precisely where Oregon struggles defensively (252nd). Laying a one-basket margin with the better team all season feels like the move here.

At the same time, these are top-200 schools in tempo with excellent offensive efficiency compared to their overall ranks. CU is the 23rd-best offense in the country, per Bart Torvik, and Oregon is 53rd. BT is projecting 146.0 total points in this contest -- a sentiment that DRatings (152.3) and numberFire (141.4) share.

If you’re betting on any NCAA action before March 17th, you can take advantage of FanDuel Sportsbook’s College Basketball Boost Builder. See the promotions page for more information.

Looking for more college basketball betting opportunities? Head over to FanDuel Sportsbook to check out all of the upcoming college basketball odds.

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The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author's advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.