College Basketball Betting Picks for Saturday 3/9/24

Gabriel Santiago
Gabriel Santiago@gps_onthemic

The college basketball season always provides a flurry of twists and turns that few saw coming -- especially when March Madness 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

No. 10 Creighton at Villanova

Creighton -1.5 (-102)

For a bit of Big East action, we'll first take a look at the Creighton Bluejays visiting the Villanova Wildcats. Tipping off just outside Philadelphia, this one is set for 2:30 p.m. ET.

Creighton has been thoroughly impressive in 2023-24. To this point, the Bluejays have output 81.2 PPG, which is a top-30 figure in college basketball. Conversely, 'Nova has scored just 71.2 PPG. Seemingly, this meeting will be a clash of styles.

Ahead of next week's Big East tournament at Madison Square Garden, the Bluejays are tied (with Marquette) for second in the standings. For the Wildcats, they are further down the chart, sitting in a logjam for fifth place.

Prior to last Christmas, Villanova managed to defeat Creighton in Omaha via overtime. Come this Saturday, I am confident the Bluejays can avenge that loss. Considering Creighton is laying less than two points (-1.5) versus a team they are currently more talented than -- and have outperformed (Creighton is 10th on KenPom while Villanova is 29th) -- I think the 'Jays take care of business on the road.

According to ESPN Analytics, Creighton has a 52.7% chance at victory this weekend in Philly. From there, I am willing to take some risk in wagering that it will be a "win by two" situation for these Bluejays.

No. 14 Kansas at No. 1 Houston

Kansas +9.5 (-110)

As Big 12 regular-season champions for the first time ever, the Houston Cougars are looking to enter the conference tournament with momentum. Before heading to Kansas City's T-Mobile Center as the top seed next week, the Cougs have one final game versus the Kansas Jayhawks.

KU is in Year 21 under head coach Bill Self. Notably, the team has earned two national titles through Self's tenure, but in 2023-24, Kansas is fourth amongst its conference heading into the regular-season finale. With Kansas playing in H-Town on Saturday afternoon (4 p.m. ET), FanDuel Sportsbook has the Jayhawks listed as a 9.5-point underdog against the Cougars.

One month ago, Houston went into Allen Fieldhouse only to get beaten by 13 points -- by far the Cougs' worst loss of the current campaign. Heading to the Lone Star State, that recent win should give confidence to KU on the road.

Seemingly, head coach Kelvin Sampson and UH might be the toughest side in the NCAA, surrendering only 57.3 PPG right now. However, Kansas absolutely has more to play for in this bid. The Jayhawks could still fall out of the Big 12's top-four teams. Should KU drop to No. 5 in the conference, they will start the Big 12 tourney in the second round (March 13) rather than the quarterfinals (March 14).

With the Jayhawks getting 9.5 points, I like KU against the spread (ATS). At numberFire, the game projections echo that same sentiment, yielding an estimated score of 71.59-64.00. This gives Houston a winning margin of 7.59, which presents my side with nearly two points of cushion.

No. 15 Kentucky at No. 4 Tennessee

Kentucky +8.5 (-102)

For a meeting between the Southeastern Conference's premier basketball programs, see here.

To close out the regular season, we'll see the "Battle for the Barrel." The Kentucky Wildcats will make the short drive down Interstate 75 to run with the Tennessee Volunteers. In this batch, do you prefer bourbon or sour mash?

Like Kansas-Houston, Kentucky-Tennessee will also tip off at 4 p.m. ET on Saturday. These two SEC rivals have combined for 46 total wins this year. Additionally, the Volunteers (18.49 nERD) and Wildcats (13.85 nERD) are each inside the top 20 schools at numberFire's by power rankings.

Considering UT has already clinched the SEC Tournament's top seed via winning the regular-season title, they are in prime standing for next week's games at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena. Ahead of Saturday's contest, Kentucky has an opportunity to lock in the second seed for the conference tourney. Naturally, the Wildcats will need to go through the Vols in front of the "Rocky Top Rowdies" for that to happen.

Similar to this weekend's other AP Top-15 clash, I believe UK has a bit more to play for in this bid. That doesn't necessarily mean I think they will win straight up, but with Tennessee having eyes on the SEC tournament and beyond, head coach John Calipari and his Wildcats should not be counted out -- even when playing in Knoxville.

Admittedly, the atmosphere will be tense at Rocky Top, but Kentucky is a better offensive side than UT. Behind 89.7 PPG, Kentucky produced the third-best scoring clip in Division I. The 'Cats check in eighth in adjusted offensive efficiency, compared to the Vols in 20th.

With that in mind, I'll take the 8.5 points (-102 odds) with Calipari's Cats.

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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.