Saturday CBB Picks: Ride with Miami, Arkansas, Louisville on spread bets

We have reached the point of the college basketball season where I have discovered a handful of teams that I love betting on.

Miami, Arkansas and a handful of other teams have been cash cows for me over the last two weeks and I'm going back right to them for the loaded Saturday slate.

Most of my Saturday focus will be on the Big 12-SEC Challenge, which has a tremendous set of matchups throughout the day, and the ACC, where Duke, Miami, North Carolina and Florida State are all in action.

The ACC regular-season title race is going in the favor of my Miami futures bet from a few weeks ago and it could take another turn in the right direction if an upset happens in Louisville.

I'm not that bold to bet Louisville on the money line, but I do think the Cardinals get the afternoon started with a home cover against Duke.

Saturday CBB Picks

LSU (-3) at TCU (Noon ET, ESPN2)

LSU ranks in the Top 10 in six different defensive metrics on KenPom.

Even during their recent three-game losing streak, the Tigers gave up more than 65 points once.

LSU opens the Big 12-SEC Challenge against a TCU side that ranks 303rd in three-point shooting and 316th in free-throw shooting on KenPom.

If the clash in Fort Worth is close because of both defenses, the Tigers have the better shot at closing out a victory and the free-throw line could be the big difference-maker.

Miami (-2.5) at Georgia Tech (Noon ET, ACC Network)

I've been all over Miami for the last few weeks since I took the 'Canes at +1000 to win the ACC regular-season title.

Miami is in the driver's seat to capture that crown after its win over Virginia Tech and Florida State's loss to Georgia Tech on Wednesday.

Miami is 4-1 against the spread in its last five games. It won road games at Duke and Virginia Tech and lost by Florida State by one in Tallahassee during that stretch.

Georgia Tech used up all of its upset magic at home against FSU on Wednesday. The Yellow Jackets lost five of their last seven games, with the other win coming over struggling Boston College.

Duke at Louisville (+6) (Noon ET, ESPN)

If Louisville has any fight left, it will be on display against Duke.

The Cardinals fired Chris Mack during the week. Mike Pegues took over as the interim coach and Saturday's game at the Yum! Center is the first one with him in charge.

Louisville could get a boost from the interim coach, and on top of that, it should play with some extra juice with Duke in town.

Duke should win this game, but I was not overly impressed with it at home against Clemson on Tuesday. Louisville is a frisky underdog and it should keep the contest close.

Saint Louis (-6) at Duquense (2 p.m. ET, ESPN+)

Duquense comes into Saturday on a four-game losing streak in which it scored 62 points or less on three occasions.

The Dukes have not covered as an underdog since January 8, while Saint Louis has three double-digit victories in its last four contests.

Duquense ranks 327th in three-point defense and 310th in two-point offense. Neither of those factors are promising for a cover, or an outright win, at home against the Billikens.

NC State at North Carolina (Over 150) (2 p.m. ET, ACC Network)

North Carolina and NC State both average over 74 points per game and they give up above 71 points per contest.

The Tar Heels scored over 75 points in two of their last three games inside the Smith Center, while NC State conceded over 80 points to Duke, Purdue, Miami and Florida State.

The Wolfpack have not played great defense against the best teams on their schedule and I expect that trend to continue into Saturday.

Missouri at Iowa State (-9) (2 p.m. ET, ESPNU)

Missouri expended a ton of energy at home on Tuesday in its upset bid of No. 1 Auburn.

The Tigers now face a tough road test in the Big 12-SEC Challenge inside Hilton Coliseum.

Iowa State's defense could suffocate the Mizzou offense in the same manner in which some of the Tigers' SEC opponents have.

Missouri lost by double figures on the road against Alabama, Arkansas and Kentucky, and it fell by 25 points at Illinois.

The Cyclones have gone through the gauntlet of Big 12 play over the last few weeks and they could use a big win over a weak SEC side to get back on track heading into February.

West Virginia at Arkansas (-8.5) (2 p.m. ET, ESPN2)

Now is not the time to get off the Muss Bus.

Arkansas is on a five-game winning streak and it has covered in four of those contests.

The Razorbacks are 11-1 straight up at home this season and they face a West Virginia side that gave up over 70 points in four straight losses, three of which were by double figures to Kansas, Baylor and Texas Tech.

West Virginia just does not have the talent to compete with the top programs this season and that should show in Fayetteville.

Virginia Tech at Florida State (-2.5) (3 p.m. ET, ABC)

Sound the Alarm!

We have a bounce-back spot!

Florida State suffered a tough road loss to Georgia Tech on Wednesday and it needs to bounce back with a win over Virginia Tech.

The Hokies are 1-7 ATS in their last eight games and they have three road losses of five points or more in ACC play. Two of those results were dropped against Duke and North Carolina, who sit in the top tier of the ACC standings with Florida State.

Miami (Ohio) at Eastern Michigan (Over 141.5) (3 p.m. ET, ESPN+)

Miami (Ohio) averages 77.2 points per game and gives up 71.3 points per contest.

Eastern Michigan scores at a 71.1 point-per-game clip and it allows 74.1 points per contest.

Both teams shoot over 43 percent from the field and neither squad should be overwhelmed by the other in the mid-standings MAC contest.

Baylor at Alabama (Under 150.5) (4 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Defense travels.

That's my thought process for the Baylor-Alabama game.

Baylor has one of the best defenses in the country and it can slow down the Crimson Tide's fast-paced offense powered by the ninth-ranked two-point offense.

The Bears can make this an ugly game in the 60s.

I get why the total is set so high because Alabama and Baylor can both score at a high clip at times, but 150.5 is too high for a clash that will be controlled by defense in some stretches.

Arkansas Little Rock at Appalachian State (-10.5) (4 p.m. ET, ESPN+)

Arkansas Little Rock carries some atrocious defensive metrics.

UALR ranks beneath No. 300 in effective field goal, two-point and three-point defense on KenPom.

That's not an ideal set of numbers to have going into a matchup with one of the best teams in the Sun Belt.

Appalachian State is on a five-game winning streak and a four-game covering streak. The Mountaineers should have their way with the Trojans and their poor defense.

Oral Roberts (-6.5) at Denver (4 p.m. ET)

Denver has not played well against the best teams in the Summit League.

The Pioneers have an average margin of defeat of 14.6 points to go along with their 1-5 record against the top five teams in the conference standings.

Oral Roberts defeated Denver by 17 points in their first meeting and we could see a similar dominant performance out of the Golden Eagles.

Kent State at Bowling Green (Over 145.5) (5 p.m. ET, ESPN+)

Bowling Green overs have become an automatic bet for me.

The Falcons are on a 10-game over streak and they should easily get into the 70s against Kent State.

Kent State is coming off a 75-point performance against Western Michigan and its offense should have some fun against a Bowling Green defense that allows 77.8 points per game.

Kentucky at Kansas (Over 153) (6 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Kansas and Kentucky rank third and fourth in offensive adjusted efficiency and they both rank inside the Top 25 in two-point percentage on KenPom.

Both offenses average over 80 points per game and shoot above 49 percent from the field .

All of those numbers should cancel out any type of defense and lead to the over hitting in the marquee matchup of the evening.

Bellarmine at Florida Gulf Coast (-2.5) (7 p.m. ET, ESPN+)

Florida Gulf Coast played well in its home games in Atlantic Sun play.

FGCU beat Eastern Kentucky and Mercer and only lost by three points to Liberty in Fort Myers.

The Eagles can add Bellarmine to the list of teams they beat at home by taking advantage of Bellarmine's 357th-ranked two-point defense.

Albany (-108) at NJIT (7 p.m. ET, ESPN+)

NJIT is on a four-game slide.

Albany won four of its last five games and plays slightly better defense than its America East opponent.

Both teams do not have great offensive numbers, so I'm going with the squad in better form on a tight line.

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