Welcome to the first edition of our college basketball gambling picks column. Each week, I’ll be offering my favorite picks against the spread on the loaded college basketball slate. In this first edition, I like four home teams including a couple of squads coming off really ugly losses that most of the public will bet against, but show signs that they are poised for a bounce-back game.
Villanova (+1.5) vs. Kansas, 12:00 p.m. FS1
A big story in college basketball so far this year is that there’s no truly elite teams. I believe this to be true, and while Kansas looks like the best team in the country, they still have plenty of flaws and haven’t faced a team as good as Villanova since their season opening loss to Duke. The Wildcats will look to take the ball out of Devin Dotson’s hands, and I don’t believe the Jayhawks other perimeter players can score enough to pull out the win. The Wells Fargo Center will be on fire to host the number one team in the country, and I like the more balanced Nova attack to take care of business at home.
Providence (+1) vs. Texas, 2:00 p.m. FOX
No one is rushing to the window with a Providence ticket right now, as the Friars are off to a rough 6-6 start and fresh off an 83-51 blowout loss to Florida on Tuesday night. So why are they only a one point underdog against the 9-1 Longhorns? For starters, this is just Texas’s second true road game of the year, and while they did defeat Purdue in West Lafayette, the Longhorns have not been a good road team under Shaka Smart, including a 2-8 record on the road last season. Second, the Longhorns have been struggling to find their rhythm on offense, shooting just 44% from the field and 34% from three as a team so far this season. They’re heading into a tough environment to face some really good guards in the Dunkin’ Donuts center on Saturday, and I like Providence to pull out a much needed marquee victory at home.
St. Louis (+1) vs. Kansas State, 6:00 p.m. ESPN+
These are two very tough basketball teams that get after it on the defensive end. However, they both lack consistent offense so this looks like it’ll be a rock fight where the first team to 50 wins. To me, the Billikens are the easy pick here as they are at home and their duo of Jordan Goodwin and Hasahn French are both averaging double doubles and more reliable scorers than any of their Kansas State counterparts.
Arizona St. (-3) vs. Creighton, 8:30 p.m. Pac-12 Network
I’m glad I wasn’t in the Arizona State locker room on Wednesday night after the Sun Devils loss to St. Mary’s, and I can only imagine how tough Bobby Hurley’s practices were leading up to this game. It was shocking to see such a poor effort by the Sun Devils and a particularly bad performance for star guard Remy Martin. No one wants to bet the Sun Devils after that game, especially as a favorite. However, Vegas knows that, and I think they set this line knowing that they’ll get a lot of Creighton money, so the sharp money will be on Arizona St. While the Blue Jays are playing some good ball and have a pair of star guards in Marcus Zegarowski and Ty’Shon Alexander, Greg McDermott’s teams typically struggle on the road. I think we see a much better effort out of Arizona St in this one, and they’ll do enough to keep it close or win.