Five situational betting spots for Saturday’s college basketball card

LSU guard Javonte Smart celebrates after a score
LSU guard Javonte Smart (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
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Letdowns, lookaheads, sandwich spots and revenge games are angles some handicappers like to target regardless of the sport. Here are our five favorite spots for Saturday’s college basketball betting card.

Remember, these angles are just one tool at a handicapper’s disposal, so we encourage you to consider these plays but not to follow them blindly.

Five situational spots for Saturday

TCU +9.5 vs. Kansas

A buy-low/sell-high spot on the Horned Frogs, who are coming off a bad loss at Oklahoma State. TCU has lost five of its past seven games, going 1-6 ATS in that stretch. But nothing gets a Big 12 team more fired up than to play the Evil Empire of Kansas at home. TCU’s perimeter game and league-leading 3-point attempts should keep it within the number on Saturday. The Jayhawks keep winning but have failed to cover the number in three of their past four games and needed overtime to win in Fort Worth last season. KU travels to West Virginia on Wednesday in a game KenPom projects the Jayhawks to lose. Will they get caught looking ahead on Saturday?

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Miami FL +14.5 at Florida State

Under normal circumstances, Florida State would not overlook in-state rival Miami, but the Seminoles travel to Duke on Monday with the chance to move into second place in the ACC. Miami has lost six of seven and dropped from KenPom No. 88 to 125, but the Hurricanes have also been without leading scorer Chris Lykes and the team’s third-leading scorer Kameron McGusty for the majority of that stretch. Both players could return on Saturday.

“They actually worked out with us (Tuesday),” head coach Jim Larranaga said, via 247 Sports. “Not 100 percent, but getting closer so maybe with (Wednesday’s) rest and (Thursday’s) practice and Friday’s practice, it’s conceivable we’ll have them both back for Saturday.”

Miami has the worst perimeter offense and defense in the ACC, but if Lykes and McGusty are back, we expect some positive regression on both ends as Florida State hopes to just get a win and move on to Duke.

LSU +5.5 at Auburn

While some college basketball analysts associate LSU’s narrow wins this season with luck, I look at it as a team with go-to guards it can rely on in crunch time. So when LSU lost to Vanderbilt on Wednesday, the public was quick to say ‘I told you so,’ but it really was just an outlier performance. LSU will prove it on Saturday by playing angry against an Auburn team that has struggled shooting in conference play, ranking 10th in effective FG% and 13th in 3-point percentage. Auburn has played with fire of late too, going to overtime in two of its past three games, but winning five straight. Auburn also has in-state rival Alabama at home on Wednesday, as it looks to remind the upstart Crimson Tide which school runs the state.

George Washington +9 vs. Rhode Island

This is a classic lookahead spot for the Rams, who travel to Dayton on Tuesday with first place in the A10 on the line. Rhode Island has been playing great over the past month, going 9-0 SU and 7-2 ATS. KenPom projects a 74-65 win for the Rams, but we like the young core of George Washington to fight until the end on its home court as it did against St. Bonaventure and Duquesne.

Something to watch before placing a bet is the status of George Washington point guard Armel Potter, who went down with a hip injury on Jan. 29 and has missed the past two games. Potter leads the team in points, assists, and usage, per KenPom.

USC Upstate +1.5 vs. Gardner Webb

Saturday’s degen special sees KenPom No. 311 USC Upstate getting 1.5 points against Gardner Webb. The Spartans shot 5-of-22 from deep in last month’s 83-67 loss to its Saturday opponent, but this time around Gardner Webb will be without its best player, Jose Perez. The Runnin’ Bulldogs’ wing was named the Preseason Big South Conference Player of the Year by the Blue Ribbon Handbook and was averaging 15.0 ppg and 6.6 rpg. Gardner Webb lost on the road to KenPom No. 334 Presbyterian on Thursday night and faces a quick turnaround against a USC Upstate team hungry to avoid the season sweep for a second consecutive season against the Runnin’ Bulldogs.

MORE: NCAA Tournament odds, top 25 rankings