The road to the Final Four has officially begun and teams are starting to prepare for their conference schedules. Here is a look at three college basketball betting games to watch for on Saturday, along with a few picks.
Colorado Buffaloes @ Kansas Jayhawks
Saturday, 2:00 PM ET
Odds: Kansas -11.5
There are a slew of factors working against Colorado ahead of their latest trip to “The Phog”: they have never won in 19 visits to Kansas and the ninth-ranked Jayhawks have won 25 straight at home, which is second to only Syracuse. But beware of the spread if it’s high because the Buffaloes have already taken out a ranked team in Baylor on a neutral court, and they’ve managed to cover in nine of those 19 losses in Lawrence. Colorado guards Askia Booker and Spencer Dinwiddie can be a handful for anyone, and even though they probably won’t win at Kansas, they’ll help Buffalo keep it close.
Pick: Kansas straight up, Colorado +11.5
Temple Owls vs. Duke Blue Devils
Saturday, 3:15 PM ET
Odds: Duke -8
The Owls went nine years without beating the second-ranked Blue Devils before last season’s 78-73 win in Philadelphia, and even though the two are on a neutral court, you’d have to think that Temple (from Philly) would have more fans in New Jersey, although Duke does travel well. Temple has to slow the pace of the game down and not let Duke get into a rhythm because the Blue Devils have been deadly so far in 2012, shooting 48.1% from the field (good for 27th in the country). The Owls also have to shut down Mason Plumlee in the post as he allows Duke to be more efficient and not shoot as many three-points. Still, these Owls are 6-0 and confident, while Duke has had a tough stretch to start the season. Roll with the upset here.
Pick: Temple +8
Illinois Fighting Illini @ Gonzaga Bulldogs
Saturday, 10:00 PM ET
Odds: Gonzaga -11.5
In the only game this weekend that involves two top-25 teams, the #10 Bulldogs should be the favorites at home, where they haven’t lost since January 2011. However, the 13th-ranked Illini have given ‘Zaga trouble in the past, winning four of their last five matchups since 2001, and they’ve covered in all five meetings as well. The Illini have to figure out a way to get a hand in the face of Gonzaga shooters as the Bulldogs shoot the best field-goal percentage in the country. But the Illini get down, they can get back into any game as no team in the country hits more three-pointers than Illinois, and when they get hot, they can bury a team. The Bulldogs have lost just seven of their last 117 games at home, but one of those losses came to Illinois back in December of 2010. Some programs just have the number of another program, and the Illini will continue their strange jinx over the Bulldogs with a NCAA basketball betting upset on the road to show that they’re for real.
Pick: Illinois +11.5