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College Basketball Betting Preview: Two Top-25 Matchups and a Historic Rivalry

Two top-25 battles and a storied rivalry highlight Saturday's NCAA men's basketball best bets.

We have already witnessed three teams earn the No. 1 ranking less than one month into the college basketball season, with Gonzaga, Duke and Purdue garnering that prestigious honor. A potential fourth team could be atop the polls come Monday.

College basketball fans and bettors are certainly looking forward to battles involving top teams around the country heading into conference play!

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SI Betting is here to highlight three games bettors should look to invest in on Saturday. Two involve top-25 battles, while the third includes a storied rivalry that dates to 1930!

Check the Latest Odds at SI Sportsbook

Ohio State's Justin Ahrens and E.J. Liddell

Saturday's College Basketball Best Bets

No. 22 Wisconsin at No. 21 Ohio State

Spread: Wisconsin +4.5 (-110) | Ohio State -4.5 (-110)
Total: 136.5– Over (-110) | Under 136.5 (-110)
Venue: Value City Arena, Columbus, Ohio
Game Info: Saturday. Dec. 11, 2021 | 12 p.m. | Big Ten Network

Editor's Note - Odds are subject to change.

The line has held steady since opening in favor of No. 21 Ohio State (7-2 SU; 4-5 ATS) as a 4.5-point home favorite over No. 22 Wisconsin (8-1 SU; 7-2 ATS) at SI Sportsbook.

The Buckeyes have won three straight but failed to cover as a 14-point favorite in their last game, a 85-74 triumph over Towson. Ohio State started Big Ten play with a 76-64 win over Penn State as a 5.5-point road favorite, and its biggest victory happened Nov. 30 when it beat then-No. 1 Duke, 71-66, as a 3-point home underdogs.

Junior forward E.J. Liddell leads the team in scoring (19.8 ppg), rebounds (7.0 rpg) and blocks (3.1 bpg). Senior guard Jamari Wheeler filled up the stat sheet in the club’s last two victories, and Ohio State will need his experience and leadership on Saturday.

Wisconsin heads into Columbus on a six-game winning streak that has also rewarded bettors with six consecutive ATS cashes. Earlier this week, the Badgers rallied from a 22-point deficit to defeat Indiana as 5-point road favorites.

Sophomore guard Johnny Davis leads the Badgers in scoring (20.5 ppg) and rebounds (6.0 rpg). The dynamic Davis is shooting 40% from beyond the arc, and is the clear key to Wisconsin extending its winning streak to seven. Davis is joined in the backcourt by Senior Brad Davison, who is second in scoring at 15.0 points per game.

Wisconsin has won six of the last 10 meetings both SU and ATS against Ohio State, with the over cashing in seven of those matchups.

BET: Wisconsin +5 (-120)

Alabama's Herbert Jones
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No. 14 Houston at No. 9 Alabama

Spread: Houston +2 (-110) | Alabama -2 (-110)
Total: 142.5– Over (-110) | Under 142.5 (-110)
Venue: Coleman Coliseum, Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Game Info: Saturday Dec. 11, 2021 | 4 p.m. ET | ESPN2

Editor's Note - Odds are subject to change.

The line has held steady since its opening in favor of No. 9 Alabama (7-1 SU; 6-2 ATS) as a 2-point home favorite over No. 14 Houston (8-1 SU; 6-3 ATS) at SI Sportsbook.

The Tide is coming off arguably the biggest upset of the 2021 season after its 91-82 win over No. 5 Gonzaga as a 10-point road underdog. That win boosted Alabama seven spots in the polls, from No. 16 to No. 9. Alabama leads the SEC in scoring offense (86.4) and three pointers (82), thanks to a star backcourt consisting of Jaden Shackelford (19.3 ppg), Jahvon Quinerly (14.9 ppg) and Keon Ellis (12.1 ppg).

Alabama heads home to the friendly confines of Coleman Coliseum , where they have won 14 consecutive games, to face a Houston club that ranks second in the nation in scoring defense at 53.4 points per game. The Cougars have held six opponents to less than 50 points, which has led to a 6-3 ATS mark.

Junior guard Marcus Sasser leads the Cougars' offense in points (17.7), steals (2.6) and three-point shooting (49%). Meanwhile, fellow backcourt teammates Kyler Edwards (13.0 ppg) and Tramon Mark (11.8 ppg) anchor Kelvin Sampson’s squad.

BET: Alabama -2 (-110)

Syracuse Orange guard Buddy Boeheim (35) celebrates with teammate guard Joseph Girard III (11) following the game against the Indiana Hoosiers at the Carrier Dome.

Syracuse at Georgetown

Spread: Syracuse -2.5 (-110) | Georgetown +2.5 (-110)
Total: 156.5– Over (-110) | Under 156.5 (-110)
Venue: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.
Game Info: Saturday Dec. 11, 2021 | 12 p.m. ET | Fox

Editor's Note - Odds are subject to change.

The storied rivalry of two former Big East foes returns on Saturday for the 97th time. The Orange leads the all-time series, 52-44.

The line has slightly increased since opening in favor of Syracuse (5-4 SU; 4-5 ATS) as a 2-point road favorite over Georgetown (4-4 SU; 3-5 ATS) at SI Sportsbook.

Syracuse heads to Washington, D.C., off a 67-53 loss to No. 6 Villanova in the Jimmy V Classic as an 8-point underdog. Head coach Jim Boeheim, second among NCAA men’s coaches in wins (987), now employs both of his sons in the Orange starting five. Buddy Boeheim leads the club in scoring at 17.7 points per game, while Jimmy Boeheim is adding 14.9 points per game and 5.7 rebounds per game.

Syracuse is a well-balanced club, with all five starters averaging double-digit points.

For head coach Patrick Ewing’s Hoyas, Kaiden Rice leads the way in scoring (14.5 ppg) and freshman forward Aminu Mohammed (14.1 ppg, 8.1 rbg) is a key contributor.

The Hoyas are still searching for a notable win heading into Big East play.

BET: Syracuse -2 (-110)


2021 YTD: 2-3 ATS


Our NCAA tournament betting plays yielded major financial success, thanks to Alabama (+220), Illinois (+375) and Georgia Tech (+2500) all delivering conference tournament championship victories in the SEC, Big Ten and ACC, respectively, for all members here at SI Betting!


Frankie Taddeo is a successful high-stakes fantasy football player who created the first-ever DFS program ever offered in a Las Vegas sportsbook. Frankie is SI Betting's Senior Analyst and provides his significant experience and resources in the sports betting scene. You can follow Frankie on Twitter @Frankie_Fantasy for his latest betting and fantasy insights from Las Vegas.

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