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NCAA Men's College Basketball Bets and Odds for Saturday's Top-25 Matchups

Bets and analysis for Saturday's four men's college basketball matchups featuring top-25 matchups.

There’s no shortage of top-25 teams taking the court Saturday as the men’s college basketball season draws to a close. Nineteen ranked teams are in action with four games taking place between two ranked opponents.

I previewed and offered picks for each of those matchups to prepare you for this potentially pivotal weekend of college hoops.

There’s two top-25 clashes taking place in the SEC between No. 6 Kentucky and No. 18 Arkansas, as well as a game between No. 3 Auburn and No. 17 Tennessee.

In the Big 12, No. 5 Kansas takes on No. 10 Baylor and out west in the late game, top-ranked Gonzaga wraps up its regular season schedule with No. 23 St. Mary’s.

Season record: 28-31-1

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Arkansas guard JD Notae celebrates after the team's 82-74 win over Florida in an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2022, in Gainesville, Fla.

No. 6 Kentucky (23-5, 12-3 SEC) vs. No. 18 Arkansas (22-6, 11-4 SEC)

Time: 2 p.m. ET | CBS
Spread: Kentucky +2 (-110) | Arkansas -2 (-110)
Moneyline: Kentucky (+110) | Arkansas (-143)
Over/Under: Under 147 (-110) | Over 147 (-118)

The Wildcats won their last two games at home following a road loss to Tennessee two weeks ago. UK goes back on the road this weekend in the hyper-competitive SEC to take on a hot Arkansas team that’s pushing Kentucky and first-place Auburn for the best record in the conference. The Razorbacks enter Saturday on a three-game winning streak that includes a 10-point win against Tennessee a week ago.

Kentucky prides itself on its stellar offense, which averages better than 80 PPG and is ranked third in adjusted offensive efficiency on KenPom. Arkansas’ strength is its defense, which held the Volunteers to 48 points last week, though the Hogs are more than capable of putting up points in bunches with JD Notae leading the way.

What’s At Stake: Kentucky can regain its status as a projected No. 1 seed with a win over Arkansas, especially with the five teams ranked ahead of the Wildcats all facing tough opponents this weekend. And Arkansas, a projected No. 6 seed, can continue its climb if it scores a third win against a ranked opponent in as many weeks.

Moneyline or Spread Pick: Arkansas Moneyline

Few teams are as hot as Arkansas right now. The Razorbacks are 12-1 in their last 13 games with their sole loss coming by a single point. They’re also a tough out at home, having dropped one game all season at Bud Walton Arena, the same place they toppled Auburn a few weeks ago. The Wildcats' three SEC losses have all come on the road at the hands of ranked opponents. That trend continues Saturday afternoon.

Over/Under Pick: Over 147

Both teams have their go-to scorers—for Kentucky it’s Oscar Tshiebwe and for Arkansas it’s Notae—but the Wildcats and Razorbacks also have capable scorers beyond their star players who will see to it that this is a high-scoring affair. Arkansas games go over just more than half the time and they’ve hit the over on games with totals set as high as 158.5. Both teams approach 80 in a close one.

Tennessee's Zakai Zeigler, center, passes the ball away from Missouri's Amari Davis (1), Ronnie DeGray III, right, and Kobe Brown during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2022, in Columbia, Mo.

No. 3 Auburn (25-3, 13-2 SEC) vs. No. 17 Tennessee (20-7, 11-4)

Time: 4 p.m. ET | ESPN
Spread: Auburn +3.5 (-110) | Tennessee -3.5 (-110)
Moneyline: Auburn (+138) | Tennessee (-188)
Over/Under: Under .5 (-110) | Over .5 (-110)

After losing once in its first 23 games, the Tigers have now lost two of their last five. Auburn is still atop the SEC, though, and is coming off a win against Ole Miss after falling to Florida last week. The Volunteers return to Tennessee after a 19-point road win against Missouri on Tuesday. UT has not lost at home this season.

Auburn has one of the nation’s top-scoring offenses, led by projected lottery pick Jabari Smith, and its defense is incredibly disruptive with Walker Kessler swatting nearly five shots per game. Tennessee survives with a lower-scoring offense and a defense that makes life incredibly difficult for its opponents, swiping nearly 10 steals per game and holding them to a low field-goal percentage.

What’s At Stake: Kentucky, Arkansas and Tennessee are all bearing down on Auburn for the best record in the conference due to the Tigers’ recent slip-ups. Still, Auburn remains a projected 1 seed and another victory against a ranked opponent could solidify that spot. Tennessee is a projected No. 3 seed that could bolster its resume with a second top-five win in two weeks.

Moneyline or Spread Pick: Auburn +3.5

The Tigers are an underdog for just the third time all season and I love them in this spot getting 3.5 points. Despite being such a frequent favorite, Auburn has one of the best ATS records and should keep this game in Knoxville close–if it doesn’t win outright. The Volunteers are more than capable of beating the Tigers, especially this version that has appeared vulnerable, but I see this game being tight and low-scoring.

Over/Under Pick: Under 139.5

Auburn has only cracked 80 points once in its last five games and put up just 62 last week against the Gators. Tennessee’s defense is more than capable of keeping them in the 60s—it’s held its last six opponents under 70 points. The Vols have had a few scoring outbursts lately but the Tigers should be able to keep them in check as well.

Baylor forward Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua (23) looks to shoot under pressure from Kansas State forward Carlton Linguard Jr. (12) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2022, in Manhattan, Kan.

No. 5 Kansas (23-4, 12-2 Big 12) vs. No. 10 Baylor (23-5, 11-4)

Time: 8 p.m. | ESPN
Spread: Kansas +3 (-110) | Baylor -3 (-110)
Moneyline: Kansas (+138) | Baylor (-188)
Over/Under: Under 150 (-110) | Over 150 (-110)

The Jayhawks have won four straight after going 3-2 during a brutal five-game stretch exclusively against top-25 opponents at the end of January and into February. Kansas defeated Baylor earlier this month, 83-59, in a statement win and now draws the Bears on the road. Baylor is 4-1 since its loss to KU and narrowly outlasted Oklahoma State on Monday in overtime, 66-64. The Bears began the season 15-0 and are 8-5 since.

Ochai Agbaji leads the Big 12 in scoring at 20.2 PPG, accounting for a big chunk of Kansas’ 80 PPG as a team. Baylor has one of the stingiest scoring defenses and grades out well on offense and defense with top-15 marks on KenPom by both metrics.

What’s At Stake: Kansas appears entrenched as a No. 1 seed but remaining games against Baylor and No. 20 Texas, which won the first meeting between the two teams, could threaten that standing. Baylor is a projected 2 seed and a 1 seed isn’t off the table. Moving up would, of course, require evening up the series with the Jayhawks.

Moneyline or Spread Pick: Kansas +3

The Jayhawks getting points against a team they beat by 24 earlier this month? Sign me up. Kansas has momentum heading into this meeting, where Baylor just barely survived an overtime scare with the below-.500 Cowboys. This is the first game KU hasn't been favored in all season and I'm jumping at the opportunity to pick them with some insurance.

Over/Under Pick: Under 150

Baylor shot below 30% from the field in the last meeting when these teams combined for 142 points. The Bears likely won't have such a poor shooting outing again, but it's also fair to expect Baylor's defense to be able to do a little more to limit Kansas. Baylor held four of its last five opponents to fewer than 65 points.

Gonzaga center Chet Holmgren (34) shoots against San Francisco forward Josh Kunen, left, during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in San Francisco, Calif., Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022.

No. 1 Gonzaga (23-2, 12-0 WCC) vs. No. 23 St. Mary’s (22-6, 10-3)

Time: 10 p.m. | ESPN
Spread: Gonzaga -10.5 (-110) | St. Mary’s +10.5 (-110)
Moneyline: Gonzaga (+) | St. Mary’s (-)
Over/Under: Under 144 (-118) | Over 144 (-110)

Saturday is the season finale for the top-ranked Bulldogs. Gonzaga is riding a 17-game winning streak and has yet to lose in 2022—its last loss came on Dec. 4. St. Mary’s lost to the Zags 74-58 on the road a few weeks ago and now hosts the WCC's top team. 

The Gaels won three straight and rely on a strong defense, ranked 10th on KenPom, that held Gonzaga to its third-lowest point total. The Bulldogs have a chokehold on the best scoring margin in DI, outsourcing opponents by an average of 25 PPG. They average a hair under 90 PPG and have gone over 100 points several times.

What’s At Stake: Gonzaga is the top overall seed and that won’t change if it completes a second straight undefeated season in conference play on Saturday. Even if the Bulldogs fall, they are locked into a 1 seed and were unanimously ranked the top team in the country in the latest AP Poll. St. Mary’s gets a second shot at the Goliath in its conference before the tournament where it’s projected to be a 6 seed. That could change depending on how close the Gaels play the Zags.

Moneyline or Spread Pick: Gonzaga -10.5

Gonzaga’s closest game since its last loss was a 12-point win against Santa Clara. The Bulldogs don’t let teams hang around—they sure didn’t in their 16-point win against the Gaels a few weeks ago. Gonzaga’s offense is too much for any team to hang with, much less a St. Mary’s team that isn’t going to go blow for blow with an offense capable of going for 100 points on any given night. The Bulldogs head into the WCC Tournament on a high note.

Over/Under Pick: Over 144

Surprisingly, Gonzaga games stay under more than half the time even with their nation-best offense. This line is several points lower than the mid-150s and even low 160s that usually accompany Zags games, which is why I'm comfortable taking the over. The first meeting between these teams amounted to just 132 points. I don't think St. Mary's limits the Bulldogs as well as they did the first time around and maybe the Gaels add more on offense than they did in the that meeting.

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