College Basketball Best Bets Today (1/27/24): Expert Picks & Predictions

Find college basketball best bets and expert picks for the Saturday slate, featuring analysis of Kansas vs. Iowa State, Missouri vs. South Carolina, Pittsburgh vs. Miami, and Ole Miss vs. Texas A&M.

College Basketball Best Bets Record 6-1 (+4.9 units)

Kansas Jayhawks at Iowa State Cyclones

Kansas has struggled away from Lawrence this season, going 2-2 straight up in true road games including two eye-opening losses to UCF (69th) and West Virginia (136th), both of whom rank outside the top 65 teams in the country per KenPom’s metrics. Now, they have to travel to Ames, Iowa in one of the toughest places to play in the country.

Iowa State has gone 12-0 at home this season, including 3-0 in non conference play. They recently knocked off Houston, the top team in the country by many advanced metrics at home. The Cyclones have a suffocating defense ranked 3rd in adjusted efficiency per KenPom and they have forced a 26.6% turnover rate, the highest in the country.

Kansas runs its offense through the post with Hunter Dickinson, but Iowa State has an excellent interior defense and allows opponents to shoot just 24.4% of their attempts from near proximity, the second-lowest rate in the country per Haslametrics. Inserting guard Johnny Furphy into the starting lineup has helped Kansas somewhat, but this is still a team overly reliant on Dickinson and Kevin McCullar Jr., its top two scorers.

Iowa State’s offense isn’t elite – they rank outside the top 45 in adjusted efficiency and eFG% per KenPom. However, they get to the free throw line at a top 25 clip and could force Kansas into foul trouble. That would be a huge problem for a Jayhawks team that ranks 355th in bench minutes and has a lack of reliable depth.

Iowa State has simply been the better team over the past two months, ranking 5th in BARTHAG since the beginning of December while Kansas ranks 21st. BARTHAG measures a team’s expected winning percentage against an average team. I’m betting on the Cyclones’ elite home-court advantage and stifling defense holding serve on Saturday.

Best Bet: Iowa State -3.5

Missouri Tigers at South Carolina Gamecocks

South Carolina is coming off a statement win for the program with their home upset over 6th-ranked Kentucky. However, I believe that win said more about the status of an underwhelming Kentucky defense than it did about the long-term direction of the Gamecocks, and I’m looking to fade them in this spot.

South Carolina’s offense has been ugly in conference play as they have a 48.8% eFG% and 19.2% turnover rate against SEC opponents. Both would be well below the national average. Senior guard Meechie Johnson, the team’s leading scorer, has disappeared in some conference games, including a against Missouri earlier this year where he had the same number of points and turnovers – 5.

Missouri has struggled against top competition this season, going 2-9 against Quad 1 and 2 teams and 0-6 in conference play. However, they do have some looming positive regression as they rank as one of the most unlucky teams in the country per KenPom. They’ve gone 1-4 in games decided by 6 or fewer points, including a loss in overtime to South Carolina earlier this season.

We should expect a slower-paced game here as both teams rank in the bottom 20 teams in the country in adjusted tempo, and that only makes the underdog more appealing. Haslametrics makes the spread for this game around -3 for South Carolina while ShotQuality has it around 2. In addition to the letdown spot, it’s also a look ahead with a huge trip to Knoxville on deck to take on a surging Tennessee team. Buy the ugly dog here.

Best Bet: Missouri +6.5

Pittsburgh Panthers at Miami Hurricanes

We’re always looking to buy low and sell high in college basketball, and I believe this is a great spot to do so. Miami has had a disappointing season after making the Final Four last year, and they now sit just 13-6 on the season. Jim Laranaga’s veteran group must play with a real level of urgency moving forward if they want to avoid missing out on the NCAA Tournament altogether.

Norchad Omier returned in the team’s win over Notre Dame, and he had a dominant 33-point outing. The Hurricanes also boast two proficient outside shooters in Wooga Poplar and Nijel Pack who have led Miami to 39.1% shooting from deep overall, which ranks 11th in the country. That’s a real issue for Pitt who struggles to run opponents off the three-point line.

Against Quad 1 and 2 teams this season, Pitt has allowed 40.8% from 3-point range, which ranks 247th in the country per BartTorvik. Meanwhile, Miami has a top 20 offensive efficiency and eFG% against those same teams. If the Canes play to their potential, an 80-point outing should be in the cards against this questionable Pitt defense.

Pitt recently slayed the dragon with an impressive road win against 12th-ranked Duke, and their shooters got red hot making 50% of their threes. I doubt that’s repeatable in what’s set to be their third straight road game, and this is a natural letdown spot for the Panthers. Miami is 2-4 in their last six games, but they’re trending up in health, and at full strength they’re the significantly better team in this matchup.

Best Bet: Miami -3.5

Ole Miss Rebels at Texas A&M Aggies

Texas A&M sits at just 12-7 this season, but they’ve played a top ten strength of schedule by ESPN’s BPI. They had a brutal non conference schedule that included games against Houston, Iowa State, and Florida Atlantic, three top 30 teams per KenPom’s rankings. The Aggies already have 11 games against Quad 1 and 2 teams under their belt.

Meanwhile, Ole Miss enters this game at 16-3, but it’s easy to poke holes in their resume. They were 13-0 in non-conference play, but their non-conference strength of schedule ranked 275th per BPI. They only played two true road games before SEC play began, and they’ve since lost to Tennessee, LSU, and Auburn by an average of 19.3 points per game on the road.

Matchup wise, Texas A&M has a few key advantages. The Aggies hit the glass harder than just about anyone, and they lead the country with a 43.7% offensive rebounding rate. Ole Miss is 332nd in defensive rebounding, so we should see Texas A&M generate plenty of second chance points with the benefit of extra possessions.

The Aggies also have one of the best pure scorers in the country in Wade Taylor IV, who has averaged 23.5 points per game in conference play. He’s often been a one-man wrecking crew for this offense, but I believe positive regression is coming for a team shooting just 26.5% from 3-point range. Texas A&M ranks 45th in shot selection per ShotQuality, and those quality looks they’re generating should start to fall with more regularity.

I’ve had this spot circled all week to play Texas A&M, and both of these teams were featured in my buy low, sell high report for Lineups. If you’d rather run a ML parlay with Texas A&M and a different team on Saturday, I can’t fault you for that. I understand that this is a hefty spread. However, I have confidence in the Aggies making a statement with a dominant home win here.

Best Bet: Texas A&M -7.5

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I've been a huge sports fan for as long as I can remember and I've always loved writing. In 2020, I joined the Lineups team, and I've been producing written and video content on football and basketball ever since. In May 2021, I graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in sport management. My goal is to tell enthralling stories and provide meaningful insight on the sports I write about while helping you cash some bets along the way.

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