College Basketball Best Bets for Saturday, January 7, 2023

My last post for college basketball was a complete disaster. I had taken some time away from it to focus on the Bowl games for college football and then came back and promptly provided four losers. I never claim to win everything, but I also don't take losing lightly. I want to be correct, to me it is more about that than the money. With the amount of time I put into this, being right is my goal. Let's try and get right today.

Wisconsin vs. Illinois, 1:30 ET

I always start with this little disclaimer when I'm talking about an Illinois school in detail: I cannot bet on these games with an in-state app. It is a dumb rule - but I feel like it is something I should disclose to a reader. Yes, I have an offshore book, and I can use that. Anyway, let's start with Illinois. So far their season has been a bit all over the place. They beat UCLA then lost to Virginia. They lost to 22nd-ranked Maryland, then beat number 2-ranked Texas. Over their last eight games, they've alternated wins and losses. The team is not functioning very well right now. They were embarrassed by Northwestern in their last game which happened Wednesday (and I was wrong about thinking Illinois would coast in that game). Now they take on a Wisconsin team that is 11-2 and first in the Big Ten. They are currently riding a six-game winning streak and look to push it to seven against conference rivals. I understand this game is in Illinois, but I think the wrong team is favored. At the very least, Illinois shouldn't be favored by this many points. I do think Illinois defense is a hair better than Wisconsin's, and their rebounding might be better. Those are two large factors in a game, but one of their starters, Skyy Clark, has left the team and while he isn't their best player it does cause some holes in the rotation. I'll grab Wisconsin +6.5 here and honestly, wouldn't be surprised to see them win outright against a struggling Illinois squad. I do think it is really important to mention that Tyler Wahl might not play in this game. If he is ruled in, expect the line to move in Wisconsin's favor.

Syracuse vs. Virginia, 5:00 ET

If we are solely going by who is playing better right now, I would tell you that you need to take Syracuse in this game, and that might be a good side to play here, but I am looking more at the over 126. If you follow college basketball, you know that Syracuse is known for a tough zone defense year in and year out. For whatever reason, people still seem to struggle against it despite having played against it most of their lives. This year, Syracuse is allowing 69.1 points to opponents. That's fairly high, and their offense is putting up a productive 75 points per game. They've been pretty hot too their past five games winning four of them and averaging 79 points. The totals in those games have flown over the posted total in this one. Virginia is likely the reason this game has such a low total. They are allowing just 59 points per game to opponents. They haven't been great lately, but they have held all of their past five opponents to under 70 points in a game. Four of those past five games have hit 130 or more. Syracuse can score, and it won't be an easy game for Virginia to stop the offense completely. I'll take the over. I might grab the 12 points with Syracuse in this one too, if it does go under, you're basically saying that they will hold Syracuse to around 56 points that's just 28 points per half. Seems possible, but not likely.

There are a few other smaller leans that I have for today and I'll share those with you here: I think Arkansas and Auburn go over the 140.5 total that they have in their game. Both teams can score and it will probably be a bit of a faster-paced game. I like TCU to cover their game against Iowa State. Both squads are good, but TCU has played very well recently and played well at home. They just beat a tough Baylor team on the road so I think they are in better form as well.

For more sports betting information and plays, follow David on Twitter: @futureprez2024