UNC, Texas Plus Another College Hoops Bet For February 4

Now that football is in the rearview, college basketball will take up a bigger chunk of my gambling bankroll. Saturday's college hoops slate is STACKED with several conference showdowns.

My three college basketball betting looks Saturday are in a rematch of a Big XII shootout from earlier this season, the rivalry on Tobacco Road and West Coast nightcap between two ranked teams.

No. 10 Texas Longhorns (18-4) at No. 7 Kansas State Wildcats (18-4), 4 p.m. ET

College basketball guru, Ken Pom, and Sports Reference says Texas is 3.5 to 4 points better than Kansas State on a neutral floor. Ken Pom gives the Wildcats a +3.6 bump for home-court.

But, I'm siding with DraftKings Sportsbook who has the Longhorns as a 1-point road favorite as of early Saturday afternoon. Per VSIN, more than 85% of the money is on the Wildcats at the time of writing.

This means Kansas State has become a public 'dog, which tend to get slaughtered by sportsbooks. Typically, the public bets favorites so it's rare when the oddsmakers are rooting for the better team.

Most of the public is betting Kansas State for obvious reasons. Texas fired its coach earlier this season, the Wildcats routed the Longhorns 116-103 in Austin last month, and Kansas State is ranked higher.

However, I prefer to fade the masses and bank on the more experienced Texas team adjusting its defensive game plan. The Wildcats hit 60.0% of their shots vs. the Longhorns.

There is no way a defense as good as Texas's will allow Kansas State to get that hot from the field again. Also, the Longhorns are 25th in defensive turnover rate (TOV%) and the Wildcats are 226th in offensive TOV%.

If Texas can force turnovers and get Kansas State's offense out of rhythm then the Longhorns will get revenge for that double-digit Wildcats' blowout in January.

College Hoops Best Bet #1: Texas moneyline (-115) at DraftKings Sportsbook, up to -125 before laying up to -2 on the Longhorns

North Carolina Tar Heels (15-7) at Duke Blue Devils (16-6), 6 p.m. ET

This is the most storied rivalry in college hoops but it's been one-sided since 2021. The Tar Heels are 4-1 straight up (SU) and against the spread (ATS) in their last five meetings with the Blue Devils.

UNC upset Duke in 94-81 in legendary coach Mike Krzyzewski's final game at Cameron Indoor Stadium. The Tar Heels eliminated the Blue Devils in the Elite Eight of last year's NCAA Tournament.

Neither team is meeting preseason expectations entering this game. North Carolina is just 7-14-1 ATS and 4-6-1 ATS in ACC games this season. While Duke is 8-14 ATS and 2-9 ATS in conference play.

The Tar Heels had their 4-game winning streak snapped their last time out in 65-64 home loss to Pittsburgh. The Blue Devils have won back-to-back games at Georgia Tech and vs. Wake Forest.

My look in this game is NORTH CAROLINA PLUS THE POINTS because of UNC's continuity, experience, ball security and ability to get to the charity stripe.

All five of UNC's starters are upperclassmen. North Carolina returned 71.2% of the scoring from last year's team, which went to the national championship, according to Sports Reference.

The Blue Devils returned 11.5% of their scoring and this is the 1st year of the post-Coach K era. Duke lost four starters from last year's team to the NBA.

The Tar Heels are 18th in offensive turnover rate (TOV%), according to Ken Pom. The Blue Devils are 162nd in offensive TOV%. Also, UNC is averaging the 5th-most free throw attempts per game nationally.

Duke is 205th in offensive FT/FGA rate, per Ken Pom. The Tar Heels are hitting seven more free throws per game than the Blue Devils (16.0-8.8) over their last five meetings.

College Hoops Best Bet #2: North Carolina +3 (-110) at DraftKings Sportsbook, down to +2

No. 12 Gonzaga Bulldogs (19-4) at No. 18 Saint Mary's Gaels (20-4), 10:30 p.m. ET

The only reason Gonzaga is ranked higher than Saint Mary's is because the Bulldogs were No. 2 in the AP preseason poll and the Gaels were unranked. Otherwise, Saint Mary's are clearly the better team.

This is just the 2nd time Gonzaga has been an underdog since 2019. The 1st was early this year when the Bulldogs visited the Texas Longhorns and got smacked 93-74 as 2-point road 'dogs.

Gonzaga is just 7-14-1 ATS this season with a -3.5 ATS margin and Saint Mary's is 15-8 ATS with a +4.2 ATS margin. The Gaels have a better SRS, per Sports Reference, which blends points per game differential and strength of schedule.

Saint Mary's is the right side because it has a much better defense and everyone is going to bet Gonzaga as underdogs. DraftKings is reporting via VSIN that nearly 70% of the action is on the Bulldogs at the time of writing.

Gonzaga is 19th in 3-point percentage and 9th in 2-point percentage. Saint Mary's is 51st in defensive 3-point shooting, 35th in defensive 3-point-attempt rate (3PAr) allowed and 10th in defensive 2-point shooting.

Gaels big Mitchell Saxen has the size and paint presence to neutralize Bulldogs big Drew Timme. Saxen has a higher offensive and defensive rebounding rate than Timme and a higher block rate.

The Bulldogs on the other hand are just 242nd in defensive 3-point shooting and 208th in 3PAr. So not only does Gonzaga allow a bunch of shots but opponents are getting good enough looks to punish the Bulldogs.

Saint Mary's sharpshooting guards Alex Ducas and Aidan Mahaney, both of whom shoot better than 43% from behind the arc, are going to light up Gonzaga's soft 3-point defense.

College Hoops Best Bet #3: Saint Mary's -3 (-110) at DraftKings, up to -3.5