By Justin Mark, SGPN College Basketball Handicapper
With football in the books, we turn our attention to college basketball, which holds great interest for fans in the tradition-rich hotbed of Philadelphia.
With the season moving into its final stages, I’m currently ranked eighth in college basketball picks per the tracking website Tallysight.com. We’ll try to keep the positive results from the NFL season going with picks of interest involving our local teams. Find all of Sports Gambling Podcast Network’s college basketball picks here. (Point spreads are estimated as of Thursday and dates and times are as published at Thursday’s deadline).
#19 Creighton @ Villanova (+8) Saturday, 12pm on FOX
The last time these two teams met, Villanova was on the road at Creighton and only lost by five. They were ten-point underdogs that game and I expect it to be close this weekend. These teams have played each other tight the last two times and we should see more of that. I like Nova to cover any spread over +6.5 points, even if they don’t win the game. This game could come down to the last minutes so I’ll stick with the team shooting 82.4% free throws (Nova).
La Salle (+3) @ George Washington Saturday, 6pm on ESPN+
At the beginning of this month, La Salle won this game straight-up, even though they were the underdog. Their last trip to the Colonials’ home court was February of 2022, when they lost by two. Given that the Explorers were catching points at home earlier this month I expect they’ll catch even more going on the road. The wrong team seems favored here and I’m comfortable taking La Salle +3 as well as taking them on the Moneyline. Recovering from two losses in a row, I think they bounce back with a win here.
Dartmouth @ Penn (-8) Saturday, 2pm on ESPN+
Back in January, Penn was upset by Dartmouth on the road. This seems more of the Big Green getting lucky on their home court than anything else. The Quakers are outpacing Dartmouth in almost every category including points per game, three-point percentage, field goal percentage, rebounds, and free throw percentage. Penn is on a seven-game win streak, including victories over Columbia and Cornell, both of whom beat Dartmouth in the last two weeks. Penn gets their revenge and I like any spread under double digits.
St. Joe’s (+1) @ St. Bonaventure Sunday, 12pm on USA Network
Neither one of these teams are known for being offensive powerhouses this year. However, both are very pretty decent on defense. St. Joseph’s is better, ranking in the top 30 in steals and top 100 in blocks, points allowed, and rebounds. Looking at common opponents in the last month, these two shouldn’t be too far apart when it comes to the spread. Both teams have also won 13 games. The Bonnies have been a solid home team and that gives them a slight edge. Despite the Hawks’ strong defense, I’m going to take the Bonnies to win by more than three.
Rutgers @ Penn State (+5.5) Sunday, 6pm on BTN (Big Ten Network)
Closing Sunday out is another matchup between Rutgers and Penn State. When these two played in January the Scarlett Knights’ defense overwhelmed the Nittany Lions, holding them to only 45 points. Rutgers’ defense has been exceptional this year, limiting opponents to the fewest three-pointers per game in the nation. They also have one of the highest adjusted defense efficiency rankings. While I don’t expect Penn State to put up such a poor showing as last time, I still think Rutgers beats them and covers.
Justin Mark is co-host of SGPN Fantasy Football’s show “Old-Fashioned Football”, and co-host of a show on the NFL Gambling Podcast, as well as co-host of the XFL Gambling Podcast. He’s also a writer for the Sports Gambling Podcast. Follow him on Twitter @JMarkFootball and The Sports Gambling Podcast @GamblingPodcast.