CBB Saturday betting preview: Auburn to continue home dominance

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Saturdays in college basketball reign supreme as the No. 1 day of the week for high-level hoops.

We dissect six games with value worth betting, from marquee matchups to key conference rivalries.

Kentucky @ Auburn (-3.5, 149)
1:00 p.m.

Auburn was mere percentage points away from being named the No. 1 team in the country this week. Now they have a home spot with an elite Kentucky squad to prove the voters wrong. The Tigers have been impressive on their home floor and have the interior size to slow Kentucky's strong 2-point attack.

While the Wildcats rank near the top of the nation from inside the arc, shooting 55.7%, their backcourt is on the smaller side and isn't particularly athletic. To score on Auburn, they'll have to finish over Walker Kessler, the country's best shot-blocker by percentage. Outside jumpers aren't the Wildcats' strong suit, especially away from home, where they have yet to make more than eight 3-pointers in a game.

With Kentucky's athletic limitations likely hampering its scoring, expect the motivated Tigers to put together a strong defensive performance and come away with the victory.

Pick: Auburn -4.5 or better

Stony Brook @ Albany (-1.5, 133.5)
7:00 p.m.

Stony Brook's interior defense is bad, allowing opponents to shoot 56.3% from 2-point range while giving up 1.308 points per possession on shots around the basket, ranking 352nd nationally. Although Albany can struggle to score, the team prefers to get its points inside the arc.

Should the Great Danes score with decent efficiency on Stony Brook's non-existent interior, their impressive defense can continue to shine. Albany's only allowed an average of 52 points per game over its last three and ranks as one of the best pick-and-roll defenses in the country. Stony Brook runs the pick-and-roll on more than 15% of its possessions.

Pick: Albany -2.5 or better

North Carolina @ Wake Forest (-1, 150)
8:00 p.m.

We promise that siding with a Wake Forest team that made us money this week over a North Carolina squad that lost us a bet isn't fully intentional. However, the Tar Heels continuing to struggle defensively on the road and the Demon Deacons playing elite offense makes this a game worth betting on regardless.

Wake Forest's biggest weakness offensively is its propensity for turning the ball over, but North Carolina ranks sixth-worst in the nation by forcing turnovers on just 13.4% of possessions. With the Tar Heels putting virtually no pressure on the big, talented, and efficient Demon Deacons, expect them to struggle away from home once again.

Pick: Wake Forest -3.5 or better

Southern Illinois @ Bradley (-4.5, 128.5)
8:00 p.m.

Although Southern Illinois likes to play at an extremely slow pace, Bradley is playing much faster this season than in years past. Offensively, the Salukis take most of their shots from deep and shoot the best percentage in the Missouri Valley Conference, while the Braves do a poor job defending the line.

Bradley is the tallest team in the conference and has dominated the paint in league play. That trend should continue against a Southern Illinois team that doesn't have a player taller than 6-foot-8 in its eight-man rotation. Both teams should take advantage of their strengths in this matchup to push the total over the number.

Pick: Over 131.5 or better

North Dakota State @ Oral Roberts (-7.5, 154.5)
8:00 p.m.

North Dakota State will have a bone to pick with an Oral Roberts team that narrowly squeaked out a victory in the Summit League title game last season. The Bison are back in contention this year and will be hyper-focused on beating the conference's second-place Golden Eagles.

North Dakota State does a great job protecting the 3-point line and forcing opponents to score on the interior. That's an absolute must against the nation's second-most prolific 3-point attack in terms of percentage of points scored. On the other end, the Bison's superior size should give Oral Roberts trouble on the interior. It's tough to go against a Golden Eagles squad that's covered seven of their last eight, but the number is too large here.

Pick: North Dakota State +6 or better

Boise State @ San Diego State (-4.5, 120.5)
9:30 p.m.

Not only is the Boise State versus San Diego State tilt a matchup between two of the Mountain West's best, but it's also a battle between two of the best defenses in the country. The Aztecs, in particular, sport the nation's second-best effective field-goal percentage. The problem is, they sit 270th on the other side of the ball.

Boise State isn't rated quite as low offensively but does struggle to shoot, ranking below average from beyond the arc. Both squads also struggle at the line, each shooting below 66%. On top of that, they each sit in the bottom-100 in adjusted tempo, per KenPom.

The total is extremely low, but either inefficient offense's ability to score 60 points on the other's talented defense in a slow-paced game seems like too steep a hill to climb.

Pick: Under 119 or better

CBB Saturday betting preview: Auburn to continue home dominance
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