Daily Dunk: Best College Basketball Bets Today (Can Marquette upset Creighton?)

Dec 30, 2023; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA;  Marquette Golden Eagles guard Tyler Kolek (11) and
Dec 30, 2023; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Marquette Golden Eagles guard Tyler Kolek (11) and / Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the final Saturday of the regular season for many college basketball teams across the country. This time next week, plenty of mid-major conferences will have begun their conference tournaments while the major conferences will be wrapping up their regular season.

With seemingly an unlimited amount of games to watch and bet on, I'm here to help narrow things down for you. I have three bets locked in for today's slate, so let's not waste any time and jump into them.

If you haven't already taken advantage of this promotion from Caesars Sportsbook. Now is the time to do it. If you click the link below to sign up for an account, Caesars will cover your first bet for you up to $1,000!

College basketball best bets today

  • Illinois +3.5 vs. Wisconsin
  • Marquette +6.5 vs. Creighton
  • Gonzaga vs. St. Mary's UNDER 141.5

Illinois vs. Wisconsin prediction

Defense should be the difference maker in this Big Ten showdown. Both teams have solid shooting numbers, but the Fighting Illini have a clear defensive advantage. Heading into this game, Illinois ranks 45th in opponent effective field goal percentage and 107th in defensive efficiency while Wisconsin enters the game ranking 272nd in opponent effective field goal percentage and 170th in defensive efficiency.

I think that's enough to back Illinois as a small underdog in this game.

Marquette vs. Creighton prediction

There is no doubt that Creighton can shoot the lights out on offense and shut their opponent's shooting down defensively, but there is one glaring hole in their game that makes me hesitant to lay points on them when they face stiff competition. They are the worst team in the country in turning the ball over. They rank 362nd out of 362 teams in opponent turnovers per possession and opponent turnovers per game, averaging just 7.9 opponent turnovers per contest.

That leaves them with around a -3 turnover differential per game this season which is (and has) cost them when playing elite teams. Marquette is one of those elite teams as the Golden Eagles can hang with the Bluejays with their shooting but come into the game with the bonus of forcing twice as many turnovers per game as Creighton.

I'll take the points with Marquette and hope the turnover battle is enough to keep this game close.

Gonzaga vs. St. Mary's prediction

I expect this classic showdown between Gonzaga and St. Mary's to be a defensive slugfest. Both teams rank inside the top 100 in the country in percentage of their points coming from inside the three-point line yet both teams have some of the best interior defenses in college basketball.

The Gaels rank second in opponent two-point field goal percentage and the Bulldogs come in at 13th. Overall, they rank third and 46th in defensive efficiency.

St. Mary's also plays at an extremely slow pace, ranking 348th in the country in possessions per game, so expect this to be a low-scoring affair in the West Coast Conference.

Odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.

You can check out all of Iain's bets here!