Could LSU snap out of losing streak in a big way? Best bets for Feb. 18

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LSU forward KJ Williams (12) points at the crowd after making a basket against Alabama forward Noah Clowney (15) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Feb. 4, 2023. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)

Each day, one of our experts will offer up a best bet (or two or three) that mobile sportsbooks are offering. It might be a traditional spread bet, a player prop or one of the various odds boosts that books offer.

Here are our best bets for Saturday, Feb. 18:

TOP PLAY

The play: Men’s college basketball, LSU -6½ over South Carolina

The odds: -120

The book: FanDuel Sportsbook

Time/TV: 1 p.m. (SEC Network)

Our take: LSU started the year 12-1, with the only loss coming by two points to Kansas State (a team that has since rocketed into the top 15). Not bad, eh?

Welp. Since then, the Tigers have fallen hard, losing 13 straight games and finding themselves on the wrong end of some lopsided scores but also some bad breaks.

It’s coming to an end Saturday. The biggest reason for that is that South Carolina is one of the worst power conference teams in the country, but more than anything, it’s because LSU has continued to play hard for coach Matt McMahon even as the losses have piled up. It’s a good sign that even with everything going wrong, the Tigers aren’t getting blown out.

On the other hand, when things have gone south for the Gamecocks, they’ve gone really south. Of their 17 losses, 14 of them are by at least 8 points. South Carolina is one of the worst offensive teams in the nation in every conceivable category and won’t be able to take advantage of LSU’s sometimes soft interior defense. LSU gets back on the tracks in a big way here with a cathartic blowout.

MORE SEC BASKETBALL

The play: Men’s college basketball, Arkansas -8.5 over Florida

The odds: -110

The book: FanDuel Sportsbook

Time/TV: 2 p.m. (ESPN2)

Our take: This is a lot of points to lay, but this is a vote of confidence in the Razorbacks and coach Eric Musselman, who traditionally gets his teams red-hot right about now. Florida is sputtering a bit, Arkansas is at home and desperate, and that’s a good spot to back teams.

What’s more, Razorbacks freshman Nick Smith, who was the top recruit in the country, has returned from a knee injury. He didn’t play much Wednesday at Texas A&M in his first game back, but he has undeniable talent, has had three more days to rest and is going to get unleashed at some point.

Arkansas has the interior defense to control Florida, and they’ll be playing with their hair on fire because their season is at risk of slipping away. Add in what should be a desperate and raucous crowd, and you’ve got the recipe for another SEC blowout.

HOW WE’VE FARED

Thursday’s best bets

  • PGA Genesis Invitational: Jon Rahm better second round than Patrick Cantlay and Viktor Hovland (LOST)

Friday’s record: 0-1

Total for the week: 4-4, 1 PGA bet pending

Total for February: 14-17, 1 pending

Total for 2023: 39-51, 1 pending

NOTE: If a line or odds are minus, it considers the juice one must lay to place the bet. Ex: Team A is -160 on the money line, one would have to bet $160 to win $100 (or $16 to win $10). OR Team B is a 5-point favorite at -110, one would have to bet $110 to win $100 (or $11 to win $10.)

Conversely, on positive lines, if Team C is +140 on the money line, $100 would bring in $140 (or $10 to win $14).

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