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January 18th 2014 - Posted 11:00 AM Eastern Time

There are two bets risking a total of 4% today.

#1: Take Butler at -1.5 spread against Marquette risking 2%

Both of these teams aren't having the type of seasons that they have been accustomed to in the past. Butler's early struggles are more warranted however since former Bulldogs head coach Brad Stevens is now the coach of the Boston Celtics and there has been a transition period understandably.

Marquette on the other hand has been a completely different team on the road than at home and there is no excuse for that. The Golden Eagles enjoy an excellent 8-1 home record but when they take to the highway they are a paltry 2-6 and just 1-4 in "true" road games! The best team that Marquette has beaten so far this season has been George Washington, who while having a good season are far from a recognizable power house. This will be a tough test for Marquette especially with JaJuan Johnson nursing an ankle injury. He is questionable for today's game and may end up playing but he won't be 100%.

Butler is still searching for their first win in Big East play. They currently sit at 0-5 in conference and will no doubt be motivated and hungry for their first league win of the year and today's game provides them with their best chance to get it. Butler is also 0-3 at home in conference play with their last 3 home games going to overtime. While that doesn't look like a great statistic, those were all winnable games and shows the heart and toughness of Butler at home. There is no shame in losing to good teams like Villanova by the narrowest of margins. Having played teams like that will have battle tested Butler and given them the confidence in knowing that they can compete with the best and make the right adjustments moving forward.

Some people will look at having 3 overtime losses as deflating but Butler isn't the type of team that will just roll over after having a tough stretch of games.
With a victory today they can still turn things around and will actually overtake Marquette who shares a similar record in the standings. This is a manageable and almost must-win game for the Bulldogs now before they get back on the road and one that most would have projected them to win at the start of conference play before their struggles. Look for the home side to edge the Golden Eagles in what will more than likely be a close game.

Other notable facts to consider:

  • Marquette is 0-4 ATS vs conference opponents.
  • Butler is 7-2 in Saturday games this season.
  • Butler is 19-6 in its last 25 home games.
  • Marquette is just 1-5 in its last six road games.

#2: Take Creighton at -4.5 spread against Providence risking 2%

The Creighton Bluejays are 15-2 on the year and have started conference play in style winning five out of five! What is more impressive than their 5-0 record is that fact that they have taken on and beaten good talent to get there with wins over teams like Marquette, Seton Hall, DePaul, Xavier, and Butler. While those wins were solid and against decent competition, the Bluejays are now hitting the heart of their conference schedule and have some tough tests ahead of them starting with the Friars today and games against Villanova and Georgetown coming up.

Creighton is led by one of the best players in the nation in Doug McDermott who is averaging 25.2 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. McDermott is also shooting nearly 50% from the field and is extremely efficient with his shots. He is the clear leader on the team his dad coaches and is surrounded by solid role players like Ethan Wragge, Grant Gibbs, and Austin Chatman. Creighton has won their first 2 conference road games by an average of 16 points and they are #1 in the nation from beyond the arc sinking an impressive 191 shots from downtown! The Bluejays also lead the league with a solid 82.6 points per game.

Providence is having a solid season so far themselves as they sit at a 12-5 overall record and are coming off a good road win over Saint John's. The issue that we have with the Friars is the fact that their coach, Ed Cooley has been somewhat vocal in the media recently about the injuries that his team has sustained and how the team's talent level has considerably suffered because of it. While a statement like that is fair, how it affects the overall confidence of his young team is questionable.

The Friars have played fairly well at home but each time they have taken a stepup in competition, they have faltered. Against some of the higher scoring teams in the league, like Umass, Kentucky, Villanova, the Friars have fallen short and we feel that will be the case again today. Creighton is one of the most efficient teams with the basketball and are absolutely deadly from 3-point range. If the Friars defend the perimeter, that leaves the lane open for McDermott and if they focus on the paint, they will get burnt with 3-pointers. Bryce Cotton is the standout star on this team and if Creighton can slow the impact that he has on the game, then it will be hard for Providence to keep pace. This should be a close game but we expect Creighton to make the necessary adjustments in the second half and pull away.

Other notable facts to consider:

  • Creighton is 4-0 ATS in road games this season.
  • Creighton is 5-1 ATS after allowing 60 or less points in their previous game this season.
  • Creighton is 8-3 ATS when playing against a team with a winning record.
  • Providence is just 2-4 ATS when playing a team that averages more than 77 points per game.

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