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November 29, 2016

There are 2 picks tonight.

#1: Take Columbia +1 spread against Hofstra for 3% of the bankroll.

This is an interesting matchup between two very similar teams as the Hofstra Pride take to the road to take on the Columbia Lions. Hofstra has managed to take 8 of the last 10 meetings between these two teams, but we believe the homecourt advantage in this contest is going to be a determining factor. Columbia has been solid on their home court and even managed to take the last meeting between these two teams here back on December 20, 2014. Hofstra has also shown their struggles on the road thus far this season as they are 0-2 in games on the highway.

The Columbia Lions come into this contest 3-2 and have alternated wins and losses this season. They will be seeking their first back-to-back wins of the year and we expect that they will get it. On the season, they are averaging 77.6 points per game and they are shooting 46.8 percent from the floor including 36.8 percent from beyond the 3-point arc. Nate Hickman leads the team, averaging 18.6 points per game while Luke Petrasek is averaging 15.2 points and 8.4 rebounds. Mike Smith and Lukas Meisner round out the team averaging 10 points and 6.4 points and 6 rebounds respectively.

Hofstra comes into this game having won two straight, however their lack of quality competition thus far should hurt them in this contest. Columbia has been the slightly better team both from the field as well as at the charity stripe. The Lions have also been the slightly better defensive team, holding their opponents to just 41% from the field and 33% from three. Hofstra has struggled to contain opposing offenses thus far this season and allowing teams to shoot 45% from the field and 40% from deep. Given that Columbia is draining an average of 8.6 three-pointers per game, that could be the difference in this contest.

We expect this to be an extremely even, back and forth contest between two mid-major schools, however, with this game being played in the Big Apple and Columbia having a slight edge defensively, we expect the Lions' players to come up with a critical stop or two in the final minutes and come away with the outright victory.

#2: Take Valparaiso +2.5 spread against Rhode Island for 3% of the bankroll.

Valparaiso has been a powerhouse of the Horizon League for a number of years and is one of the very best mid-tier schools that casual sports bettors have maybe not heard of. That could very well change tonight as they welcome the #21 ranked Rhode Island Rams to Indiana. Rhode Island may be the ranked team in this contest, however we are not truly convinced that they are the better overall team.

So far, this season Valpo stands 6-1 overall with their one loss coming on the road against the then #4 ranked Oregon Ducks. The Crusaders have been testing themselves already this season and hold notable wins over high profile opponents such as Alabama and BYU. Veteran forward Alec Peters is the best player in the Horizon and he’s leading the team averaging 25.1 points per game. He will likely be a force in this matchup tonight. What has been most impressive about Peters is the he is shooting 93% from the charity stripe this season. When you have a big man down low who can hit their free-throws, it makes them hard to stop and gives them a distinct advantage.

Valparaiso has been playing very well as of late against a challenging slate and this should be another great test for the Crusaders. Valpo has a solid home court advantage which will help them push this ranked Rhode Island squad. This is a matchup where we feel that the road team is getting too much respect because they are ranked #21 in the country. That being said, playing in Valparaiso is never an easy out for opposing teams and when they have been listed as underdogs, they have been a money-making machine for their backers cashing in at 8-1 ATS in their last nine games as an underdog. At home, they have been almost unbeatable against the spread having covered in 14 of their last 17 games as a home underdog. They’re also 13-3 against the number in their last 16 games as a home underdog of between 0.5 and 6.5 points.

This will likely be a very competitive battle between two underrated programs who both will likely appear in the Big Dance come the end of the season. Given the fact that this game is being played in Indiana and that the Crusaders know have an opportunity (and motivation) to claim a resume building victory, we believe that will be enough for them to stay competitive in this contest and potentially challenge for the outright victory. The points could prove valuable in this contest since either team is capable of winning.

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