January 26, 2017
There are two picks tonight.
#1: Take Utah +1 spread against Oregon for 3% of the bankroll.
The Oregon Ducks have been one of the hottest teams in the country over the last few weeks having won 16 straight ahead of this contest including 6 straight conference games which have all come in blowout fashion. As good as they have been this season, they will receive a stern test this evening and we believe the way that the oddsmakers have listed this matchup, speaks volumes on how they expect it to go. They opened up one of the hottest and highly public teams in the country as 3 point underdogs for good reason.
The Utah Utes have emerged as one of the more dangerous teams in the Pac 12 over the past few weeks and currently sit in the upper tier of the league standing 14-5 overall and 5-2 in conference. In their last outing, Utah was impressive on the road getting past Washington by a final of 94-72 and that came on the heels of a 43-point win on the road against Washington State. Utah has been boosting their resume as of late and have done so with a complete balanced effort. They are an excellent offensive unit as they are 29th in the nation scoring an average of 81.6 points per game. They have also been extremely effective from the floor as they are shooting 51.7% from the field which is good for 3rd in the nation. They have also been solid on the defensive side of the ball, ranking 55th overall allowing just 66.2 points per game. The Utes are an above average rebounding team and can be a force on the glass as they grab nearly 40 rebounds per game.
The Ducks may be without their best player once again in Dillon Brooks as he is a game time decision for the Ducks, however we expect Brooks to play. That being said, it's important to remember that he will not be 100% and that could affect his play and minutes on the court. Utah has dropped 7 straight in this series and that is another reason we believe it is interesting that the oddsmakers made them the favorites in this contest. The Utah players will undoubtedly be motivated for this contest and they have an extremely hostile homecourt. The crowd should be raucous in this one and we believe that will be the deciding factor in tonight contest. The Utes will snap their own losing streak by snapping the Ducks winning streak as they go on to get the outright win in this one.
#2: Take Cincinnati -3.5 spread against Xavier for 3% of the bankroll.
There are few rivalries in the world of college basketball that are as intense as the crosstown rivalry between the Xavier Musketeers and Cincinnati Bearcats. This rivalry has been filled with emotion and we've seen these emotions spill over into fights in recent years. This season we expect nothing less than a competitive, highly emotionally charge contest.
What has been interesting about this matchup is that the Xavier Musketeers come into this meeting having won the last 3 straight in this series. Historically the Musketeers have been the highly-ranked team who typically comes into this matchup with a ton of momentum, however the roles seemed to be reversed in this year's meeting. The Bearcats have been one of the best teams in the country and despite their 17-2 overall record, we don't believe they have gotten the full credit that they deserve. They have predominately been known as a strong defensive team with an inconsistent offense. Their defense is still stellar, holding opponents to 40.3% from the are 6th in the country in points allowed (61.4 ppg). They have also been furious in the lane, blocking an average of 16.3% of their opponent’s shots from the field.
Where this year's Bearcats team is different is their ability to attack on the offensive end. The offense is balanced and diverse and they have thrived when on the inside, knocking down 54 percent of their shots to rank among the national leaders. Jacob Evans leads the charge with 14.1 points, 4.1 rebounds and 41.3 percent from the field. Kyle Washington chips in 13.4 points and 7.1 rebounds nightly while Troy Caupain is another solid piece for coach Mick Cronin, delivering 10.8 points and 5.5 rebounds per game.
The Bearcats have all the momentum heading into this matchup and come into this one on an 11-game winning streak. They have also defended their home court well, having gone 10-0 on the year and counting year's past have won 20 consecutive home games. The Xavier Musketeers also haven't been as strong as in year's past having lost every game against ranked opponents this season. They have struggled mightily on the road and will likely be up against the wall against one of the country’s most dominant home teams. Having lost 3 straight in the series, we believe the Cincinnati players will be extra motivated to end their recent skid in this rivalry and we believe they will do just that with an impressive win and cover tonight.
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