Bet Nevada Wolf Pack To Smash Drake With Your NCAA Basketball Picks

LT Profits Sports Group

Saturday, December 12, 2015 6:05 PM GMT

Saturday, Dec. 12, 2015 6:05 PM GMT

There could be a bit of a light line in the night portion of the Saturday NCAA Basketball card as Nevada should be able to handle Drake by double-digits playing at home in Reno.  

 

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Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Nevada -8½
Best Odds Offered By Heritage

 

The home favorite may not be receiving enough credit Saturday night in what should be a handy crowd-pleasing victory when the Drake Bulldogs (4-5, 3-4ATS) out of the Missouri Valley Conference trek out west to pay a visit to those Nevada Wolf Pack (6-3, 4-3 ATS) of the Mountain West Conference at the Lawlor Events Center in Reno, NV at 7:00 ET with live streaming available at nevadawolfpack.tv

The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Nevada as a decided home favorite for this contest with the current NCAA Basketball odds board at -8½ with odds of -102.

 

Long Trip For Drake
Nevada is off to a 6-3 start, and ironically enough, it may have been a defeat that validated the quality of the Wolf Pack this season. That is because, while Nevada has faced a relatively weak schedule overall this season so far, the Wolf Pack are also the only one of these teams to face a Power 5 conference school and while the end result was disappointing, it was still encouraging in a covering 66-62 loss on the road at Oregon State of the Pac-12 two games ago!

Drake has faced an even weaker schedule overall with a non-conference SOS ranked 265th in the country according to the Pomeroy Ratings, so that makes the losing 4-5 record discouraging. The Bulldogs have now been the losing NCAA Basketball picks in two straight games after a home loss to DePaul on Wednesday, and they then made the 1500-mile trip to Reno to play this contest just three days later.

 

Stiff Nevada Defense Is Major Key
Nevada can score points as the Wolf Pack are averaging 83.0 points per game overall and a whopping 90.4 points here at the Lawlor Center. To be fair, the last two home games were against Division II foes against whom the Pack put up 108 and 119 points respectively, so those home numbers are a bit padded. Still, Drake is not exactly a Division I powerhouse ranking 268th in effective field goal percentage allowed at 52.4 percent, so Nevada should still score here.

However, we are actually more impressed with the Nevada defense, a defense ranked 10th in the nation in effective field goal percentage allowed at 41.5 percent and 16th in three-point defense at just 27.1 percent, which is most critical vs. a Bulldogs’ offense that gets most of its production from beyond the arc. And most importantly, in its biggest test to date at Oregon State, the Nevada defense held the Beavers to 27-for-66, 40.9 percent shooting overall

 

Drake Settles For Too Many Perimeter Shots
Drake may not play much defense as we alluded to earlier, but the Bulldogs do shoot the ball well at 48.0 percent overall and they are 25th in the country in three-point shooting at 41.0 percent. However, that nice perimeter shooting sets up a strength vs. strength scenario vs. the stiff Wolfpack perimeter defense, except that Drake has yet to prove itself vs. a Power 5 school.

Drake is also really just a three-man show in Reed Timmer (19.2 points per game), Kale Abrahamson (16.1) and Graham Woodward (13.8) with the Bulldogs having no other player averaging even just five points. That should make the Drake a rather easy team for the good Nevada defense to defend.

It also seems prudent for the Nevada defense to sag outside and crowd the arc, as Drake is not very aggressive ranking just 235th in the country in FTA/FGA ratio, an indication that the Bulldogs do not drive to the basket to draw fouls enough, instead relying heavily on their very good three-point shooters. And that may work if Drake continues to shoot 41.0 percent from downtown, but will those shooters have their legs on the road after that long trip here?

 

Not A Good Road Team
Finally, Drake has not been a particularly good road team in recent years as besides being 0-2 both straight up and ATS in true road games this season, the Bulldogs are 5-13-2 ATS in their last 20 road games overall. Plus, Drake traveling farther west than it usually does after just playing at home in Des Moines on Wednesday does not help matters.

The combination of that long trip, Drake being a weak road team to begin with, and Nevada simply being the better team currently ranked 71 spots higher on the Pomeroy Ratings (143rd vs. 214th) should all add up to a decisive double-digit Wolf Pack victory in Reno Saturday night.

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