Lay the Chalk for Valparaiso vs. Missouri NCAA Basketball

Steven Suarez

Sunday, November 16, 2014 5:03 PM GMT

The Tigers lost their first game of the season and will now try to bounce back against Valparaiso. Do we expect Missouri to cash as the college basketball betting favorites?

Odds Overview
Though no total has been released to the public just yet, the spread has been available for action. We find Missouri favored by five points on the NCAA basketball odds.

Some may think that's a low number, but the Tigers looked really bad in their season opener, so we understand why the spread is as low as it is. Missouri's going to have to earn back the respect of oddsmakers.

 

Missouri Tigers
Last season, the Tigers finished with a 23-12 overall record, which included tournamente play. They lost to Florida in the SEC tournament and weren't even able to earn a spot into the Big Dance, having to settle for the NIT, where they lost in the second round to Southern Miss.

Missouri has lost its top three scorers from last year in Jordan Clarkson, Jabari Brown and Earnest Ross, so it's going to be a tough rebuilding process.

Returnees include Johnathan Williams III, Ryan Rosburg and Wes Clark, all of whom averaged at least 20 minutes a game in 2013-14, so it's not like it's a completely new squad out there for the Tigers.

However, it was a struggle in the team's season opener against UMKC. The Tigers shot a poor 38.1 percent overall and 21.7 percent from beyond the arc, while hitting 8-of-16 from the free throw line. Missouri turned the ball over 17 times and overall was sloppy in the 69-61 defeat inside Mizzou Arena.

Clark finished with 13 points, five assists, three rebounds and six steals, but it was freshman Montaque Gill-Caesar that stood out most. He scored 21 points to go with seven rebounds in the loss. However, Gill-Caesar and Clark were the only two Tigers to score in double figures. Keith Shamburger contributed eight points, six rebounds and three assists.

 

Valparaiso Crusaders
As opposed to Missouri, the Crusaders opened their season with a win over East Tennessee State.

Valparaiso got hot from the field, shooting 50.0 percent overall and 55.6 percent (10-of-18) from three. The Crusaders also had a lot of success getting to the line, as they were 28-of-43 from the line in the 90-76 win. They won the battle on the glass (outrebounding their opponents 42-32) as well.

Alec Peters was the star for Valparaiso, scoring 27 points on 9-of-15 shooting, including 4-of-6 from three. He added six rebounds in his highly effective 32 minutes of action. Tevonn Walker had a 16/4/3 line, while Darien Walker found a groove off the bench and ended up with 20 points (with five threes) and eight boards.

With its three leading scorers all returning (Peters and the two Walkers), the Crusaders should be in a good position to improve on their 18-16 record from last season.

We'll get a much better sense of how good this team is tonight against a Missouri team that will be motivated to right its wrongs from Friday. We know Valparaiso will try and lean on its guard play, and we'll have to see how that pans out.

 

NCAA Basketball Pick
Why are we backing the Tigers after they suffered a huge letdown in the opener?

Well, it can't get much worse, right? Missouri does have some talent and we'd be surprised to see them lay two duds in a row, especially on their own court. The Tigers have notoriously been very good in front of their own fans in recent seasons.

It's a quick turnaround after the loss to UMKC, but we expect Gill-Caesar and Clark to lead the Tigers to a win and ATS cover this evening. Back the home team to cash as one of your NCAA basketball picks.

NCAAB Pick: Missouri Tigers -5 at 5Dimes

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