Marquette and Butler Go ‘Over’ in Indianapolis

Willie Bee

Friday, January 12, 2018 12:38 PM UTC

Friday, Jan. 12, 2018 12:38 PM UTC

Butler is mired in a 3-game losing skid, but the Bulldogs are nonetheless favored on the NCAA basketball odds in a key Big East showdown tonight vs. Marquette.

NCAAB Season Record: 20-28-1 (-9.40)

Marquette Golden Eagles at Butler BulldogsFree NCAAB Pick: Over 158Best Line Offered: BetOnline

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It has been anything but easy as far as the early Big East schedules for either Marquette or Butler. The Golden Eagles faced three ranked teams in their first five games, fashioning a 3-2 overall league mark, while the Bulldogs just finished a stretch of four consecutive ranked foes and sit 2-3.

That only adds importance to their Friday showdown in Indianapolis, Fox Sports 1 carrying the 6:30 PM (ET) tip. A win won’t guarantee an invite to March Madness, but a loss could really hurt either's chances. Speaking of chances, SBR’s top sportsbooks like Butler’s tonight with the Bulldogs favored by 4½. The scoreboard hurdle is 158.

Bulldogs In Dire Need To Stop 3-Game Skid

Marquette followed up a loss at No. 1 Villanova last weekend with a win over No. 13 Seton Hall on Tuesday. Steve Wojciechowski’s gang picked up their third consecutive cover in the 84-64 upset, the Golden Eagles getting a point at the closing bell. Marquette used a 10-2 spurt in the first half to build a lead, then capitalized on the Pirates’ 4-minute scoring drought in the second half to pull away for good. The Eagles were a perfect 13-for-13 at the free-throw line, and rank fourth in the country connecting on better than 79% of their foul shots.

Since handing Villanova its only loss of the campaign, Butler has dropped three straight and failed to cover the NCAA basketball odds in each setback, two of those as road underdogs. The latest red mark came at Creighton, where the Bluejays used a 9-0 run in the first half to open a 17-point lead the Bulldogs were never able to recover from. The 85-74 final just managed to stay ‘under’ a 160-point total, stopping a string of nine consecutive ‘over’ winners.

Rivalry History, Final Thoughts & A Free Pick

In a series that began a little more than 95 years ago, it’s Butler with the 20-17 advantage over the years. The last eight have come as Big East rivals, and the Bulldogs have a 6-2 edge in those affairs, winning both of last year’s meetings and three in a row entering Friday’s fracas. Butler covered the last three wins, twice as the favorite; last season’s meeting at historic Hinkle Fieldhouse ended 88-80 to just give the Bulldogs the cover as 7½ point chalk.

Taking big bundles of points the past two nights hasn’t been the recipe for a winning free college basketball pick, but then, neither has laying a few before that. Feel free to fade away when I play the ‘over’ in Indy.

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