NCAA Basketball Pick: Drake +17½ over Creighton Tuesday

LT Profits Sports Group

Tuesday, January 8, 2013 5:00 AM GMT

Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013 5:00 AM GMT

Creighton is the cream of the crop in the Missouri Valley Conference this year, but defense is not a strong suit and Drake is a good three-point shooting team. Take Drake as a huge dog.

The superior ranked team could be an overlay on Tuesday night when the Drake Bulldogs (6-8, 1-2 away) pay a visit to those 13th ranked Creighton Bluejays (14-1, 9-1 home) at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha, NE at 8:05 ET in a game available on ESPN3.

The point spread at 5 Dimes has Drake as a huge underdog for this contest with the current line at +17½ with odds of -105.

Creighton is one of those mid-major teams that everyone gets excited about because they can score a lot of points, in fact leading the nation in effective field goal percentage at an amazing 59.9 percent while ranking second in three-point shooting, ninth in two-point shooting and seventh in offensive efficiency according to the Pomeroy Ratings. The Bluejays also boast one of the best pure shooters in the nation in Doug McDermott, son of his head coach Greg.

The younger McDermott is a junior 6-foot-8 forward that ranks third in the land with his 23.1 points per game while shooting a sensational 48.5 percent from beyond the three-point arc and 54.3 percent overall! Keep in mind that we are talking about a player that generally plays on the perimeter, making that overall percentage that much more remarkable

Creighton has also faced a good schedule, beating the likes of Wisconsin, California and Saint Joseph’s out of conference. All of that is well and good, but the Bluejays will have to improve defensively if they want to be taken seriously come March.

Yes the raw statistics say that Creighton is allowing only 62.4 points per game, but the Bluejays rank just 74th in effective field goal percentage allowed, 91st in two point defense and 82nd in three-point defense. Also, they do not force many turnovers at all, ranking a mere 271st in defensive turnover percentage at 18.5 percent, significantly below the national average of 20.7 percent.

That should make it hard for Creighton to cover enormous spreads like these vs. competent shooting teams, as those opponents can basically run their offenses uninhibited by a Bluejays’ defense that hardly applies any pressure whatsoever.

Well, Drake may not be a world beater by any stretch of the imagination, but the Bulldogs can shoot. Drake is averaging 73.1 points per game thanks to ranking a good 49th in three-point shooting at 37.2 percent.  Granted the Bulldogs play basically no defense, but with this point spread as high as it is, they can cover this number by just hitting their normal three-point rate vs. a suspect defense.

Look for Drake to do just that to keep the final margin within 15 points on Tuesday.

[gameodds]14/176928/19-238-93-92-1096/us[/gameodds]

NCAA Basketball Pick: Drake +17½ (-105)

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