NCAA Basketball Picks: DePaul vs. Northwestern

Jeff Grant

Friday, December 27, 2013 2:59 PM GMT

Local rivals DePaul and Northwestern will face off for the first time in five seasons Friday night, as the two teams close out their non-conference schedules. Let’s take a closer look at the college basketball odds for this Chicagoland matchup at Welsh-Ryan Arena.

All about the starters

DePaul is off to a 7-5 SU record, including a 4-7 ATS mark versus lined opponents, as it looks to bounce back from a 69-64 defeat to Illinois State as 1.5-point road underdogs Sunday.

The Blue Demons have four probable starters averaging double figures, with senior forward Cleveland Melvin leading the way at 16.5 points per game. He is shooting 47.3 percent from the field and 50 percent from beyond the arc.

Over the last two-plus seasons, the program is 6-35 SU and 15-26 ATS as underdogs in the NCAA basketball odds, with the OVER going 15-14 in that situation.

Streaking

Northwestern is enjoying its second three-game winning streak of the 2013-14 campaign, as it was last seen picking up a 58-52 victory over Brown as 8.5-point home favorites Sunday.

The Wildcats are outscoring opponents by just 3.8 points per game, as they shoot 42.2 percent from the field as a team, but have a -0.6 turnover margin.

The program is 3-2 SU and 2-3 ATS when sportsbooks set them as home favorites of 3.5 to 6 points  over the last two-plus seasons.

Chicagoland success

In each of Oliver Purnell’s three full seasons at DePaul, the Blue Demons have faced three Chicagoland opponents during the non-conference portion of the schedule—posting an 8-1 record in those games.

The team picked up a 77-70 overtime victory over Chicago State as 14.5-point home favorites on Dec. 15.

Crawford

The Wildcats have a chance of covering this number if Drew Crawford plays a solid game offensively, as he’s the Big Ten Conference’s active leading scorer with 1,600 career points.

Crawford ranks eighth in the Big Ten in scoring and sixth in rebounding—the only player to rank in the top 10 in the league in both categories.

Prediction

I’m going to recommend that readers play the total for their NCAA basketball pick, as the UNDER is 5-1 in the Wildcats’ last six home games.

College Basketball Pick: Under

[gameodds]14/253126/?r-1=43-19-349/us[/gameodds]