NCAAB Odds: Back Providence At Former Big East Rival Boston College

Matthew Jordan

Thursday, December 22, 2016 5:49 PM UTC

Thursday, Dec. 22, 2016 5:49 PM UTC

Many people around the U.S. took Friday off from work ahead of the Christmas holiday weekend, so if you are home Friday and looking for some college hoops action to watch and bet on, check out Providence at Boston College at 4 p.m. ET on ESPNU.

Friars Overachieving Thus Far?

Not a heck of a lot is expected from Providence this year. Yes, the Friars finished 24-11 in 2015-16 and made their third straight NCAA Tournament appearance. But their two best players were guard Kris Dunn, the Big East Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year, and forward Ben Bentil, the Big East Most Improved Player of the Year. Both declared early for the NBA Draft, although Bentil probably should have stayed in school because he was just the 51st overall pick this past summer and didn't make the roster of the Boston Celtics. Dunn was smart to go as he was the No. 5 overall pick by Minnesota.

Providence (10-2) was picked to finish ninth in the 10-team Big East. Could the Friars be better than expected? Their two losses are by five at a pretty good Ohio State team and by 11 to an excellent Virginia team in a Thanksgiving holiday tournament in Florida. Since that loss, PC has won six in a row, with the best of those a 63-60 home win over then-No. 21 Rhode Island.

The Friars last played Tuesday and beat visiting Maine 79-59, never trailing. Emmitt Holt recorded a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Jalen Lindsey added 12 points and nine rebounds. Junior forward Rodney Bullock is the team's best player, averaging 19.1 points and 6.8 rebounds, but he has been held to just 8 points in each of the past two games. 

PC is not a strong offensive team in averaging 71.5 points (239th nationally) but is excellent defensively as usual in allowing 58.9 ppg (10th). This is the team's second true road game of the season (Ohio State) and its last before starting Big East play. The Friars are 8-4 ATS this season on college basketball odds.


Eagles Likely To Be Terrible Again

Boston College was by far the worst team in the ACC last year, finishing 0-18 in conference play and 7-25 overall with a season-ending 19-game losing streak. The Eagles are projected to finish last again in 2016-17. They also have the worst non-conference record in the league at 6-6.

There are some bad losses in there. BC was beaten 79-73 at home to open the season against Nicholls State, which had been 35-57 the past three seasons and is picked to finish last in the Southland Conference. ACC teams aren't supposed to lose at home to the Nicholls States of the world. BC also lost at home to Harvard, Hartford and, on Wednesday, 89-83 to Fairfield in a neutral-site game in Connecticut. The Stags entered on a three-game losing streak and had never beaten an ACC school. Freshman Ky Bowman had a career-high 33 points and Jerome Robinson added 21 for the Eagles.

Robinson leads the team in scoring at 20.5 ppg but is the only Eagle averaging double figures. Bowman averages 9.9 points as his 33 vs. Fairfield came out of nowhere. Those 33 points are the fifth-most scored in the ACC this season and the second most by a freshman. This is BC's final non-conference game before opening ACC action. The Eagles are 3-4 ATS on college basketball picks.

Last year, Boston College lost 66-51 at No. 15 Providence even though both Dunn and Bentil were unable to play in the second half due to illness/injury. The former Big East rivals have played 110 times overall with Providence holding a 61-49 advantage.

NCAAB Free Pick: Providence -8Best Line Offered: BetOnline

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