Trends Suggest 'Under' As The Sharp NCAA Basketball Pick In DePaul vs. Butler

Willie Bee

Wednesday, January 27, 2016 12:41 PM GMT

Off to a poor start in the Big East, Butler looks to avoid its third straight loss Wednesday when the Bulldogs host DePaul, part of our Hump Day free NCAA basketball picks.

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Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Under 147 
Best Line Offered: at The Greek

 

Let's start this one off with a pop quiz. Name the only team from one of the old 'power 6' conferences that has lost five games to teams that were or are now ranked, sits 2-5 in their league standings yet is still part of Joe Lunardi's brackets.

Give yourself a cookie if you said the Butler Bulldogs, and take another sweet from the jar if you know they're still a top 50 team in RPI, though barely, plus sit among the top 40 in the Pomeroy Ratings. Their hold in those polls is tenuous at best, however, and the Bulldogs can ill-afford too many more defeats if they're going to dance this March.

So tenuous, in fact, that it could all come crashing down if Butler dropped a third consecutive game Wednesday night when the DePaul Blue Demons pay a visit to Hinkle Fieldhouse. CBS Sports Network will carry the broadcast beginning at 7 PM (ET). The early line at 5Dimes has stuck with Butler favored by 13½, and 147 is your total.

 

Bulldogs Seeking 5th-Straight Win Over DePaul
One of only two Big East games that Butler has won, the Bulldogs eked out a 77-72 at DePaul about three weeks ago. The Bulldogs needed a rally in the final nine minutes to pull off the victory, managing to win by only half of the 10 point spread the closing NCAA basketball odds burdened Butler backers with for the contest.

The triumph was Butler's fourth straight against the Blue Demons, and gave the Bulldogs the smallest of edges in the series history at 6-5. Five of the previous 11 meetings have been as Big East foes the past three seasons, the six before that dating all the way back to 1939.

The Blue Demons' lone win as conference rivals was a thriller in Indianapolis about two years ago, DePaul taking a 99-94 decision in double-overtime. Both Big East contests played at Hinkle went past the totals, while the three in Chicago stayed 'under' the mark.

 

Demons Looking To Build On Road Upset At Marquette
The conference slate got off to a very rough start for 1st-yeard head coach Dave Leitao with DePaul (7-12 straight up, 7-11 against the spread) dropping its first six Big East tilts. Three of those came on the road with only one spread winner in the bunch before the losing skid finally came to a halt a week ago at Marquette. Underdogs of 8½, the Blue Demons used a last-second 3-point shot by Billy Garrett Jr. to drop the Golden Eagles, 57-56.

Garrett is one of only two players scoring in double-figures for DePaul (13.9 ppg), Myke Henry (14.4) the other. The Blue Demons are shooting a respectable 35.2% from 3-point range, but rank near the bottom of the country in long-range attempts (16.2, No. 322).

To be fair to Butler (13-6 SU, 8-10-1 ATS), the Bulldogs have beaten a couple of ranked teams that appear destined for the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament, and did so away from home. Those triumphs came in early December at then-No. 17 Cincinnati and a couple of weeks later just down the road from Hinkle at Bankers Life Fieldhouse over then-No. 9 Purdue.

But facing the top teams in the Big East has been a different story, the Bulldogs dropping home games to Providence and Villanova plus road clashes at Xavier and Providence. They also fell by a dozen last Saturday at Creighton, that game closing with Butler getting 2.

Both teams have been trending 'under' recently, Butler's last five never making it to the totals while five of DePaul's last seven finished short. My free NCAA basketball pick is going to tail that trend.

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