Windy City Picks Feature In College Hoops Friday

Jay Pryce

Friday, January 12, 2018 1:28 PM UTC

Friday, Jan. 12, 2018 1:28 PM UTC

The Windy City is the site for a pair of valuable college basketball betting opportunities Friday. Check out our picks and predictions for Providence at DePaul and Milwaukee at Illinois-Chicago here.

Providence (-1.5) at DePaul

Providence (11-6 SU, 4-11 ATS) travels to DePaul (8-8, 9-7 ATS) at its healthiest all season. Head coach Ed Cooley has juggled eight different starting lineups due to injuries, the most any during his seven-year tenure. Expect the Friars to improve in the second half of the season with added consistency. They upset No. 5 Xavier 81-72 as 5.5-point underdogs last time out and should start playing more like the team that has made four straight NCAA Tournament appearances after a drab start. Coaches picked the Friars to finish fourth in the Big East preseason poll.

Providence enters ranked 61st and 84th in adjusted offensive and defensive efficiencies, according to KenPom. Senior forwards Rodney Bullock and Kyron Cartwright anchor the team. The duo combine for 27.8 points per game and 9.7 rebounds. Cartwright also leads the Big East with 6.3 assists a contest. Here's the duo doing its thing against the Musketeers:

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Got the block. Got the dunk. Got the upset over No. 5 Xavier.

— ESPN (@espn) January 6, 2018

When Bullock is hitting his shots, the Friars are often a good NCAAB bet in the Big East. They are 22-12 ATS all-time when the senior shoots better than 25 percent from the floor in conference play. He has only recorded a lower figure eight times in his career, five against ranked opponents.

The Blue Demons, meanwhile, picked up their first conference win at St. John’s on Saturday, stunning the Red Storm 91-74 as 7.5-point underdogs. Don’t expect too many more shockers. The Blue Demons return four starters from a team that finished 2-16 SU in conference play last season. In the last 10 years, the program has not finished better than 6-13 SU overall. Coaches picked the DePaul to finish 10th this season. Expect a slide in performance from here on out vs. tough Big East opponents.

Take the points (-1.5) with Providence. The Friars hold a superior talent and experience edge. Predicted final score: 77-71

Free NCAAB Pick: Providence -1.5Best Line Offered: BetOnline

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Milwaukee at Illinois-Chicago (-3)

Illinois-Chicago (7-10 SU, 5-8 ATS) finished sixth (7-11 SU) in the Horizon League last season largely without leading scorer Dikembe Dixson. The sophomore forward, averaging 14.2 points per game this year, went down with a season-ending knee injury early in the campaign. The Flames are much better in league play with him on the court, particularly when defending UIC Pavilion, going 7-2 ATS logging 10 minutes or more in a contest.

Milwaukee (9-9 SU, 6-10 ATS) is young, fielding one senior (Brett Pahl) in the starting five. This inexperience often hurts the most on the road, where the program has won just seven games in their last 29 away contests. Only two of these have been Horizon League wins.

Scoring points is a struggle for the Panthers. In games listed on the NCAA basketball oddsboard, the offense averages 67.7 points on 44.3 percent shooting. Particular improvement is needed in those areas that help efficiency and effectiveness. The team shoots 31.3 percent from behind the arc and 67.7 at the charity strip in the above-mentioned contests. Tough to pull out victories on the road with these numbers. Lay the points with Illinois-Chicago and lean the ‘over’ 134.5 game total. Flames win 75-70 in a more explosive game than expected.

Free NCAAB Pick: UIC -3Best Line Offered: Bookmaker

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