Xavier Gets Nod as Small Chalk Vs. Cincinnati

Xavier Basketball

Willie Bee

Saturday, December 2, 2017 1:59 PM GMT

Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017 1:59 PM GMT

Welcome to Porkopolis and a great rivalry between Cincinnati and Xavier that finds the Musketeers favored at home on the college basketball odds.

Cincinnati Bearcats vs Xavier Musketeers

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Free NCAAB Pick: Xavier -2½Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

Saturday’s college hoops card cranks up with one of the more underrated rivalries in the sport while also offering up the first of two battles between ranked teams on the day. The 85th meeting between the Cincinnati Bearcats and Xavier Musketeers will take place at Cintas Center with Fox Sports 1 carrying the 12 PM (ET) tip, and the top sports books are expecting a close contest with a tight spread for this year’s matchup.

Mick Cronin brings the Bearcats into the clash ranked No. 11/9 in the conventional polls and a perfect 7-0 on the young season. Chris Mack’s Musketeers are 21/20 in the rankings and coming off a solid 76-63 decision over Baylor earlier this week. Xavier is a 2½ point favorite with 147-149 for the scoreboard target, the highest total in the series since December 1999.

Cincy Among Nation’s Rebound Leaders

Today’s match begins a tough 4-game stretch for Cronin and his ‘Cats; they’ll take a 7-day break following this game before hosting Florida and Mississippi State, then travel to Tinseltown for a December 16 collision with UCLA. Third in the country in glasswork (45+ reb/game), one of the best ways to play Cincinnati on the NCAAF basketball odds so far has been to take the ‘under’ with three of four lined contests failing to reach the marks.

Xavier bounced back from its only setback by handing Baylor its first loss of the campaign on Tuesday. Favored by 4½ at the closing bell, the Musketeers were helped along with a 5-minute scoring drought by the Bears in the second half, and used 14 offensive boards plus an 8-point advantage at the charity stripe to pick up the dubya. The final stayed ‘under’ the total after four of the Musketeers’ first five lined games went ‘over.’

Rivalry Trends, Final Thoughts & A Free Pick

Cincinnati has a nice 50-34 lead in the Crosstown Shootout rivalry, but Xavier has been cutting into that margin like mad recently. The Musketeers have won three of the last four and seven of the last 10 meetings, plus have a 6-game win streak against the Bearcats at Cintas Center. Cincinnati does own the most recent bragging rights, however, after an 86-78 win as 3½ point chalk this past January a few miles away at Fifth Third Arena. The final went well past a 134½ point total, stopping a string of 4-straight ‘under’ winners in the series.

We know from experience that this will be a physical game, so a lot depends on how the refs play into the action. The pro-Musketeer crowd will also be a factor, and one reason why I’m laying the points with my free college basketball pick.

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