Xavier Looks To Snap Skid In Matinee With Creighton

Willie Bee

Monday, January 16, 2017 2:56 PM UTC

Monday, Jan. 16, 2017 2:56 PM UTC

The MLK holiday offers up a day-long slate of action on the hardwood, including a huge Big East battle that finds Xavier favored on the NCAA basketball odds vs. Creighton.

Last week was a tough one for Chris Mack and the Xavier Musketeers. They had to head out on the Big East highway to face two ranked teams, Villanova and Butler, and dropped both while failing to cover either.

Ranked No. 15/14 to begin the week, those defeats will definitely slide the Musketeers down in the two polls, but the good news is Mack & Co. are back home Monday at Cincinnati's Cintas Center where they own a 15-game win streak, including a 9-0 mark this season. The bad news is they're once again up against a ranked club, this time facing the No. 8 Creighton Bluejays in a Martin Luther King Day matinee that tips a little past 2 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1.

The sportsbooks and, so far, the betting public like their chances; BookMaker opened Xavier as 2½-point chalk with the spread being pushed up to -3½ overnight. Scoreboard punters are taking their chances with a 156½-point total.


'Jays Continue To Net Field Goals At Amazing Clip

Greg McDermott and Creighton (17-1 straight up, 12-4 against the spread) spent last week at home, first popping Butler by a 75-64 count before routing little Truman State. Those victories gave the Bluejays a 4-game win streak since their only loss of the campaign, an 80-70 setback against then-No. 1 Villanova, all four victories seeing the squad shoot better than 52% from the field. Creighton leads the country in that column, connecting on a remarkable 53.7% on the season.

In the two losses last week, Xavier (13-4 SU, 9-7 ATS) failed to cover the NCAA basketball odds both times. The Musketeers were 8-point dogs in the 79-54 defeat at 'Nova then just missed getting 4 at Butler in an 83-78 final. Edmond Sumner, second on the team with a 15.7 PPG average, reinjured his right shoulder late in the loss at Butler but is listed as probable for tonight's tilt.


'Over' Has Been Cash Cow Last 10 Meetings

It was the road teams that won both matchups in this series two seasons ago followed by home teams picking up the Ws in each contest last year. Xavier has the 12-10 overall advantage, a record that includes a 7-5 mark at home. Creighton has a string of five consecutive covers in the rivalry, two of those contests taking place at Cintas Center. The Musketeers were 10-point favorites on their home floor last season when they posted a 98-93 triumph in a game that saw the two teams combine for 25 3-pointers. The best way to have bet this series the last 10 years has been to play the 'over,' bettors holding those tickets returning to the pay window nine out of 10 times.

Even with Creighton shooting so well from the field, the last four lined Bluejays games stayed 'under' the totals, and that's where I'm going with my free college basketball pick to buck the series trend. Season record: 21-22-1 (-3.20).

NCAAB Free Pick: 'Under' 156.6Best Line Offered: BookMaker

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