College Basketball Picks: Northern Iowa Panthers vs. Creighton Bluejays

Northern Iowa Panthers at No. 12 Creighton Bluejays
Tuesday, 1/15/12, 8:00 PM EST, TV:  ESPN3
Opening Point Spread:  Creighton -13.5
Current Betting Line:  Creighton -11
Opening Total:  132
Current Total:  132
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

The Creighton Blue Jays are torching the nets early in Missouri Valley Conference play

Northern Iowa has alternated wins and losses over its last four games, as it comes off an 84-53 victory over the Bradley Braves as 7.5-point home favorites Saturday, while going OVER the posted total of 126.5.  The Panthers were one of three Missouri Valley Conference teams to limit Creighton’s Doug McDermott to fewer than 20 points each time he faced them last season.  The program is 16-19 all-time against Tuesday night’s foe, including a 2-2 mark in its last four trips to Omaha.  Northern Iowa is 4-5 ATS as an underdog this year, which is important to consider when making your college basketball picks against the spread.

The Panthers haven’t defeated a ranked conference opponent on the road since Dec. 30, 2006, which can’t be ignored when looking over the college basketball odds page.  Northern Iowa did tie a school record with 15 made 3-pointers versus the Braves, with senior guard Marc Sonnen burying seven of them.  Sophomore point guard Deon Mitchell also returned to the starting lineup, dishing out seven assists and scoring 15 points.

Creighton has won 10 consecutive games after capturing an impressive 74-52 victory over the Missouri State Bears as 14-point road favorites Friday, while going UNDER the posted total of 127.  The Bluejays were led by McDermott offensively in that affair, as he knocked down 15 of 19 shots to finish with a season-high 39 points.  “I was just in a zone,” he commented after the game.  These two teams split three-point decisions last year, with the home team winning each time.  Creighton is 5-0 ATS after allowing 60 points or less this season.

The Blue Jays deserve to be double-digit favorites in this contest, but it’s important to consider that 13 of the last 17 meetings have been decided by nine points or less in this series.  Creighton has made 55.5 percent of its shots in five conference games this year, while it has won 10 or more home games in 17 straight seasons.  The team has played 17 games this year, but has yet to have a single lead change in the final five minutes in any of them.

Sports bettors will likely play the total in this affair, with the OVER going 5-2 in the Bluejays’ last seven conference games.

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