NCAA Basketball Predictions: Xavier Musketeers vs. Cincinnati Bearcats

Xavier Musketeers vs. Cincinnati Bearcats
Wednesday, 12/19/12, 7:00 PM EST, TV:  ESPN2
Opening Point Spread:  Cincinnati -8
Current Betting Line:  Cincinnati -7.5
Opening Total:  135.5
Current Total:  134
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

The favorite has covered the last four meetings between the Cincinnati Bearcats and Xavier Musketeers

Xavier has won four of its last five games, including a 62-55 victory over Kent State as eight-point home favorites.  The Musketeers are 31-48 all-time against the Bearcats, but they’ve won seven out of the last 10 meetings, including a 76-53 blowout win as 7.5-point home favorites last year.  Freshman guard Semaj Christon is the player to watch offensively, averaging a team-high 15.8 points and 5.4 assists per game.  Xavier is 3-12 ATS in December the last two-plus years, while the OVER is 8-7 in that situation.

The Musketeers are always going to be a dangerous underdog when looking over the college basketball betting odds, considering their one of four teams that have made the NCAA Sweet 16 four times in the last five years.  This will be the 11th meeting between the two rivals at the U.S. Bank Arena, with each side winning three games apiece in the last six meetings.  Xavier returned no starters from last year’s team, but is still shooting 49.9 percent from the floor as a team.

Cincinnati enters this high stakes game with a perfect 10-0 record to start the 2012-13 college basketball season, as it comes off a 72-56 victory over the Marshall Thundering Herd as 13-point neutral-site favorites Saturday.  The Bearcats have three probable starters averaging in double figures, with junior guard Sean Kilpatrick leading the way, scoring 19.3 points per game.  The program has the upper hand in terms of streaks at this venue, as it has proven victorious in its last 17 tries.  Cincinnati is 3-0 ATS on a neutral floor this year, which can’t be ignored when making your NCAA basketball predictions.

The Bearcats will lean on Kilpatrick on the offensive end, considering he’s scored in double figures in all 10 games this season, but Cashmere Wright is dangerous on the perimeter, as he ranks third in the Big East Conference in shooting 47.5 percent from beyond the arc.  Cincinnati has the nation’s sixth-best scoring offense in averaging 83.0 points per game, while sitting seventh in allowing opponents to shoot 34.5 percent from the floor.

Sports bettors will likely back the Bearcats due to the favorite covering the last four meetings in this series, while the Musketeers are 0-2 ATS when playing with seven or more days of rest.

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