Creighton guard Denzel Mahoney (34) drives the ball against Connecticut guard R.J. Cole in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Storrs, Conn., Sunday, Dec. 20, 2020. (David Butler II/Pool Photo via AP)
- Creighton Bluejays aim for fourth-straight win as they visit the Providence Friars as narrow road favorites
- Bluejays remain a fixture in the national rankings, but face a Friars squad riding a nine-game home winning streak
- We’ve got you covered with the odds and trends ahead of Saturday afternoon’s Big East matchup
The Creighton Bluejays eye a return to the top ten in the national rankings when they visit the Providence Friars on Saturday as 3.5-point favorites. The Bluejays entered the Christmas break riding a three-game SU win streak after posting a 66-61 win over Xavier, which also boosted the club to No. 11 in the AP Top 25 rankings.
The Friars are coming off a decisive 71-55 victory over Butler on Wednesday to improve to 3-1 SU in Big East conference play.
Here’s a look at the odds and trends ahead of Saturday afternoon’s matchup at Dunkin Donuts Center.
Creighton vs Providence Odds
|Creighton Bluejays||-3.5 (-106)||-164||O 146.5 (-110)|
|Providence Friars||+3.5 (-114)||+138||U 146.5 (-110)|
*Odds taken at FanDuel on 01/01/2021.
Bluejays Earning Wins, but Struggling at Sportsbooks
The Bluejays have marched to a steady 7-2 SU overall record, and have won three of four in conference play. However, the team has been a disappointment to sports bettors, compiling a middling 4-5 ATS record, and covering just once in dates with Big East rivals.
Creighton’s defense never held an opponent scoreless for 5:00 or longer in Big East play last season. They’ve now done it in each of their last two games, including an 8:10 stretch yesterday against Xavier. Teams that make deep runs in March play defense on a string like this. pic.twitter.com/LCTsPYr8Fu
— 𝓜𝓪𝓽𝓽 𝓓𝓮𝓜𝓪𝓻𝓲𝓷𝓲𝓼 (@mjdemarinis) December 25, 2020
While the Bluejays continue to sit at No. 9 in adjusted offensive efficiency at KenPom, last week’s win over the Musketeers marked their weakest scoring performance of the season. Creighton’s performance at the sportsbooks has also been impacted by an occasionally porous defense, but showed seasons of coming together in their recent wins over Xavier and UCONN.
Listed by KenPom at No. 40 in adjusted defensive efficiency, the Bluejays have surrendered over 70 points in five of their past six outings, fueling a 4-1 run for the OVER in totals betting.
Mahoney Leads Balanced Bluejays Attack
Senior guard Denzel Mahoney has been powering the Bluejays attack, averaging a team-leading 15.0 points per game. Mahoney has seen his point production taper off somewhat since the start of conference play.
However, he turned in a steady performance in a 76-74 overtime win over UCONN two weeks ago, recording his first double-double of the season, with 10 points and 13 rebounds. Mahoney is also one of five Creighton players sporting double-digit point averages so far this season.
Christian Bishop (10pts à 4/8, 7reb) et Denzel Mahoney (13pts, 5reb, 2ast) ont encore une fois sauvé la peau de Creighton. Cela devient une habitude.
De même que la maladresse de Marcus Zegarowski avec un sale 2/11… pic.twitter.com/P6FXW2tZv7
— #MidMajors (@MidnightCampus) December 24, 2020
The Bluejays enjoy a solid overall track record against the Friars, but have struggled in recent visits to Providence. The club was thoroughly outclassed in a 73-56 loss as 2-point underdogs in their most recent visit last February. Creighton has also posted outright wins in just three of 12 all-time road dates with the Friars since 1961, including a 1-1 SU record in two matchups as road chalk.
Indeed, struggles as small road chalk have not been uncommon for the Bluejays, who have gone 7-7 SU and 6-8 ATS in their past 14 away contests while favored by four or fewer points.
Friars Ride Home Win Streak
Unlike the Bluejays, it has been a busy holiday week for Providence. In addition to this week’s rout of Butler as 6-point home favorites, the Friars outlasted DePaul in a 95-90 victory, back on December 27, which marked the team’s second overtime win in four outings.
Providence survived a scare from DePaul today, 95-90 in Double OT. Friars can thank AJ Reeves for another heroic 3-ball late to get the game into an extra session.#BIGEASThoops
— Rocco Miller (@roccomiller8) December 28, 2020
Those wins also extended Providence’s growing winning streak at home, where they have now recorded nine-straight outright wins, and sport a 16-3 SU record since the beginning of last season.
Duke, Watson Lead the Charge
Providence has also received steady contributions from the duo of junior guard David Duke and senior big man Nate Watson. Duke has steadily heated up since the beginning of December, leading the team with 19.9 points per game, and recording double-doubles in two of four outings.
Watson has also recorded a pair of double-doubles over the past four games, and leads the squad with 6.9 rebounds per game.
🔥 @Duuukkeee was on another level for @PCFriarsmbb
He picked up a double-double with 22 points and 13 rebounds today for the Friars ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/qyMZXjIFLq
— FOX College Hoops (@CBBonFOX) December 30, 2020
The Friars have struggled to reward loyal sports bettors this season, going 4-6 ATS, and have posted just one SU win as home underdogs in their past five contests. And while the Friars have managed to score 79 or more points in four of six outings, they have struggled horribly from 3-point country.
The team has hit on just 27.3% of attempts, leaving them ranked a distant 306th in the nation. However, it has been 3-pointers from junior guard AJ Reeves that forced overtime in the two contests that have gone to an extra frame this season.
The Picks: Friars +3.5 (-114); OVER 146.5 (-110)
Daniel has been writing about sports and sports betting for over 23 years. The seasoned pro has contributed to the likes of Sports Illustrated, Sportsnet, NESN, Bleacher Report, OddsShark, the Globe and Mail, and The Nation magazine.