North Dakota State forward Rocky Kreuser (34) center, celebrates his 3-point basket with Jarius Cook (11) and Sam Griesel (5) as head coach David Richman, right rear, and the rest of the bench look on in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against TCU in Fort Worth, Texas, Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
- The North Dakota Fighting Hawks (5-14, 4-6 Summit League) play the Denver Pioneers (1-12, 0-6 Summit League) on Friday, February 5th
- Denver has only won one game this season and North Dakota has only won two of their last seven
- See the odds, spread, analysis, and best bet below
Basketball fans are in for a treat when the North Dakota Fighting Hawks and Denver Pioneers play the first of two games this weekend on Friday (Feb. 5th, 2:00 pm ET).
The Pioneers are still in search of their first conference win of the season. Last weekend’s series with South Dakota State was cancelled due to Covid-19 concerns in the Jackrabbits’ program. The last time Denver played they were bodied by North Dakota State 84-58. As for North Dakota State, they split last weekend’s series with West Illinois losing the last game 99-87.
These programs have only played four times with the Fighting Hawks winning all four meetings. The current odds are showing North Dakota as two point favorites in this matchup.
North Dakota vs Denver Odds
|North Dakota Fighting Hawks||-2.5 (-112)||-148||Over 142.5 (-110)|
|Denver Pioneers||+2.5 (-108)||+126||Under 142.5 (-110)|
Odds as of Feb 4th at FanDuel
Tough to Figure North Dakota Out
As a team, the Fighting Hawks shake out as a team that can’t score but also gives up a lot of points. Obviously that is less than ideal when trying to win games but there is reason to believe they have turned a corner. At least offensively. In their last four games, North Dakota has averaged 79 points per contest and that offense poured in 87 points in their last game against West Illinois.
Final from Grand Forks. We will settle for the split. #UNDproud | #LGH pic.twitter.com/Sx4ImcpJbK
— North Dakota Men’s Basketball (@UNDmbasketball) January 31, 2021
The West Illinois game was an absolute shootout as both teams went way over their normal scoring outputs. Getting to the free throw line seemed to be the name of the game as the two teams combined for 61 attempts from the charity stripe. Filip Rebraca ended up on the line 10 times and led the Fighting Hawks in scoring with 24 points on the night.
Denver Needs Some Life
Not much was expected of the Pioneers going into the season as they ranked second to last in the Summit League’s pre-season poll. So far, Denver has delivered on those expectations. Defensively, they are close to the bottom in college basketball in terms of efficiency ranking 344 of 357 teams (adjusted for opponent). That defense was on display in their last game against North Dakota State.
– Townsend and Bickham each with 10 pts#PioneerTogether pic.twitter.com/3f2auvRiXa
— Denver Men’s Hoops (@DU_MHoops) January 24, 2021
The Pioneers are used to getting run out of the gym in the first half of games and this one was no different. Only eleven teams in the country give up more points per game in the first half than Denver so far this season. The Bison took full advantage of the sieve that is the Pioneers’ defense and hung 46 points in the opening half. The game was never close and North Dakota State easily covered as 13.5 point favorites.
Best Betting Angle
It would be hard to pick a side in this one given the ineptitude of each program but the total seems like it could be in play. Neither team has proven to be much of a threat offensively against good defenses but they have shown the ability to score on bad defenses. Both of these teams qualify as bad defenses so a play on the over may be in order.
Obviously Denver’s defense is bad given the 344 ranking but North Dakota’s defense is not much better at 293 according to KenPom. Oral Roberts is a similarly bad defense and Denver posted two games in the 80s against them. The Golden Eagles play at a faster pace than North Dakota but the Fighting Hawks seem to play at the pace of their opponents as evidenced by the 76 possessions in their last game.
One thing that will help the over is free throws. North Dakota has proven they can get to the free throw line as they went 24 times last game. Denver’s puts their opponents on the line an average of 21 times per contest which is good for 287th in the nation. The over is definitely in play on Friday afternoon.
Pick: Over 142.5 (-110)
John has spent the past 20+ years betting sports on a daily basis and is considered by many to be a walking sports betting encyclopedia. From obscure player props to sides and totals, if there is an angle, John will find it.