Friday’s CBB Betting Previews: Austin Peay-Arkansas, Illinois-Chicago-Wright State

Friday’s CBB Betting Previews: Austin Peay-Arkansas, Illinois-Chicago-Wright State article feature image
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Billy Hurst-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Arkansas Razorbacks forward Daniel Gafford (10).

College basketball returns after what was essentially a two-day lay-off, including Illinois-Chicago-Wright State to tip-off Horizon League play before Austin Peay-Arkansas, which wraps up both teams’ non-conference dockets.

Which sides present more value? Let’s breakdown the matchups.


>> All odds as of Thursday night. Download The Action Network App to get real-time NCAAB odds and track your bets.


Illinois-Chicago Flames at Wright State Raiders

  • Spread: Wright State -7
  • Over/Under: 149
  • Time: 7 p.m. ET
  • TV channel: ESPN2

The Flames (4-7 against the spread) enter this game with 46th-ranked Effective Field Goal Percentage (54.9%) in the country, in large part because of their 56.2 two-point percentage. The Raiders (6-5 ATS) have struggled to defend all over the floor this season, but that doesn’t tell the whole story.

Even though Illinois-Chicago is accustomed to Wright State’s home venue, Steve McClain’s unit has struggled away from  the Windy City, failing to cover in five of their six road contests. It’s also amassed the 76th-highest Turnover Rate (21.1%) in the country while the Raiders own a 19.9 opponents’ Turnover Percentage.

Look for Scott Nagy’s crew to win that battle and generate quality looks in transition, as it’s manufactured the 21st-highest 3-point percentage (39.8%) in Division I. The preseason Horizon League favorites have also racked up a 36.9% Free Throw Rate (FTA/FGA), with the Flames yielding the 34th-worst rate.

Those factors should slow down UIC’s fast-paced attack, amassing the 49th-highest Average Possession Rate (15.9 seconds) in college basketball.

The Raiders are 7-9-1 (43.8%) ATS when favored by at least seven points dating back to the 2016-17 regular season. They’ll increase it after Friday’s affair.

THE PICK: Wright State -7

Austin Peay Governors at Arkansas Razorbacks

  • Spread: Arkansas -12.5
  • Over/Under: 153
  • Time: 8 p.m. ET
  • TV channel: SEC Network+

The Razorbacks (6-5 ATS) have failed to cover in their past four contests, yet I’m expecting a get-right game for Mike Anderson’s bunch vs. the Governors (5-5 ATS).

For one, Austin Peay presents one player above 6-foot-5 in its core rotation while Arkansas boasts the 77th-ranked Effective Height in the country. To make matters worse, the Governors are yielding the 38th-highest two-point percentage (56.2%), giving way for the 6-foot-11 Daniel Gafford (17.6 points per game) to string together a dominant performance.

Although he’s attempting roughly 10 shots per game, Anderson would be wise to revolve his gameplan around one of the best bigs in college hoops.

On the flip side, the Razorbacks have let up the 36th-lowest Effective Field Goal Percentage (45.6%) in the nation. Given Austin Peay’s 142nd-ranked Adjusted Offensive Efficiency, totaling 56.8% of its offense from the charity stripe, a double-digit line shouldn’t be a difficult cover. Their 21.9% opponents’ Turnover Rate — the 36th-highest in DI — will allow them to comfortably play at a speedy pace (41st-ranked Adjusted Tempo), too.

The Razorbacks are 27-22-1 (55.1%) ATS since the beginning of the 2016-17 regular season, and that trend will continue in Fayetteville, Ark.

THE PICK: Arkansas -12.5

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