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College Basketball Odds, Picks, Predictions for Iowa State vs. Creighton: Back the Cyclones in Omaha

College Basketball Odds, Picks, Predictions for Iowa State vs. Creighton: Back the Cyclones in Omaha article feature image

Sarah Stier/Getty Images. Pictured: Izaiah Brockington.

  • Iowa State takes on Creighton in the Big East-Big 12 Battle.
  • Few teams improved more over the offseason than Iowa State.
  • Anthony Dabbundo dives into this game and offers up his betting prediction.

Iowa State vs. Creighton Odds

Saturday, Dec. 4
9 p.m. ET
Iowa State Odds
-110o / -110u
Creighton Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

Few teams have had more season-over-season improvement than Iowa State this year under new head coach T.J. Otzelberger. The Cyclones have won all seven of their games in 2021-22, but they will be tested on the road for the first time this season when they visit Creighton on Saturday.

The Blue Jays have almost no returning production from last season’s excellent campaign, and it’s showed in their early-season results. Creighton only has one loss to Colorado State, but it has struggled against lower-tier, small-major programs.

Iowa State won the NIT Season Tip-Off in Brooklyn during Feast Week with consecutive wins against Xavier and Memphis, and Otzelberger’s group of transfers have meshed faster than the market and public thought they would, leading to a significant increase in the perception of the Cyclones’ overall quality.

Iowa State Cyclones

The advanced metrics algorithms like KenPom and Bart Torvik tend to be slow to catch up to ascending teams like Iowa State, and I think that’s the case here for the Cyclones. The defense is as good as any unit in the country, as they rank 13th in Torvik’s defensive efficiency through seven games.

There’s major question marks about the offense in the half court that still have to be answered. Specifically whether they can consistently score if they get slowed down, but Creighton isn’t really the team to slow them down and test their ability in the half court.

Izaiah Brockington transferred from Penn State, freshman point guard Tyrese Hunter has great assist numbers thus far and experienced shooting guard Gabe Kalscheur came in from Minnesota.

The Cyclones don’t have a ton of height, but they guard better than their size and have held up well against teams bigger than them who like to score inside, like Xavier and Memphis.

That will be a major key in this game on Saturday as Creighton relies heavily on interior scoring and really struggles to shoot from the perimeter.

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Creighton Bluejays

Greg McDermott’s squad has only one loss, but it has really struggled against inferior opponents this year. Per Bart Torvik, Creighton is just 107th this season in overall team efficiency once prior seasons are removed from the sample and just the eight games played are included. One major reason for the poor numbers has been the lack of returning production.

Creighton is bottom half in bench minutes, and in the 300s in both returning production and minutes continuity. The Bluejays have very few shooters on the current roster and rely on interior scoring more than almost every team in the country. Only seven teams have more points from 2s than the Bluejays this season, and Iowa State’s physical defense should make it hard for them to convert contested shots, despite the Bluejays’ size advantage.

The biggest issue for Creighton has been the turnovers: It forces very few of them and turns it over a lot itself. It leads to a lot of empty possessions and makes it hard to back a team as a favorite when they have the worse defense as well.

The Bluejays haven’t shown an ability to replace the entire starting five that they lost, including their primary scorer in Marcus Zegarowski, primary shooter in Mitch Ballack and best big in Christian Bishop. This has all the makings of a transition and rebuild year for Creighton, and the market still isn’t pricing that in here.

Iowa State vs. Creighton Betting Pick

Ranked teams are just 1-14 against the spread this season on the road against unranked teams, but this is an example of the market not catching up to the true strength of both teams even this far into the season.

Iowa State’s defense should be able to reign in a Creighton offense that’s limited from beyond the arc and has major turnover issues. While Iowa State’s half court offense isn’t anything special, turnovers should enable it to get out and run at a faster pace and use its superior athleticism in the open floor.

The Cyclones have played like a top-25 team, and Creighton hasn’t looked anything close to an NCAA Tournament team at this point in the season. So while you could claim this a good buy-low, sell-high spot on Creighton here, I think it’s more likely the market is still catching up to the true strength of these teams, especially Iowa State, who’s heavily driven by a new coach and some transfers.

As 4.5-point underdogs, this game appears to be a tossup on paper, so even though it is ISU’s first true road game, back the Cyclones’ defense to keep this game close late.

Pick: Iowa State +4.5

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