Cancun Challenge Odds, Picks | Bradley vs. Liberty Betting Preview
Photo by George Walker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Darius McGhee (Liberty)
Bradley vs. Liberty Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
And while it may be unfortunate for them, it does present us with an excellent matchup between two strong mid-major teams that are both expected to compete for top spots in their respective conferences this season.
For Bradley, the 21-point loss to Auburn was just its second of the season, both of which have come against undefeated teams ranked in the top 50, per KenPom.
Liberty, meanwhile, had its second loss in a row and its third on the season. The Flames are establishing a bit of a trend, as well, albeit with minimal sample size. They have lost every game in which they shoot worse than 35% from beyond the arc.
Bradley has allowed every Division I team its played this season — except Eastern Michigan — to shoot better than 35% from beyond the arc.
Can Liberty take advantage on the perimeter and get back in the win column?
Against Auburn, the Braves were dominated both in the paint and on the boards. The Tigers outscored Bradley by 20 when it came to points in the paint and out-rebounded it by seven.
But those are things you would expect against a Power Five team ranked inside the top 25 like Auburn.
The same can likely be said for the 15 turnovers the Braves gave up; the Tigers are an elite team when it comes to steals and creating turnovers on defense.
We also knew coming into the game Bradley would be without three of its key players, as Zek Montgomery, Rienk Mast and Ja'Shon Henry were all out. They did, however, get Connor Hickman back from injury, and he — along with Duke Deen — led the team in scoring with 15 points.
What's concerning for Bradley is the lack of offense that came from the rest of the team. Deen and Hickman accounted for nearly half of the team's points, Malevy Leons was the only other player who scored in double digits, putting up 11.
Another lingering issue for the Braves has been fouling. In three of their past four games, the Braves — as a team — have had 17 or more fouls.
That's something they can't afford to do against Liberty, which is a top-30 team so far this season at the charity stripe.
The Flames have one of the best players in the ASUN in Darius McGhee, who leads the team in scoring by averaging 20.8 points per game.
However, Brody Peebles is the only other player averaging in double digits so far this season.
The team, as a whole, hasn't been necessarily bad on offense — the Flames have posted an effective field goal percentage of 51.2% — but there's a serious issue with the unit that can't be overlooked.
The Flames rely entirely too much on the 3. Liberty ranks 22nd nationally in 3-point attempts, but it's 315th when it comes to field-goal attempts. If the team isn't hitting from beyond the arc, it isn't scoring.
Defensively, there isn't much to write home about, either. Liberty is allowing opposing teams to score 75 points per game and post an effective field goal percentage of 54%.
If 3s aren't falling for the Flames, things could get out of hand quickly.
Bradley vs. Liberty Betting Pick
The Braves will likely be without key players once again when they take on Liberty. Being short-handed will likely make their 3-point defense even worse, which as I mentioned is already lacking.
I expect Liberty to take full advantage of Bradley's struggles on the perimeter.
Back the Flames as high as a 3-point favorite in this matchup
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