College Basketball Odds, Pick & Preview for Abilene Christian vs. Grand Canyon (Thursday, Jan. 13)
Jacob Snow/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: The Grand Canyon student section.
- Thursday features a fun mid-major matchup on national TV in one of the best atmospheres the sport has to offer.
- Abilene Christian and Grand Canyon will be battling it out all season for WAC supremacy.
- Continue reading for a full breakdown of the matchup, including a betting pick.
Abilene Christian vs. Grand Canyon Odds
|Abilene Christian Odds|
+100o / -120u
|Grand Canyon Odds|
+100o / -120u
The Abilene Christian Wildcats will look to get back on track Thursday night as they travel to GCU to take on the Antelopes. The Wildcats have lost two games in a row, both on their home court against conference opponents in Stephen F. Austin and Sam Houston, and getting back on track may be easier said than done.
Grand Canyon is 2-0 in conference play and looking to make a push for first place in the Western Athletic Conference. The Antelopes have played only two games since Dec. 18 because of COVID issues.
Both teams have been defensively minded squads, which I think this game will be centered around. Whichever team can make strides offensively will likely come out on top, So who will it be?
I also would regret if I did not specifically inform you that this will be the first time this year the GCU havoc is featured on national TV. If you haven’t seen the Grand Canyon student section I advise you to climb out from under your rock and get to a TV with ESPN.
The Wildcats have had some serious issues when it comes to scoring. Even though they average 72.3 points per game, that is in large part because of the lack of strength of opposition to date.
The Wildcats post an effective field goal percentage of just 48.3%, and they have been even worse when it comes to scoring around the basket. They hit 2-point shots at just 47%, ranking 268th in the country.
However there is one big advantage Abilene Christian has on the court: turnovers. The Wildcats have forced opponents into 348 turnovers overall this season, doing so on 29.4% of defensive plays.
Getting those turnovers at a consistent rate against GCU will be a must if the Wildcats want to compete in this game.
The Antelopes are 8-1 at home on the season. Jovan Blacksher Jr. leads them with 16.8 points a game while Holland Woods II has also been an important part of the offensive production, averaging 13.6 points a game. As a team, the Antelopes are posting the exact same scoring average per game as the Wildcats at 72.3 points per game.
But there’s a very big advantage on the boards for the ‘lopes, who average 41.8 rebounds per game compared to ACU’s 31.7. The difference will be one of the biggest factors as the Antelopes rank inside the top 10 in the country in rebounding, while ACU is 307th.
On defense, Grand Canyon has limited opponents to a 21st-best 60.6 points per game, The Antelopes have been even better at limiting assist, with the fourth-best opponent assist rate at just 8.7 per game.
When it comes to shooting, the Antelopes are one of the best defensive teams In the country. Grand Canyon ranks first in 3-point defense, allowing just 24.3% from deep and is also seventh in defensive effective field goal percentage.
Abilene Christian vs. Grand Canyon Betting Pick
First and foremost, this game is can’t-miss college basketball and I encourage anyone unfamiliar with these programs to tune in for what should be an excellent matchup between two smaller schools.
Both of these teams are strong contenders to win the WAC, but I think Grand Canyon gets the win at home. The Antelopes are better on both ends of the court and will benefit greatly from one of the best home environments in all of college basketball.
The Wildcats have been impressive ATS on the road at 4-1 on season. But this will be the first time they face GCU’s raucous home crowd. I don’t care if you’re a blue blood top-five team in the nation, it’s not an easy place to play.
I’m taking Grand Canyon at -4.5 and would feel comfortable taking them as high as a six point favorite.
HEART EYES!!! YOU GUYS THIS YEAR IS GONNA BE WILD!!!!!!!!!! pic.twitter.com/2EmnVX6o53
— GCU Havocs (@GCUHavocs) September 4, 2021