College Basketball Odds, Picks & Predictions for Creighton vs. Marquette (Saturday, Jan. 1)
Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images. Pictured: Ryan Kalkbrenner (creighton)
- Creighton and Marquette go to battle in what is expected to be a tight college basketball matchup on Saturday.
- Updated odds make the Bluejays one-point favorites, but the moneyline is -110 both ways.
- Shane McNichol breaks down the game below and shares his top betting pick.
Creighton vs. Marquette Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
Creighton kicked off the Big East season with a statement win, taking care of league-favorite Villanova in Omaha by a wide margin. If the Bluejays intend to contend for the conference crown, their next opportunity to impress comes on New Year’s Day.
Creighton will travel to Milwaukee to tangle with a Marquette team desperate for a win. Shaka Smart had his new program buzzing — with early-season wins over Illinois and West Virginia — yet things have cooled off for the Golden Eagles.
Marquette has lost five out of eight games, including three in a row and its first two conference games.
With both teams hungry for a win to kick off 2022, this game could go either way.
Greg McDermott is one of the best offensive basketball coaches in the college game. In 11 prior seasons at Creighton, his teams have finished outside the top 50 in offensive efficiency just twice and have never ranked lower than 66th in that stat.
McDermott’s offense is built around movement and attacking variables in the defense, rather than isolation and dribble-drives. Even when his son Doug McDermott was leading the offense and winning the Wooden Award, Creighton was built for space and motion to create room for shooters.
This year, the ball has primarily been in the hands of freshman point guard Ryan Nembhard, younger brother of Gonzaga’s star guard Andrew Nembhard.
McDermott’s scheme gives Nembhard the chance to quarterback in the half court and creates space for tough-to-match players like freshman Arthur Kaluma and DII transfer Ryan Hawkins.
On the other end of the floor, the Bluejays won’t stymie anyone with athleticism, but Creighton’s defense thrives on basketball IQ. Creighton holds opponents to a low field goal percentage and, most importantly, ranks in the top five in the nation in free throw rate allowed.
Smart’s teams at VCU played fast on both ends of the floor, especially with their pressure defense that earned the “Havoc” moniker.
At Texas, however, Smart’s teams slowed down, drastically. Smart’s VCU teams ranked below the average tempo in college basketball just once, peaking as the 22nd-fastest team in 2014.
At Texas, Smart finished in the top half of tempo just once, ranking among the 65 slowest teams in college basketball in four out of his six seasons.
If the first half of his first season in Milwaukee is an indication, Smart is back to his old ways. Marquette is playing among the 10 fastest tempos in the sport, with the second-fastest average offensive possession.
The Golden Eagles have the backcourt talent to run, with Maryland transfer Darryl Morsell leading the way. After a successful four-year career with the Terps, Morsell has already topped his Maryland career-high scoring mark in four of Marquette’s first 13 games.
On Marquette’s recent three-game skid, it’s been defense and rebounding that have caused trouble for the Golden Eagles. Marquette’s desire to speed up the game bit the Eagles against Xavier, when Marquette sent the Musketeers to the free throw line 35 times.
Creighton vs. Marquette Betting Pick
The oddsmakers have this game pegged well.
While Fiserv Forum has generally been good to the Golden Eagles, Marquette hasn’t always taken care of business in the building it shares with the Bucks. Since 2018, Marquette is 30-26 ATS at home.
While this game will be more fun and aesthetically pleasing when Creighton’s offense tries to crack the Marquette defense, the game will be decided on the other end of the floor.
If Morsell in particular is able to get to his spots, Marquette can find the shots it needs to score with Creighton. If this young, still gelling Bluejay team can put up a strong defensive effort, Creighton has the upper hand.
In a conference battle like, I’m inclined to take the better team, even on the road. DraftKings has Creighton -1.5, which is just enough to favor the Bluejays.
I’ll have my eye on the line, and any COVID or injury news out of both programs, hoping for movement toward Marquette to make that line even juicier.
If it doesn’t budge, a live bet on Creighton would make sense if the Bluejays have a slow start.
Pick: Creighton -1.5