College Basketball Odds, Picks & Predictions for Creighton vs. BYU (Saturday, Dec. 10)
Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images. Pictured: Trey Alexander (Creighton)
Creighton vs. BYU Odds
Creighton and BYU will meet at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas as part of the Jack Jones Hoopfest.
The event features three games Saturday, then another Monday night. The matchups are pre-set, so no matter who wins, Creighton and Arizona State play the Monday night game.
This weekend offers an interesting opportunity for a Creighton team that has Final Four aspirations, but is riding a three-game losing streak.
Let's look into the odds and make a pick for the Creighton vs. BYU game.
Every year it seems there's one team in college basketball surrounded by an exhausting level of discourse, though this could be my own fault for the amount of time I spend immersed in "College Basketball Twitter".
Last year, it was the lucky Friars from Providence who couldn't seem to be normal for a moment. This year, Creighton is the early favorite.
People have been bickering about the Bluejays since BetMGM listed Creighton at +10000 to win the 2023 title, well off of early lines of other books. Greg McDermott then added one of the premier free agents in the sport via the transfer portal — South Dakota State's Baylor Scheierman — which set off the hype train and a wave of backlash.
Over a month into the season, both sides are still trying to pile up evidence in their favor. Creighton started with four easy wins over lesser competition before reaching the Maui Invitational final with impressive wins over Texas Tech and Arkansas. The Bluejays dropped the title game by just two to Arizona, which did little to squash the optimism of Creighton believers.
Since Maui, Creighton lost to Texas and lost to in-state rival Nebraska. The Creighton non-believers pounced.
Where do I stand on the Bluejays?
Just about where I started: more positive than negative with questions about their ceiling. Creighton's a top three team in the Big East with a chance to make a run in March if it can minimize its flaws and find a way to get stops. That was as true in the first week of December as it was in the first week of October.
The Arizona loss shouldn't raise alarm bells and I'm not going to get too worked up over the following two defeats, in which the Bluejays shot a combined 14-for-67 (20.9%) from three-point range. The talent is there, but Creighton has to be more sound defensively to give itself a chance on nights when shots aren't falling.
There was a pretty sound argument that entering December, BYU had beaten the four worst teams on its schedule, and lost to the three best teams it played (this argument hinges on your projection of injury riddled Dayton).
However, with two December games in the books, that is far from the case. Back-to-back losses to lesser competition have raised major questions. Losing to South Dakota (KenPom No. 246) is bad. Getting routed by Utah Valley in your own building might be worse.
If we're going to use bad three-point shooting as an excuse for Creighton, we have to be consistent and mention that the Cougars shot a combined 19.6% in those losses. Making excuses against KenPom's third-ranked defense and a Big Ten team (as we did for Creighton) feels a lot different than making them against second-tier teams from the Summit League and WAC.
There's absolutely going to be some shooting regression for the Cougars, who have shot just 28.6% from deep this year, while their opponents have been red hot at 37.7%. However, that regression won't make much difference if BYU can't solve its turnover woes. The Cougars are committing more than 15 turnovers per game, coughing it up on nearly a quarter of their possessions.
Creighton vs. BYU Betting Pick
Both of these teams enter this game ice cold shooting the ball. That is bound to change by the end of this weekend and if I'm betting on one of these teams to snap out of its funk, I'm leaning to Creighton.
The Bluejays have much more shooting talent than they've shown in their past two games. Baylor Scheierman is one of the best shooters in the nation and missed his first 10(!) attempts from deep against Texas. I'd wager he bounces back in a big way soon, with several of his teammates likely follow suit.
McDermott will have his team ready to attack from the tip Saturday night, so I like the Bluejays to cover the first-half spread.