Xavier vs Cincinnati Odds, Picks | Betting Guide to Crosstown Shootout

Xavier vs Cincinnati Odds, Picks | Betting Guide to Crosstown Shootout article feature image

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images. Pictured: Sean Miller (Xavier)

Xavier vs. Cincinnati Odds

Saturday, Dec. 10
3 p.m. ET
Xavier Odds
-110o / -110u
Cincinnati Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

13 years. It's been 13 long years since Sean Miller was on the sideline for the Crosstown Shootout. But the significance of the rivalry, the desire to win this game and how much it means to the schools, the fans and this city, that's not something you forget.

Miller was 3-2 in the Crosstown Shootout in his first time around as head coach of Xavier. Ahead of his return to the rivalry, his Musketeers are riding high, coming off of a big win over West Virginia and fellow ghost of Crosstown Shootout's past, Bob Huggins.

At the other end of the sideline is Wes Miller. In his second year leading the Bearcats, he's still in search of his first win in the rivalry.

Cincinnati is on a streak of its own, having won its last three games. However, the Bearcats will look to break a pattern that has seen them win three, lose three and win the next three so far this season.

Cincinnati will host this year's Crosstown Shootout at Fifth Third Arena, where it's 9-6 against Xavier. The Bearcats also hold the all-time series lead in the rivalry, 51-38.

However, as of Friday, it has been 1,462 days since Cincinnati beat Xavier, its last win over the Musketeers coming in 2018.

Can the Bearcats finally end the drought against a familiar foe who's back in the rivalry? It's been 5,840 days since Miller lost a game to Cincinnati.

Xavier Musketeers

Nine games into his first season back at Xavier, Miller returns to the rivalry, looking to extend the Musketeers' three-year win streak over the Bearcats.

Is there anything else that could make this one of the more important early games in year one for Miller?

Oh yes, it's Xavier's first true road game of the season. The Musketeers have played three games away from home so far — all have been on neutral courts — and they've lost two of them.

That doesn't mean much here, as not only is this going to be one of the most hostile environments they'll see all season, but both of those losses on neutral courts came against two of the top-15 teams in the nation in Duke and Gonzaga.

Xavier pushes the pace on offense and rarely misses, ranking 40th in Adjusted Tempo and sixth when it comes to effective field goal percentage.

The Musketeers are also one of the best 3-point shooting teams in the nation, hitting 43% of their attempts from deep.

But I wouldn't lean too heavily on that. It's partially due to the fact that they rank outside the top 300 in 3-point attempts, averaging just 7.2 made 3s per game.

Four different Musketeers come in at the 91st percentile or better when it comes to points per game. But while their starting five is stacked with elite scorers, it's a considerable drop off when you get to the bench.

Xavier sees just 16.8 points per game off the bench on average, which can be a major concern for a team that is averaging 17.7 fouls per game.

Defensively, Xavier hasn't been great, but it should be able to give the Bearcats fits, specifically on the glass.

The Musketeers are holding opponents to just 31.3 rebounds per game. Xavier's Zach Freemantle and Jack Nunge stand out specifically against Cincinnati, as they rank in the 95th and 91st percentile, respectively, when it comes to defensive rebounds per game.

The Bearcats have relied heavily on second-chance points to score the ball, averaging 15.7 per game on the season. If Freemantle and Nunge can shut down the offensive glass, it could get ugly quickly for the Bearcats.

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Cincinnati Bearcats

The Bearcats — like Xavier — are 6-3 on the season so far. However it's a much different 6-3 than the Musketeers.

Cincinnati has two losses against top-25 teams, but those came by a combined 36 points. The Bearcats also lost to Northern Kentucky and have not beaten a team ranked better than 179th (per KenPom).

While Xavier averages a seventh-best 84 points a game, the Bearcats are putting up 77.1 per contest. They have been slightly better than the Musketeers when it comes to defense, though, holding teams to 70.8 per game.

I don't see Cincinnati making much of an impact on defense against the fifth-best shooting team in the country, but its best chance to do so will be forcing turnovers.

Xavier ranks as one of the worst teams in the country when it comes to steals per game, allowing the ball to be taken on 10.9% of its possessions.

Cincinnati hasn't been great when it comes to forcing turnovers, but it'll need to figure out something if it's going to stop Xavier.

Fouling hasn't been a major issue for the Bearcats this season, but that could change quickly against a Musketeers team that is drawing 19.6 fouls and getting to the line 21.8 times per game on average.

And while their bench is not as bad as Xavier's, the Bearcats can't afford to lose players to foul trouble. Cincinnati's bench is adding just 18.4 points per game on the year.

Xavier vs. Cincinnati Betting Pick

Xavier is the better team here, and it's not really close. The Musketeers are miles ahead on offense and defense. They've played a tougher schedule, and they've done better against it. Cincinnati won't have an answer for them defensively and won't be able to keep up on offense.

But this is the Crosstown Shootout.

Rankings, records, spreads, assist/turnover ratios, personal foul efficiency — all that basically means nothing when two teams who don't like each other fight for a win.

David DeJulius went 1-of-5 from deep and 5-of-13 from the floor in last year's 20-point blowout loss to Xavier. Since he arrived in the Queen City from Michigan, he's 0-2 against Xavier.

In fact, no one on Cincinnati's roster has ever beaten Xavier. You think the Bearcats forgot what the last three years were like just because Travis Steele is gone?

This Cincinnati team is going to give it all it has, so while I expect it to be close, I do still think Xavier comes away with the win. Leave the points out of it in this one.

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Nick Sterling
Jun 15, 2024 UTC