Sunday College Basketball Odds, Picks, Predictions: Loyola Chicago Ramblers vs. Drake Bulldogs Betting Preview
Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Loyola Chicago coach Drew Valentine.
- Loyola Chicago and Drake meet for a crucial Missouri Valley Conference matchup.
- The Ramblers are 7-1 in conference play this season, but Drake has lost just one time in 11 home games.
- Collin Barnes breaks down the game below and gives his top pick.
Loyola Chicago vs. Drake Odds
|Loyola Chicago Odds|
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
Drake will host Loyola Chicago in a rematch of last year’s Missouri Valley Conference championship game. Drake was the favorite to win the MVC regular season in preseason, but it now finds itself second in the conference behind only Loyola Chicago.
The Ramblers will look to maintain an unbeaten record on the road this season, currently sitting at 5-0. They have also won 12 of their last their last 13 road games. The singular loss, however, came against this Drake team.
The Bulldogs have fought hard to be 6-2 in the MVC. Three of their last five wins have come by just one point, with their last two games ending in overtime. Drake is 10-1 at home this season and 24-2 last since last year.
Loyola Chicago sits at 7-1 in conference play, and for the second year in a row has won seven of its first eight league games.
Sunday’s meeting will be the 37th matchup between the two, dating back to 1934. Loyola not only holds a 22-14 series lead, but it has won eight of the last 10. It hasn’t been easy for the Ramblers though, as seven of the last 15 contests have been decided by fewer than five points.
Will we see another nail biter in this preview of a potential MVC championship game?
The Ramblers’ last win was a defensive dream, and not only that, it was a historical win for Loyola Chicago. The 44-39 win was the lowest scoring total in a win for for the Ramblers since 1950.
Offensively, the Ramblers rank fourth in the MVC and 88th in the nation averaging 73.9 points per game. But in scoring margin Loyola leads the conference at +13.6. Four different Ramblers are averaging more than nine points per game, led by Lucas Williamson who paces the team at 12.4 points per game. Williamson also leads the team in rebounds and steals with 4.9 per and 1.2 per game, respectively.
Loyola is one of the best teams in the country when it comes to effective shooting. It ranks ninth in the country in effective FG% at 56.2% and eighth in shooting efficiency. The Ramblers are a top-25 team in both three- and two-point shooting percentage.
Loyola’s offense is one of the best, but the defense is what sets it apart. Most teams are good at one or the other, but Loyola is incredibly balanced and efficient on both ends the floor. The Ramblers rank 22nd in Division I in scoring defense, surrendering just 61.7 points per contest. They also boast an MVC-best turnover margin at +2.47. Loyola Chicago is limiting teams to an effective field goal percentage of only 47.5%.
Slowing down the Loyola offense is hard enough, but getting past its defense may prove to be even more difficult.
The Bulldogs have been led by Tucker DeVries who paces the team with 13.5 points per contest. He is one of four Bulldogs scoring in double digits, while Tremell Murphy is just shy of that mark, averaging 9.9 per contest.
Drake is the only MVC team that has had six players score in double figures in two games this season. The Bulldogs have also had four games in which five players or more reached double-figure scoring. As a team the Bulldogs are scoring 74.3 points per contest.
One thing to note as well for the matchup with Loyola is that ShanQuan Hemphill has returned to the Drake lineup. Hemphill made his return against Illinois State on Wednesday after missing the previous four games due to a foot injury. Against Illinois State he scored 15 points and tacked on seven rebounds, his second highest rebounding effort of the season.
On defense the Bulldogs rank 131st in the nation, holding teams to just 67.8 points per contest. And while they haven’t been bad, they are quite a mismatch for the Loyola offense. Drake is 248th nationally in opponent three-point shooting percentage, allowing teams to hit at a 35% clip.
Loyola Chicago vs. Drake Betting Pick
Loyola is the better team, but it cant be overlooked just how dominant the Bulldogs have been at home. Drake has been a home underdog just one other time this season, against Alabama.
And while the Bulldogs didn’t cover then, I think not only is Alabama a better team on the road than Loyola, but more importantly this game is much more significant to the Bulldogs.
I’ll take the points in what I expect to be a down-to-the-wire game as it usually is.
Pick: Drake +3 or better
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