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College Basketball Odds, Picks for Murray State vs. Belmont: Why to Bet the Bruins at Home

College Basketball Odds, Picks for Murray State vs. Belmont: Why to Bet the Bruins at Home article feature image

Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Will Richard.

  • The Murray State Racers travel to Nashville to take on the Belmont Bruins on Saturday afternoon.
  • The Bruins enter as -6.5 favorites, according to updated odds from BetMGM.
  • Keg breaks down how to bet this mid-major matchup below.

Murray State vs. Belmont Odds

Saturday, Jan. 15
5 p.m. ET
Murray State Odds
-110o / -110u
Belmont Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

The Murray State Racers will head to Nashville on Saturday looking to turn a three-game win streak into four against Belmont.

It will be a matchup of unbeatens in the Ohio Valley Conference, as both teams are currently 3-0 in the early portion of the 2021-22 league season that features an 18-game schedule.

The Racers and Bruins both won games Thursday, each on their respective home floors. Murray defeated Tennessee State, 67-44, while Belmont breezed past Tennessee Tech, 92-77.

Beginning in 2013, when Belmont joined the OVC, this game has consistently been a deciding factor in which team from the conference would go on to make the NCAA Tournament. In 2013, 2015, 2018, 2019 and 2020, these two teams squared off in the conference championship. Murray State won just two of those meetings in 2018 and 2019.

And while Belmont leads the all-time series, 12-9, the record has been much different inside the Curb Center. Murray State is 0-5 in the Curb since both teams became members of the OVC.

A win Saturday would put the Racers one game ahead of the Bruins in the standings with another matchup scheduled on Feb. 24 at Murray.

Another issue for Murray will be where it finds itself in its schedule. Due to COVID-19 delays and rescheduling, the Racers are in a stretch of seven games in 16 days. Belmont will be their third game in the demanding stretch.

Belmont is on an eight-game win streak and currently sits 7-0 at the Curb so far this season. But while that sounds outstanding, over the 19 seasons the Bruins have played there, they have won 88% of their home games and an unthinkable 90.3% of their home Ohio Valley Conference games.

So, will Murray State make a splash and not only secure its first win ever at the Curb, but move into first place in the OVC?

Murray State Racers

Murray State is the top team in the OVC, scoring 16.9 fast-break points per game so far this year, but it’s third in total points per game at 76.4.

The Racers have been led by Tevin Brown, who was named to the Lou Henson National Player of the Year watch list this week. KJ Williams has also impressed, ranking sixth in the conference in scoring with 15.6 points per contest.

Brown and Williams have also been marking their presence in the history books. Brown recently became the third MSU player to score 1,000 points, grab 500 rebounds and dish out 350 assists, while Williams is the ninth Racer to score 1,000 career points and grab 700 rebounds.

Brown enters the Belmont game 11th in program history with 1,619 points, and Williams is 25th with 1,298 points. Brown is also chasing the MSU and OVC 3-point record, which sit at 304 for Murray State and 319 for the OVC. He enters the game at 298 in his career with 73 on the season, which ranks him first in all OVC 3-point categories, 10th in the nation in made 3s, and 25th in 3-point percentage.

While Brown and Williams have been one of the best offensive duos in college basketball, the Murray State defense has been solid as a whole.

The Racers limit teams to just 66.3 points per game and have held opposing teams to just 42.8% from the floor.

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Belmont Bruins

The Bruins have been an offensive powerhouse year in and year out, and nothing’s changed this season for Casey Alexander and his squad. Belmont ranks fifth in the country in points per game at 80.5 per contest and is posting the 29th-best scoring margin of +11.1.

And it’s not just one or two players making an impact for the Bruins. Five players are averaging eight points per game or more. Belmont also leads the league in field goal percentage at 50.5%.

Leading that list is Nick Muszynski with 16.5 points a game. He also leads the team in blocks at 1.9 per contest. Over the last 10 games, Muszynski is shooting 60.7% from the field and averaging 15.4 points. He currently ranks fourth in the OVC in field goal percentage.

And like the Racers, the Bruins have a 3-point threat of their own.

Ben Sheppard averages 2.4 made 3-pointers per game, scoring 15.9 points while shooting 38.3% from beyond the arc.

When it comes to defense, the Bruins haven’t been as good as the Racers, allowing opponents to average 69.4 points per game.

But they have been much better than Murray in both blocks and steals. Belmont ranks 65th in the country in block percentage and 25th in steal percentage.

Murray State vs. Belmont Betting Pick

I don’t think I can say this enough: the Racers have never, at any point in time, beaten the Bruins in the Curb Event Center. Ever.

Belmont is miles ahead as a team on offense and slightly better on defense. Because of that, I don’t think Murray State will be getting its first win in this venue.

I’m taking Belmont as a 5.5-point favorite, but I wouldn’t bet it any higher than 6, as I do believe this will be a competitive game.

Pick: Belmont -6 or better

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