Thursday College Basketball Odds, Pick, Prediction: Oakland Grizzlies vs. Cleveland State Vikings
Justin Casterline/Getty Images. Pictured: Jalen Moore
- The Golden Grizzlies take on the Vikings on Thursday night in a matchup of the two top teams in the Horizon League.
- Cleveland State is a slight favorite in a game that is being viewed as close to a Pick'em.
- Continue reading for a full breakdown of the matchup, including a betting pick.
Oakland vs. Cleveland State Odds
-110o / -110u
|Cleveland State Odds|
-110o / -110u
On Thursday night we will see a likely preview of the Horizon League championship game when the first-place Cleveland State Vikings, currently 6-0 in conference games, host the 5-0 and second place Oakland Grizzlies.
Both teams enter this matchup on four-game winning streaks, yet neither has beaten a team inside the top 200 over their last four games.
CSU beat Oakland three times last season, including 80-69 in the Horizon title game to reach the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2009. But that Oakland team didn’t have Jamal Cain, a graduate transfer from Marquette who is 12th in Division I in scoring at 21 points a game. He’s also averaged 9.9 rebounds per contest while point guard Jalen Moore leads college basketball with 8.4 assists per game to go along with his 14.8 points.
A year ago, Cleveland State was picked to finish seventh in the preseason the shocked the Horizon. This year, returning all of their starters, they are the Horizon League favorites. But to get a 1-seed in the conference tournament they will have to get past the Grizzlies.
Oakland has shot 48.3% from the field and 79.2% from the free throw line in its last three games. As a team, the Grizzlies are posting 75.8 points per contest. This has been due in large part to their effectiveness around the basket and at the charity stripe. Oakland is ranked 34th in the country in 2-point shooting at 54.7%, and 27th in free throw shooting at 77.2%.
Defensively, the Grizzlies have had some issues against opponents in the same area they excel: around the basket. Opposing teams are hitting 2-point attempts at 51.7%. However, they have been able to limit opponents to just 66 points per game.
The Golden Grizzlies sit 72nd in the NCAA NET Rankings and are the only Horizon League team in the top 100, 69 spots ahead of the next closest conference member, Cleveland State at 141st.
Oakland was ranked 15th in the January 10 edition of Mid-Major Top 25 Poll as voted on by mid-major coaches.
The 11-4 record is even more impressive when you take into consideration that the Grizzlies have had the 99th-toughest schedule in the country, per KenPom.
The Vikings are coming off of a six-point win over Youngstown State in their last game, with D’Moi Hodge leading the way with a season-high 31 points.
Hodge leads the Vikings overall, averaging 15.3 points and 3.2 rebounds per game. Torrey Patton has been equally important, however, while posting 12.8 points and 6.5 rebounds a game.
The Vikings are shooting 47.2% from the floor and have scored 75.4 points per game, good for 64th in the nation. But while they have been productive on offense, specifically in passing — 21st in the country at 16.5 assist per game — the defense has been an issue.
The Vikings are allowing 72.3 points per game, a number that puts them outside the top 200. They’ve also had serious issues at defending the three, allowing a 3-point percentage of 49.1%.
The biggest issue with Cleveland State entering this one, however, is its free throw shooting and propensity for sending its opponents to the line. The Vikings are averaging 18.5 fouls a game, 279th in the country, and hitting at the line at just 67.6%, 272nd in college basketball.
Oakland vs. Cleveland State Betting Pick
Oakland has posted an 11-3-0 ATS record this season season and is 4-0 ATS as an underdog. The Vikings are 7-4-0 ATS and just 4-4 as a favorite.
Wildly enough, I think the wrong team is favored in this contest and I think Oakland will be able to come into Cleveland State and get a statement win.
I cant pass up the free points on this one. I’ll be taking Oakland +2.5 and would bet the Golden Grizzlies to a pick’em.
Pick: Oakland pick or better