Friday College Basketball Odds, Picks, Predictions: Wright State vs. Oakland Betting Preview

Friday College Basketball Odds, Picks, Predictions: Wright State vs. Oakland Betting Preview article feature image

Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Oakland Golden Grizzlies forward Jamal Cain (1)

  • Looking for the latest college basketball odds before Friday's Horizon League showdown between Wright State and Oakland? We’ve got you covered.
  • The Raiders took the first game between these teams, but basketball analyst Keg is backing the home favorite Grizzlies.
  • Find his predictions and bet below for this matchup.

Wright State vs. Oakland Odds

Friday, Feb. 18
9 p.m. ET
Wright State Odds
-110o / -110u
Oakland Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

It's been an exciting week in the Horizon League as the board of directors voted to restore eligibility to UIC student-athletes for all league championships on Tuesday. It was followed by some electrifying matchups in the league's bottom half on Thursday night. But we're just getting started! The Horizon has saved the best weekday matchup for last as the Oakland Grizzlies will host the Wright State Raiders at 9 p.m. ET on Friday. 

Friday's nightcap will be the second meeting between the two teams this season, the first of which came at Wright State where the Raiders won 75-64. But the final score doesn't tell the whole story, as Oakland had a massive collapse in the last 10 minutes of the game. Jamal Cain dropped in a layup with 9:58 to go, putting Oakland up 57-53; the Grizzlies would not score a point from the floor the rest of the way while also giving up a 22-7 run.

They didn't have an impressive showing before that by any means, giving up 18 points off of 12 turnovers and hitting just 29.2% from deep. But it's hard to see the second-highest scoring team in the Horizon not make a shot from the floor during the final 10 minutes. 

Since that game, both teams have gone in opposite directions. Oakland dropped their next game before going on a two-game win streak over Robert Morris and Detroit Mercy that they bring into this game. The Raiders, meanwhile, won their next game against Green Bay to move their winning streak to four games, but now enter this game having lost their last two against Milwaukee and NKU. 

Every team in the Horizon plays Thursday or Friday night, but this matchup has the most significance by far. Six different teams in the Horizon have 10 or more conference wins, while Cleveland State leads the bunch with 13. Oakland and Wright State are the only teams that will play an opponent with 10 or more wins.

Oakland is currently second in the conference, while the Raiders are fourth. Can the Grizzlies avoid another collapse like they had in the first meeting? 

Wright State Raiders

The Raiders beat Oakland once already this year, so how did they do it and can they do it again on the road? Well, for starters, another 22-7 run to end the game would be a big help, but I don't think they'll see that again. Before the final 10 minutes in their first meeting though, Wright State had done a fantastic job exploiting the Grizzlies' weaknesses. Micah Parish fouled out while Jamal Cain had four fouls and 13 points. They also held Oakland to just 29.2% from the perimeter. 

But the Raiders haven't looked quite as good as they did when they last played Oakland. Throughout the year, the defense has been an issue for Wright State, allowing opposing teams to rack up 71.4 points while shooting 45.4%. But they have been able to lean on their offense to win them games until recently. 

Wright State fell from first to third in scoring offense in the Horizon in just two games; that stretch included the game against Milwaukee and the first half against NKU, during which they shot 27.8% from the field. They have also been one of the most inconsistent teams in the Horizon, so it's hard to anticipate which Raiders we will see. 

But against Oakland, who leads the league in turnover margin, I expect that to be a present issue for Wright State, who gave up 16 turnovers on Sunday against NKU. The Raiders also find themselves very similar to Oakland when it comes to depth; four Wright State players average more than 30 minutes a game. 

Seven of the top 10 leaders in minutes for the Horizon league play for either Wright State or Oakland.

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Oakland Golden Grizzlies

The Grizzlies offense might be second when it comes to points per game in the Horizon, but the best offensive player leads them in the league, in my opinion. That being Jamal Cain, who was awarded the Horizon player of the week for the fourth time this year on Monday. Last week, Cain put up 29 points against Robert Morris and notched his 13th double-double of the season on Sunday, recording 32 points and 12 rebounds against Detroit Mercy. 

Cain isn't without weakness, however, and for the best player in the Horizon, staying out of foul trouble is easier said than done. Jamal Cain averages 3.5 fouls per contest — no other player on the team is averaging more than 2.5. Not exactly ideal for your leading scorer, but this is a calculated risk when you play how Oakland has. 

Four players average more than 30 minutes a game for the Grizzlies, while five are less than 10. They rely heavily on a core of Cain, Jamal Moore, Trey Townsend and Micah Parrish to play 75% of the game and produce nearly all of the offense. Of course, the four can do so, but when things like foul trouble, a bad shooting night, run-of-the-mill exhaustion or god forbid an injury occur, who can the Grizzlies turn to? Chris Conway, with his seven minutes a game averaging two points per contest? You've got Osei Price, who's playing 22 minutes, but can the freshman replicate Jalen Moore's 15 points and eight rebounds a game? 

Depth on the offensive end isn't the only concern for the Grizzlies either. Their three-point shooting and rebounding have been game-deciding factors. Oakland is 10th in the Horizon in 3PT% and fifth in rebounding margin. They give up just as many rebounds as they come down with, posting 35.6 on both ends. 

The Grizzlies have been consistently average on the defensive end, but consistent nonetheless. They are among the top three teams in the league in every area, except defensive rebounding and two-point defense. But an essential factor for Oakland on defense is to push tempo; they are best when they can run the floor and create turnovers.

Wright State vs. Oakland Betting Pick

After highlighting problems both teams will face, I want to reiterate these are two of the best offenses in the Horizon League. But there are a lot of other factors to consider for this game, the largest being just how significant it will be for both teams, who are two of the seven that still have an opportunity to clinch the No. 1 seed for the conference tournament. 

And while Wright State has been the better offense overall this season, the Raiders have taken a step back recently. The Grizzlies, on the other hand, seem to be firing on all cylinders.  Even though Oakland lost the first meeting, this game will be at home — where the Grizzlies have been considerably better at both ends of the floor. 

I trust Jamal Cain and the rest of the Grizzlies to stay out of foul trouble and get the series split on Friday night. Oakland opened as a 4-point favorite, which is decently lower than I expected; I would take them as high as -6 on Friday night.

Pick: Oakland -6 or better

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Nick Sterling
Jun 22, 2024 UTC