Sunday Betting Odds, Picks, Predictions for Loyola Chicago vs. Drake: How to Bet the Missouri Valley Conference Championship

Sunday Betting Odds, Picks, Predictions for Loyola Chicago vs. Drake: How to Bet the Missouri Valley Conference Championship article feature image

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  • The Drake Bulldogs meet the Loyola Chicago Ramblers in the Missouri Valley Championship on Sunday afternoon.
  • The Bulldogs stole a win from Missouri State after a foul in the final seconds and now find themselves with a chance to go dancing.
  • Tanner McGrath breaks down the game and shares his top bet below.

Loyola Chicago vs. Drake Odds

Sunday, March 6
2 p.m. ET
Loyola Chicago Odds
-110o / -110u
Drake Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

Thanks to a last-second foul call on Tucker DeVries — son of Drake head coach Darian DeVries — the Drake Bulldogs stole a win from Missouri State, along with a chance to go dancing.

Meanwhile, the Loyola Chicago Ramblers are rolling again. The defense has taken a step back this year, but that unit dominated Bradley and Northern Iowa on the way to this championship game.

Loyola will likely get an at-large bid if it loses this game. Drake, on the other hand, has a bid-stealing opportunity on its hands.

So, can the Bulldogs pull off a massive upset? Or, at the least, cover the spread?

Loyola Chicago Ramblers

The Ramblers didn’t allow a single field goal in the final 15 minutes against Northern Illinois. Loyola swallowed the Panthers whole, specifically putting MVC Player of the Year AJ Green in jail.

Again, this Loyola defense took a step back this season. But in the last two tournament games, the Ramblers held Bradley to .78 PPP and UNI to .65 PPP. Head coach Drew Valentine has rallied the troops and reinvigorated his defense.

Everything starts with Lucas Williamson on that end. The two-time MVC Defensive Player of the Year has been an unmovable force, recording six steals in this Arch Madness run. He also drew Green as his main assignment, and he held the MVC POTY to just 13 points on 4-for-20 from the field.

Williamson is not just a defensive threat, however. He's shooting 39.3% from 3 this season and has posted a 112 ORtg. He's pacing the Ramblers in scoring, averaging over 14 points a game.

Lucas. Williamson. 👀

— Loyola Men's Basketball (@RamblersMBB) January 8, 2022

I am extremely worried for Drake in this game. The Ramblers run a slow-progression offense (315th in tempo) that works its way toward catch-and-shoot 3-pointers (43.3% 3PA/FGA, 54th nationally).

Six players in Loyola's 11-man rotation are shooting over 36% from 3. The Ramblers are ninth nationally in catch-and-shoot 3-point efficiency, per ShotQuality, and 11th in spot-up PPP, per Synergy.

Drake’s defense is due for some negative shooting regression from beyond the arc. And Loyola is the perfect team to take full advantage of that.

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Drake Bulldogs

In two tournament games, Drake’s opponents shot a whopping 7-for-42 from 3. You need some luck to make a run in March, and Drake has gotten it in spades during this tournament run.

Loyola won’t miss all its 3-point opportunities, as the Ramblers are one of the deadliest shooting teams in the country — more on that later.

The bigger question is if Drake’s offense can crack Loyola’s defense.

The Bulldogs run a heavy ball-screen offense, with point guard Roman Penn initiating most of the sets. Penn hasn’t been the most efficient scorer, but he dishes out almost four assists per game and ranks above the 70th percentile as a pick-and-roll ball-handler (.831 PPP).

Roman Penn has already tied his season-high of 𝟔 𝐚𝐬𝐬𝐢𝐬𝐭𝐬 tonight.

Is that good?


— Drake Basketball (@DrakeBulldogsMB) February 17, 2022

The younger DeVries has been shouldering the scoring load, leading the team in points with 13.6 per game. He earned MVC Freshman of the Year honors for his scoring contributions, taking 26.5% of the team’s shots and posting a 54.5 eFG% in the process.

Photo via @CBBAnalytics. View full-size image in new tab.

This is a Loyola team that’s defensive metrics don’t grade out as elite. However, the Ramblers have been above-average all year in defending ball-screen sets, and that unit has looked unbreakable during this tournament run.

Loyola Chicago vs. Drake Betting Pick

If it isn’t obvious by now, I absolutely love Loyola Chicago in this championship matchup.

The Ramblers are going to chuck it from 3 and likely will kill Drake in that area. Meanwhile, their reinvigorated defense should take full advantage of Drake’s offense. Neither Bradley nor Northern Iowa could muster efficient offensive sets against Loyola, and I don’t expect Drake to be any different.

Drake is also just lucky to be here. If it wasn’t for that last-second foul that DeVries drew against Missouri State, the Bulldogs would already be scheduling tee times.

I think Loyola wins convincingly here, and I am willing to play the Ramblers up to -7.5.

Pick: Loyola Chicago -5 (Play to -7.5)

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