Missouri Valley Tournament Championship Odds, Picks: Drake vs. Bradley Betting Guide (Sunday, March 5)
Photo by Lee Coleman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Tucker DeVries, as Drake takes on Bradley in our Missouri Valley Tournament Championship pick and betting guide.
Drake vs. Bradley Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
The matchup everyone was anticipating in Arch Madness is finally here as the top two seeds, Bradley and Drake, match up in the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament Championship.
As we discussed in the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament preview, this matchup was more than likely given the way both these teams finished the year.
Darian DeVries’s Drake Bulldogs have lost just one of its past thirteen games, with its only loss coming on the road against the very Drake team they are matched up against today.
On the other side, Brian Wardle’s Bradley Braves bring the nations 4th longest winning streak into this championship game, winning 12 in a row.
This will be the third meeting between these two teams this season with both winning on their home court.
To pick which team will punch its ticket to the NCAA Tournament, let’s take a look at the odds and make a prediction for Drake vs. Bradley.
This championship matchup seems like destiny for a Drake team which was defeated in this very game a season ago by Loyola Chicago.
That loss will be at the forefront of Drake’s minds as the Bulldogs return 67.1% of their minutes from a season ago. As a result, Drake ranks 27th nationally in D-I experience.
Drake has used this experience to build a balanced attack on both ends of the floor.
On the defensive end, Drake has been extremely efficient, ranking second in the MVC in Adjusted Efficiency. Much of this defensive success comes from the Bulldogs ability on the glass. Drake ranks second in the MVC in offensive rebounding percentage allowed at just 20.8%.
This ability to keep Bradley off the offensive glass will be significant, as the Braves rank second in the MVC in offensive rebounding percentage at 29.9%. Without these second chance opportunities, Bradley will need to find additional offensive avenues.
Don’t look for the free-throw line to be one of these additional avenues, as Bradley scores just 13.1% of its total points from the charity stripe, the lowest rate in the MVC. In addition Drake’s experienced defensive unit has been great at defending without fouling, allowing its opponents to score just 15.8% of their total points from the free-throw line.
This will be a game in which Drake’s defense will have success against an all too familiar Bradley offense.
Although this Bradley team has been the class of the MVC, they have been tested early and often in MVC Tournament play. In their first round matchup with Northern Iowa the Braves trailed with just under 7-minutes to play due to a 34-point explosion from Northern Iowa’s Bowen Born.
In the semi-final against Indiana State, Bradley got down as many as 8-points early against an effective Sycamore offense.
All of that to say, although this Bradley team has not lost since Jan. 21, there are still plenty of reasons to believe a highly motivated Drake team can have success, particularly on the offensive end.
This offensive success will start with Drake’s ability to take care of the basketball. The Bulldogs have the lowest turnover percentage in the MVC at just 15.1%. This is a recipe for success against a Bradley defense which ranks No.2 in the MVC in turnovers at 19.6%.
In addition, look for Drake to see some progression at the charity stripe against a Bradley defense which has struggled to defend without fouling. The Braves are allowing their opponents to attempt 30.5% of their shots from the charity stripe, the 3rd highest rate in the MVC.
These offensive advantages will all come in addition to the Bulldogs shooting 37.9% from beyond the arc, and 44.32% from the Mid-Range.
Drake vs. Bradley Betting Pick
Although Bradley has been the darling of the MVC this season, Drake has all the motivation in the world to play the spoiler on Sunday afternoon.
The Bulldogs will not only be looking to avenge a MVC Tournament Championship loss from a season ago, they will also be looking to avenge a 61-73 defeat against Bradley just a few weeks ago.
Given this familiarity, look for Darian DeVries to make the necessary adjustments to come out victorious this time around.
As I stated in my MVC Tournament preview, I believe this is the time for Drake to get its revenge and leap-frog Bradley into the NCAA Tournament.
Pick: Drake +1 (Play to PK -120)
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