UAB vs North Texas Odds, Predictions: Betting Guide to NIT Final
Photo by Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Jordan Walker (UAB)
UAB vs North Texas Odds
-110o / -110u
|North Texas Odds|
-110o / -110u
Conference USA crowns the league’s second postseason champion of this season on Thursday night when UAB and North Texas meet in Las Vegas for the NIT title game.
The Mean Green won two of the three meetings between the two this season, but the Blazers secured the victory in the last matchup in the conference tournament.
Both programs are vying for their first NIT championship in their school’s history, boasting veteran rosters who have played in the NCAA tournament in recent years.
This should be a great battle of different styles in this game, and I’m excited to see this matchup for the fourth time.
Even with the disappointment of missing out on the Big Dance, this has still been a banner season for the Blazers. The 29 wins on the year are a program record, but coach Andy Kennedy has his sights set on a trophy.
This hasn’t been an easy ride for UAB in the NIT, knocking off Southern Miss, Morehead State, Vanderbilt and Utah Valley to clinch a spot in the title game. However, Kennedy has a well-rounded roster that was built for a run like this.
On the year, the Blazers rank in the top 50 in both offensive and defensive efficiency, according to Bart Torvik. Meanwhile, they are also stout defensively in EFG% (43rd) and opponents’ 2-point (48th) and 3-point shooting (59th).
The offense runs through former C-USA Player of the Year Jordan “Jelly” Walker, who is fifth in the country in scoring at 22.3 points per game. He has been very clutch from the free-throw line in postseason play, shooting 92% from the charity stripe to help close out victories.
One big question surrounding North Texas will be whether coach Grant McCasland will still be with the program next season. Regardless of what happens, he has left the job in a much better state than when he joined.
This is the first 30-win season in school history, and McCasland now owns 11 postseason victories. Before he arrived, the Mean Green had never won a postseason game.
The calling card under McCasland has always been a strong defense, and this year is no different. North Texas ranks in the top 25 in AdjD (22nd), EFG% (6th) and 2-point (8th) and 3-point defense (16th).
McCasland’s strong defense was on full display in the semifinal win over Wisconsin, holding the Badgers scoreless for a stretch of over nine minutes in the second half. They also only made one of their final 16 shots.
UAB vs North Texas Betting Pick
When I look at the odds for this title game, I really think the spread is right where I would make it, and the two differences in style keep me away from the total.
With that said, I do see betting value in the player props market.
So, my best bet is to back Walker to fly over his points total of 18.5 points, which I would play to 19.5 points.
In the two matchups he played against North Texas this season, this same prop would have cashed in both, with Jelly scoring an average of 26 points per game in those contests.
There is also some off-court motivation for him here after he was very vocal about the Mean Green’s Tylor Perry being named the C-USA Player of the Year.
While he hasn’t shot the ball well over the last few games, we should get Walker’s best effort here, and he is still averaging 18 shots per game over his last 10.
I would also look to take UAB’s Trey Jemison to go over his rebounds prop of 7.5, with North Texas’ center and leading rebounder Abou Ousmane out for this game.
I may not have a bet in the primary markets, but I do like the value on the Blazers’ duo.
Pick: Jelly Walker Over 18.5 Points (-113) | Play to 19.5
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