Southern Illinois vs. Drake Odds & Pick: Will Bulldogs Remain Perfect ATS? (Monday, Jan. 4)
Mitchell Layton/Getty Images. Pictured: Dalton Banks, Trent Brown
- The Drake Bulldogs are 11-0 and are perfect Against the Spread (ATS) to start the season.
- After dominating Southern Illinois on Sunday, Drake will look to sweep the back-to-back as 10.5-point favorites on Monday.
- BJ Cunningham is skeptical that Drake will keep its cover streak alive.
Southern Illinois vs. Drake Odds
The Drake Bulldogs are quickly becoming one of the stories of the 2020-21 college basketball season. The Bulldogs are not only undefeated at 11-0, but they’ve also covered the spread in every game. Not bad for a team that was projected to finish near the bottom of the Missouri Valley Conference this season.
Drake came away with a 73-55 win over Southern Illinois on Sunday, but this season has shown us that, not only is it tough to beat a team twice in the same year, but it’s incredibly difficult to do it twice in two days.
Will Drake remain perfect on Monday night?
When Southern Illinois has the ball
Growing pains are expected for Southern Illinois this season as the Salukis rank 330th in terms of experience, per KenPom. However, that hasn’t stopped them from shooting the lights out from deep, as they have the eighth-best 3-point percentage in the country. Drake was able to hold Southern Illinois in check on Sunday, though, as the Salukis scored 55 points and averaged 0.89 points per possession.
The Salukis struggled to score from inside the arc on Sunday, shooting just 40% on 2-point attempts. That is a bit surprising since their season average sits at 50.2%. Another big issue that has plagued Southern Illinois this season is the lack of second-chance opportunities. The Salukis rank 340th in offensive rebound percentage, and it’s hard to get a win shooting 40% from inside the arc since they create virtually no second-chance opportunities.
Drake defended really well on Sunday, forcing the Salukis into a lot of difficult shot opportunities and forced 12 turnovers. The biggest improvements for Drake on defense have come against the 3-point shot. The Bulldogs were in the bottom-30 of college basketball in 3-point percentage allowed last season, whereas this year they rank inside the top-70, per KenPom.
It is worth noting that Southern Illinois did shoot 43% from beyond the arc on Sunday, so Drake will need to step up that part of its game on Monday night.
Key for Southern Illinois on Offense
Shoot more 3s. The Salukis only attempted 13 3-pointers on Sunday, which is surprising for a team that shoots over 40% from beyond the arc. Clearly going to the rack was not the right game plan, so shooting more often from deep should allow them to have more success on offense.
Key for Drake on Defense
Repeat the same performance. Drake forced Southern Illinois into a ton of low-percentage shot attempts on Sunday and another defensive performance like that should put Drake in the driver’s seat.
When Drake has the ball
The Bulldogs are shooting the lights out to start this season. They rank seventh in the country in effective field goal percentage and are shooting a cool 42.2% from beyond the arc. They completely outshot Southern Illinois on Sunday, converting at 51% clip from the field and 45% from beyond the arc.
Drake also crashes the offensive glass at an extremely high rate, ranking 26th in offensive rebound percentage. This is a very experienced squad, as the Bulldogs returned all of their main contributors from last season.
Southern Illinois has struggled to defend the deep ball all season and that issue held the Salukis back on Sunday. SIU allows opponents to shoot almost 39% from beyond the arc, so it was no surprise that it struggled against Drake in the first game of this back-to-back.
Southern Illinois has been one of the best teams in the MVC in terms of defensive rebounding and was able to keep the Bulldogs off the offensive glass, allowing only five offensive rebounds on Sunday.
Key for Drake on Offense
Shoot a high percentage from beyond the arc. The Bulldogs’ offensive game plan on Sunday worked to perfection, so if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it. Keep attacking the Salukis where they struggle.
Key for Southern Illinois on Defense
Keep Drake off the offensive glass. Southern Illinois did a fantastic job keeping one of the best offensive rebounding teams in the conference at bay on Sunday. However, if the Salukis are not able to keep Drake off the offensive glass on Monday, we could be in store for another blowout.
Betting Analysis & Pick
The shooting performance from Southern Illinois on Sunday was uncharacteristic, so I think there’s a good chance we see a much more competitive game on Monday night. As we’ve seen so far this season in college basketball, it’s incredibly difficult to beat a team two days in a row, so I am going to bet the Salukis to cover and end Drake’s perfect ATS record.
Pick: Southern Illinois +10.5 | Play down to +10