The Big College Basketball Underdog to Bet Outright on Friday

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Justin Casterline/Getty Images. Pictured: Jalen Crutcher

It has undoubtedly been a special season for Dayton. Flyers fans are quick to point out that UD remains undefeated in regulation with their only defeats coming on neutral floors to Kansas and Colorado in overtime.

Gamblers may rebut that the market has caught up to the Flyers, now 2-5 ATS in their last seven games.

Dayton’s last Friday night game was a nail-biter (78-76 over Saint Louis in OT), which begs the questions: Are they walking into a trap this week?

That Friday test will come against Davidson, which is an 11-point underdog against Dayton.

In the preseason, Davidson was selected to finish second in the Atlantic 10 by the media. There were plenty of reasons for optimism, namely that the Wildcats’ three leading scorers from a 24-10 team were set to return.

Both Jón Axel Guðmundsson and Kellan Grady were also garnering preseason A-10 Player of the Year buzz. Toss in a legendary coach with loads of big game experience, and you really had to squint to find a flaw in Davidson.

Then the Wildcats started 7-9 and fell off the national radar altogether. Luckily for Davidson fans, coach Bob McKillop has stopped the bleeding and has his team playing its best basketball just in time for a March run. Davidson’s backcourt has been on fire as of late and they’ve nudged their way into the top 40 of the following offensive metrics:

  • Effective FG%
  • Assist/TO Ratio
  • 3-Point%
  • Free Throw%

For a team to knock off Dayton, they need to keep pace offensively, they can’t get bullied on the glass, and they need a good homecourt advantage. Davidson will have two of those three tonight, as they’ll have to win this game on the road.

But Davidson has already played a pair of top-20 offenses (Auburn, Marquette) and held both under their season scoring average.

No one is shutting down the Flyers on offense, not with the way they share the basketball, but there is hope to slow them down. Saint Louis had them on the ropes on a Friday night last month, but didn’t have the offensive chops to hold onto a lead in the closing minutes.

As for the rebounding element, Davidson is surprisingly efficient when it comes to gathering boards. The Wildcats’ defensive rebounding percentage (78.3%, 28th) leads the A-10.

Preventing second-chance buckets will be critical for a Davidson defense hoping to limit a Dayton offense that has uncharacteristically played two of their last three games in the mid-60s.

I have this game closer to a 6.5-point spread and a +220 moneyline opportunity, so there’s too much value to pass up Davidson plus the points and to win outright.

Pick: Davidson Moneyline +450

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