UConn vs. Creighton College Basketball Odds & Picks: Bet Underdog Huskies to Cover on Saturday
Mitchell Layton/Getty Images. Pictured: UConn’s R.J. Cole.
- UConn heads to Omaha on Saturday to take on Big East foe Creighton in a nationally televised noon ET college basketball matchup.
- The Huskies have been dominant on the road while the Blue Jays have struggled at home. Will the visiting Huskies be able to cover in this matchup?
- Tanner McGrath breaks down this game and shares his betting pick below.
UConn vs. Creighton Odds
This matchup is a story of two guards.
Creighton’s Marcus Zegarowski, who is back in form after missing two games, and Connecticut’s James Bouknight, who is missing his fourth straight game due to an elbow injury.
Those two players are the stars and leaders of their respective teams, and it sucks to see one of them hurt.
Connecticut has played well in Bouknight’s absence, however, as they boast a 4-2 conference record.
Creighton is 6-3 in conference play and second in the Big East, and there is no reason why they aren’t primed for a deep NCAA tournament run.
But in Saturday’s matchup, I see a few reasons why Connecticut might excel. Let’s dive into why.
Creighton’s Offense vs. Connecticut’s Defense
Creighton has lost two straight games, and it only managed 66 points against Butler and 70 against Providence. In those games, it shot just 10-for-42 from 3.
However, outside of this recent stretch, the Blue Jays have been lights-out offensively. In conference play, Creighton is second in offensive efficiency, second in effective field goal percentage and first in 2-point percentage. Greg McDermott’s squad has scored 90 or more points six times this season.
Again, Zegarowski powers the Creighton offense. However, Creighton has had offensive contributions from the whole roster this season. Denzel Mahoney leads the team in scoring, and Creighton has four guys averaging more than 10 points per game this season.
Connecticut, on the other hand, has been surprisingly great on defense.
The Huskies rank first in Big East conference play in defensive efficiency, turnover percentage, opponent 3-point percentage and steal percentage. UConn has been playing great perimeter defense, keeping teams cold from deep and forcing 13 turnovers per game.
In-between the Dec. 20 loss to Creighton and the Jan. 18 loss to St. John’s, Connecticut won four straight games through defensive dominance. It allowed only 61 points to DePaul, 54 points to Marquette, 60 points to Butler and 53 points to DePaul again.
What to Watch For:
Connecticut on the Road vs. Creighton at Home
Somewhat inexplicably, Connecticut has been nails away from Gampel Pavilion.
The Huskies are 4-0 ATS on the road so far and just won their last two road games without Bouknight. They have the sixth-best road defense in the nation in terms of opponent points per game. The Huskies’ defense actually improves when it travels.
Meanwhile, Creighton has just been mediocre in Omaha. It’s just 4-5 ATS at home this season and have already suffered home losses to Marquette and Providence. The Blue Jays actually rank outside the top 200 in points per game allowed at home.
Connecticut covered as 4-point underdogs when it played Creighton at home earlier this season. For some reason, it actually feels like the Huskies should be grabbing less points instead of more.
Betting Analysis & Pick
I’ll be taking Connecticut and the 7 points on Saturday.
Outside of Connecticut’s road performances vs. Creighton’s home performances, Connecticut has been playing better overall recently.
The Huskies are 4-1 ATS in their last five games while the Blue Jays are just 2-3 ATS in their last five.
Moreover, I tend to side with the better overall defense. Creighton’s defensive metrics have been great overall this season, but Connecticut has been dominant defensively over this recent stretch. The momentum on that side of the court lies with the Huskies.
I don’t expect Connecticut to win this game, but I do have enough faith in the Huskies’ road defense to keep it within 7 points. However, I’m not sure if I’d play it any lower than that.
Pick: Connecticut +7 (-110) or better