Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 2:30 PM EST
SIU Edwardsville +9 over NORTHERN ILLINOIS
7:00 PM EST. The SIUE Cougars are 1-2 this year with their only win coming against a Division II school. However, they played LSU and lost by just 13. The headliner for SIUE is UConn import Sidney Wilson, an enticing down-transfer whose size and scoring ability could make him SIUE’s best player right away. Guys like the 6’7 Wilson don’t come around the OVC often. Reasons for optimism exist in Edwardsville, as it’s Brian Barone’s second season in charge, so he should have his sea legs under him, and the crop of newcomers could conceivably vault the Cougars into the top eight. Wilson has his own risks off the court after multiple suspensions in Storrs but this is a stepping stone for him to attract interest from better programs. Troubled athletes eventually run out of chances but Wilson appears to be engaged early on. That said, this is more a fade on NIU, a team that cannot be priced in this range.
NIU went 18-13 overall last year. Many of its wins were by the slimmest of margins. In fact, seven of the Huskies 18 wins were by an incredible three points (1 possession) or less. The reason that we bring up last year’s record and results is because it’s significant. You see, the Huskies had a dude by the name of Eugene German. He ascended to a God-like status to keep the Huskies’ afloat last year. Had he not been so clutch or if the Huskies did not have him, they likely would have lost every single one of those one-possession games. Take seven wins off and add them to losses and the Huskies would have been looking at a 11-20 season and not 18-13. They also had a couple of two-possessions wins so without German, it might have been a single digit win season.
The sun, Earth and moon all revolved around German last year while everyone else was just a cheerleader. This year, German is gone. 14 of NIU’s 18 wins last year were by less than the points being offered here. They played SIU Edwardsville last season and won by four. This year, the Huskies are not better than they were last year while the Cougars are. Defense and toughness were the pillars of the Huskies “success” last but so was Eugene German, leaving the incumbents with a lot on their plate this year. Nice overlay here.
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SIU Edwardsville +9 -107 (Risking 2.14 units - To Win: 2.00)