Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 2:00 PM EST.
Abilene Christian +4 over GRAND CANYON
9:00 PM EST. On paper, Grand Canyon looks pretty sweet here, spotting a mere porkchop to Abilene Christian but a closer look reveals that it’s not as easy as it appears. The market defines a team by its record and not by the sweet lies it tells under the hood, which will continue to provide us with opportunities like this.
Grand Canyon is a 13-2 program. It is also 8-1 in its own barn and 3-0 in conference play but what the impressive results on paper don’t tell you is that the Antelopes are very lucky they’re not a 10-5 squad. Playing the 353rd (out of 358 teams) ranked Strength of Schedule in America, the ‘Lopes have a three-point win over Pepperdine, a three-point win over UTSA and a six-point win over Loyola Marymount. When GCU played San Francisco and won by one point, 49-48, it was only because the Dons had one of the worst shooting performances of the year in all of college basketball. The Dons shot 17% from 3-point land and 34% from the floor and lost by one-point. Grand Canyon’s other victories came against some of the worst teams in Division I college hoops.
Grand Canyon is building a pedigree. Not only did Bryce Drew’s squad win the WAC regular season, but it also swept NMSU 3-0 and won the conference’s auto-bid to the NCAA Tournament. This wasn’t just a good “WAC” team – this was a good college basketball team. The 'Lopes beat Nevada in the non-conference slate, lost to Arizona State by just 1, San Francisco by 3, and Colorado by 10. GCU hired a fantastic coach in Drew, but this year’s path to the Dance is going to be more challenging, even before considering NMSU gets to play games in the state of New Mexico this season. GCU loses its two 1st Team All-WAC big men, who demanded so much attention and gravity from opposing defenders that it made scoring a breeze (they helped immensely defensively, as well). Drew brings talented reinforcements from the transfer portal, but the makeup and style of the ‘Lopes looks very different.
Meanwhile Abilene Christian is just 2-2 in the conference after losing to Stephen F and Sam Houston State respectively in its last two games, however, the Wildcats could have just as easily won those two games (a tw0-point loss to Stephen F and a six-point loss to SHSU) and then they would be 4-0 in conference and this game would be a pick-em.
The Wildcat offense isn’t flashy. It’s an unselfish brand of basketball that features at least three ball handlers on the floor at one time. ACU ranked 2nd in the country in assist rate last season. This is a strong defensive team that brings back 10 returners. Defense is easy to overlook, which is one of many reasons ACU flew under the radar last season. There’s little reason this team can’t be a top-100 defense once again.
Grand Canyon has had it way too easy this year and when you schedule non-con games against pure garbage, you pick up some bad habits along the way. The Antelopes have yet to face a defense as tough as this one and they’re not battle tested enough to trust spotting a margin. ACU outright is tempting but we’ll scoop up the value in this 50/50 proposition.
A GREAT OFFER FOR SPORTSWAGERS READERS:
We’re offering a better and cheaper alternative to cable TV. You will literally save thousands of dollars. If you’re sick of paying a fortune for programming that you don’t even want or need, this is for you. All pro sports -- EVERY GAME, tons of college football and basketball games and tons of regular programs.
Abilene Christian +4 -110 (Risking 2.20 units - To Win: 2.00)