Xavier Musketeers vs No. 25 Cincinnati Bearcats Gambling Preview + Predictions
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Xavier at Cincinnati Matchup
Date/Time: Thursday, January 6, 7 PM ET
Venue: Fifth Third Arena, Cincinnati, OH
Xavier Musketeers vs. Cincinnati Bearcats Betting Lines from Justbet.com
Money Line: Xavier (+350) Cincinnati (-450)
Spread: Cincinnati -9
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Xavier Musketeers vs. No. 25 Cincinnati Bearcats Preview
25th ranked Cincinnati (14-0) will put their perfect record on the line tonight, as they host Xavier (8-4) in a non-conference match up. Cincinnati will need all the non-conference wins they can get, as they are in the killer Big East where there are 8 teams ranked in the top 25. College basketball lines have Cincinnati as 9-point favorites in this game with a total of 129.
Both teams’ last games were on New Year’s Eve, but there were different results, as Xavier lost to Florida 71-67 and Cincinnati beat Seton Hall 70-53.
This season Cincinnati is a solid 6-3 ATS while Xavier has been a bad betting team going 2-8-1 ATS.
Cincinnati is off to their best start in 15 years, but one of the main reasons is their soft schedule since they have yet to face a ranked team this season. Xavier has played a tougher schedule and they may give the Bearcats a good test tonight.
The Bearcats are 10-0 at home this season and are beating teams in their house by an average of 19.6 ppg. The big strength of Cincinnati is their D, which ranks 3rd in the nation only giving up 54.4 ppg and they are also holding opponents to 37.5% shooting and 29.3% shooting from beyond the 3-point arc.
This is a big rivalry game and Xavier has won 3 straight against Cincy.
The Bearcats have the nation’s 70th ranked scoring offense led by the trio of G Dion Dixon (12.7 ppg), F Yancy Gates (11.5 ppg) and G Sean Kilpatrick (10.1 ppg). Dixon and Kilpatrick are both shooting over 35% from 4-point land and Xavier has to get in their face and not let them have open looks from deep.
Xavier only ranks 162nd in the nation in scoring and that has been their main problem this season. Head coach Chris Mack stated after the Florida loss, “We are not a great three-point shooting team. We’ve got to rely on more than one or two players.”
The Musketeers big gun is G Tu Holloway (21.3 ppg), who ranks 2nd in the Atlantic 10 in scoring as well as assists (5.6 assists per game). He was the only Musketeers starter that shot at least 50% from the field in the loss to Florida and he will need some help tonight.
The Bearcats are a much better team on the boards and that will be key tonight. Yancy Gates (6.6 rpg) and Ibrahima Thomas (7 rpg) combined for 15 boards in their last win over Seton Hall. Xavier’s Kenny Frease (7.8 rpg) and Jamel McLean (9.5 rpg) will be counted on to man the glass tonight.
In all 4 losses this season for Xavier they were out-rebounded and if that happens again tonight they will lose again.
Even though Xavier lost to Florida in their last game they forced 16 turnovers, as they have a fast and athletic team. Cincy will have to take care of the ball tonight and not make careless turnovers. The Musketeers will have to use their athleticism to get around the court quickly tonight and disrupt the passing lanes. The Bearcats use great ball movement and rank 41st in the nation in assists per game.
The Bearcats will come out strong on their home floor tonight and play solid D, especially keeping Holloway from having a big game. That will really limit the scoring of Xavier, which is why Cincy will not only win this game and cover the spread, but the total will also go under.
Xavier is 0-6-1 ATS in their last 7 games and 0-4-1 ATS in their last 5 games vs. a team with a winning record.
Cincinnati is 4-0 ATS in their last 4 non-conference games, 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games vs. a team with a winning record, and in their last 4 games the total has gone Under every time.
Pick: Cincinnati -9 and the Under
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