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NCAAB Handicapping: ULL vs. UAB (Jan. 19)

BetUS NCAA Basketball Betting Odds: UAB -14.5

Here are some of the NCAA basketball sports betting trends as they relate to this matchup:

* ULL has lost six of its last eight games SU
* ULL has covered two of its last seven games
* ULL has played seven of its last eight games OVER the total * ULL has lost five of its last six road games SU
* ULL has played four of its last six road games OVER the total
* UAB has lost four of its last six games SU
* UAB has played five of its last eight games OVER the total
* UAB has played seven of its last 12 games OVER the total
* UAB has won its last six home games SU
* UAB has covered three of its last four home games
* UAB has played five of its last seven home games UNDER the total

Louisiana-Lafayette was looking to be the beneficiary of momentum this season; with four of the five starters from last season coming back, and ULL having tied for the West division title last year, this was a program looking to take the next step. There is still hope for that, one supposes, with a 3-3 Sun Belt record coming into tonight, but some of the results were discouraging, including a 30-point defeat suffered at the hands of Utah Valley State. On the other side of the coin, ULL gave LSU some very anxious moments before falling by two-points in the last ten seconds. The Ragin’ Cajuns are generally a poor shooting squad, but came with a burst of offense in its win against Troy last Saturday, hitting 15 shots from beyond the three-point arc.

Chris Gradnigo, who came into the season as ULL’s best returning player and a possible all-conference pick, missed the season’s first four games with a staph infection in his elbow, and got off to a slow start when he finally returned to the lineup, but he has gradually increased his scoring output, tallying a season-high 20 points against Arkansas-Little Rock last time out. This was significant because he had to leave the Troy game with a sprained ankle, but Gradnigo also had just four points after the start of the second half, as he was stymied by defensive shadow John Fowler of UALR.

UAB is a team that lacks depth, primarily because they have only six scholarship players, a product of injuries, academic ineligibility and pre-season player defections. This is the kind of thing that is going to continue haunting UAB against the better teams, but it is not likely to do so here, because the top talent is so superior, with Paul Delaney (16.4 ppg) a very capable backcourt performer and Lawrence Kinnard (15.6 ppg, 9.4 rpg) giving the Blazers at least some semblance of an inside game, when he isn’t throwing them up from the arc (4.8 three-point attempts per contest). Then, of course, there’s Robert Vaden, the 6’5″ guard who followed coach Mike Davis from Indiana and has become one of the best players in Conference USA. Vaden is averaging 19 points a game, and takes ten shots from three-point range per contest.

The Cajuns’ Tyren Johnson is a talented shot-blocker (1.8 per game), but it’s doubtful UAB is going to be handicapped by not having a lot of size. Sure, the Blazers will be essentially playing four guards in this game, but this team has managed to beat the likes of Arizona and Old Dominion playing that way, and besides, it’s going to be very hard for ULL to put a halt to Vaden. We’ll lay the points with UAB, the 14.5-point favorite in the BetUS NCAA basketball betting odds.

Our PLAY: UAB -14.5 **

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