Expect a defensive battle when the Valparaiso Crusaders (9-6, 0-2 MVC), 6.5-point underdogs, go head-to-head with the Bradley Braves (11-4, 1-1 MVC) at Carver Arena. The game’s Over/Under (O/U) has been set at 134 points and it starts at 8 p.m. ET on Wednesday, January 3, 2018.
Valparaiso Crusaders vs. Bradley Braves ATS Odds
In their last matchup, the Braves had no trouble getting past the UNI Panthers, 72-53, while the Crusaders fell to the Missouri State Bears, 67-50.
Bradley dominated every stat category in the game. They had a phenomenal free throw rate of 0.354 (above their season average of 0.237) and a turnover percentage of 13.7 (better than their season average of 19.4). For those same stats, UNI recorded marks of 0.163 and 19.3, respectively. Valparaiso, on the other hand, had a better free throw rate (0.283 vs. 0.220). Bradley’s Darrell Brown had a solid performance, finishing with 24 points and five assists. Meanwhile, Valparaiso rallied around Max Joseph, who had 13 points and five rebounds.
Points could be at a premium as two of the NCAA’s top defenses face off. Bradley ranks 18th in defensive efficiency (90.9) and Valparaiso is 46th (93.5). Ball protection could be troublesome for the Crusaders. They rank 333rd at avoiding errors (turnover percentage of 22.9 percent), while the Braves force the 45th-most turnovers in the NCAA (opponents’ turnover percentage of 22.6 percent).
Crusaders games have a tendency to go under the projected point total (75.0 percent). Valparaiso heads into the game with records of 9-6 straight up (SU) and 6-6 against the spread (ATS).
Coinciding with Valparaiso, games featuring the Braves also have typically finished under the O/U total (84.6 percent). Further, Bradley owns records of 11-4 SU and 8-4-1 ATS.
Brown has taken his game to another level recently for Bradley, averaging 15.0 points and 5.0 assists over the last five games.
Valparaiso Crusaders vs. Bradley Braves Free Pick
Predictions: SU Winner – Bradley, ATS Winner – Valparaiso, O/U – Over
Bradley is seventh in the NCAA with 2.0 blocks allowed per game while Valparaiso is 50th with 2.8 blocks allowed per game.
The Crusaders average 7.7 steals per game, which ranks 47th in the nation. The Braves rank 89th in steals allowed per game (6.2).
Valparaiso ranks 205th in three pointers attempted per game (19.7) while Bradley ranks 236th (18.3).
During their last five games, the Braves have scored an average of 70.8 points per game (1.9 above their season average) and allowed an average of 65.2 points per game (4.5 above their season average).
The Crusaders have been outscored by an average of 13.0 points in their last five games. On the season, Valparaiso has defeated opponents by an average of 5.9 points.