Creighton Vs. Marquette Odds, Picks, Predictions NCAAB (12/16/22)

Like my beloved North Carolina Tar Heels, the Creighton Bluejays have been severely disappointing to start the season. They came into the season as a popular sleeper pick to cut down the nets, only to start a lowly 6-5. In the midst of a five-game losing streak with embarrassing losses to Nebraska, BYU, and Arizona State, they look to get back on track against Marquette. Can the Bluejays snap their losing streak?

Creighton Vs. Marquette Odds

Oddsmakers don’t think so as they opened the Bluejays as a +3 underdog. Bettors are in agreement, taking Marquette up to as high as -4 in some shops. The status of Bluejays center Ryan Kalkbrenner is heavily worth monitoring, as he is fighting an illness and questionable to give it a go. Should he be ruled out, or noticeably not 100%, this opens the paint for Marquette for more efficient scoring looks.

As for the total, points are expected to be scored in bunches on both ends of the court as oddsmakers opened the total at 153.5 Bettors believe the same, ticking this up to 154 as of writing. While the record would indicate a lack of efficiency, the Creighton offense has still been elite and well above average in the nation. Marquette is no offensive slouch either, ranking top-20 in Adjusted Offensive Efficiency per Kenpom.

Creighton Vs. Marquette Prediction & Pick

The Pick: Over 153.5

With the Ryan Kalkbrenner news giving me pause on pulling the trigger on Marquette, I will take the over instead as I believe both offenses will find success in this matchup. With both defenses reeling in recent outings, it’s their offensive efficiency that has given them life and I expect no less in this one with statistical advantages over each other.

As Creighton’s leading scorer with 15.9 points per game, Kalkbrenner does a majority of his damage around the rim. While able to stretch the court with a touch from perimeter, his prowess down low will be sorely missed but potentially be a blessing. This will open the court for more dynamic ball movement, allowing possessions to not stall out down low in Kalkbrenner’s hands.

By opting into the idea of more perimeter sets, Creighton can exploit Marquette’s weak perimeter defense. The Golden Eagles have allowed opposing offenses to shoot 35% from deep, an area that Creighton will look to barrage the defense from. While not connecting at the highest rate with only a 34.4% completion percentage, they should benefit from more high quality looks than normal this time around.

The Creighton defense has shockingly been poor at smothering looks from deep to start the season, giving Marquette an opportunity to keep scoring pace from deep as well. The Golden Eagles shoot nearly identically the same as the Bluejays per completion percentage, while also potentially having a massive advantage with looks at the rim.

Creighton Vs. Marquette Key Matchups

Can Marquette take advantage of low post scoring with the potential absence of Kalkbrenner?

Marquette interior scoring vs Creighton second big man

Marquette’s offense is poised for consistent open looks as they can take advantage of Creighton’s poor perimeter defense as well as potentially abuse the paint. A majority of their scoring is forward heavy with three of them in double figures.

If Kalkbrenner is able to go, they can stretch him out with perimeter and midrange looks. Forcing him to move as much as possible while recovering from an illness, tiring him out and getting him off the court. 

If he is not able to go, Creighton will potentially throw in Fredrick King who is three inches shorter and barely averages 10 minutes a game with pedestrian numbers. While his limited minutes skews his averages, the drop off in shooting percentage is eye popping and makes him a liability on the other end. He will mainly be used as a body to try and bridge the gap in rebounding.

Verdict

With Marquette’s offense being able to keep scoring pace, I will take the over in what should be a high scoring affair. Creighton’s offensive identity remains elite with or without Kalkbrenner, sacrificing looks down low for more potential quality looks at the perimeter. If Kalkbrenner cannot give it a go, I will look to add Marquette at -4 or better.

Kody is a sports betting writer here at Lineups. He specializes in college sports as well as the NFL and NBA. He won’t quit believing in the Lions Super Bowl chances even when they are eliminated.

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