The Belmont Bruins own the Ohio Valley Conference this season and will look to extend their dominance Thursday night at Winfield Dunn Center in Clarksville, Tennessee, when they face off against the Austin Peay Governors.
The Bruins opened as firm 7.5-point favorites on BetMGM Sportsbook and will look for their 14th consecutive victory on the season, so let’s see what’s the best betting pick for Belmont vs. Austin Peay showdown.
Belmont wants to stay perfect in the conference play
The Belmont Bruins (16-1; 10-0 Conf.) are undefeated since December 5, 2020, when they suffered a heavy 96-83 defeat to the Samford Bulldogs as 17.5-point home favorites. During their streak, the Bruins recorded 12 Quadrant 4 victories, but it’s still a completely ridiculous run.
Belmont is No. 87 in the NCAA NET Rankings and No. 91 in the KenPom rankings. The Bruins have a top-50 pace, averaging 71.8 possessions per 40 minutes, and their offensive rating is the 62nd-best in the country (109.3). Still, the Bruins allow 101.2 points per 100 possessions and rank 159th in defensive efficiency.
Five Belmont players average points in double figures and junior center Nick Muszynski leads the way with 15.4 points on 57.7% shooting from the field. The Bruins are 18th in the country in field goal percentage (50.1%) and 17th in assists per game (17.6).
Austin Peay hopes to avoid its first losing streak of the season
The Austin Peay Governors (8-5; 4-3 Conf.) are sixth in the Ohio Valley Conference, four and a half games behind the Bruins. They are coming off a 76-70 defeat to Jacksonville State this past Saturday, and the Governors haven’t dropped two straight games this season.
Austin Peay has some serious defensive issues, ranking 306th in points allowed per 100 possessions (108.2) and 324th in opponent field goal percentage (47.9%). The Governors score 103.6 points in a return (131st in the country) on 45.7% shooting from the field (99th).
Senior guard Terry Taylor leads the way for the Governors, notching a double-double of 21.2 points and 10.8 rebounds per game. Austin Peay is No. 263 in the NCAA NET Rankings and No. 209 in the KenPom rankings.
- 6-1-1 ATS in the last eight games overall
- 5-1 ATS in the last six games against Austin Peay
- 1-6 ATS in the last seven home games
- 3-8 ATS in the last 11 games overall
The Bruins’ crazy streak will eventually come to an end, and the matchup with the Governors could be a tricky one. Terry Taylor has been balling lately, and the Governors certainly has enough firepower to torture the Bruins’ defense.
However, Austin Peay’s defense has been terrible so far. If the Bruins put on another solid offensive performance, they won’t have any problems beating the Governors. The visitors will struggle to defend Taylor, but the Governors won’t have enough depth to keep it close for 40 minutes and cover.
Pick: Take Belmont -7.5 at -110
Four of the last six encounters between the Bruins and Governors went in the over, as well as four of the Bruins’ previous five games overall. On the other hand, the under is 10-5 in Austin Peay’s last 15 outings, and it is 8-0 in the Governors’ last eight games played on Thursday.
I’m backing the over despite that high line at 153 points. The Bruins prefer to play at a fast pace while executing well offensively. Both teams struggle to make defensive stops, especially the Governors, so betting on the over seems like a logical choice.
Pick: Go over 153.0 points at -110