The Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders and UAB Blazers will square off against each other for the second time in just four days, so once more, I’m taking a closer look at this Conference USA showdown to find the best betting pick.
Last Thursday, I’ve easily won both wagers, as the Blazers outlasted the Blue Raiders 70-59 as 7.5-point road favorites with a total of 134.5 points. This time, UAB opened as a massive 15-point home fave on BetMGM Sportsbook, so let’s see what can we expect from the Blazers and Blue Raiders when they meet at Bartow Arena in Birmingham, Alabama.
Middle Tennessee’s woe continues
The Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders (3-10; 1-6 Conf.) are on a five-game losing streak following Thursday’s loss to the Blazers. They’ve dropped seven of their last eight games overall, and six of those seven losses have come by 11 or more points.
The Raiders blew a 10-point lead against UAB. They shot a decent 41.5% from the field while going 9-for-18 from beyond the arc, but the Blue Raiders committed a whopping 19 turnovers and struggled mightily against the Blazers’ D down the stretch.
Junior guard Dontrell Shuler had 16 points, three boards, and three assists last Thursday. He’s topping the team’s scoring chart with 12.6 points a night, but the Raiders tally only 89.8 points per 100 possessions (345th) while yielding 99.4 in a return (123rd). Middle Tennessee is No. 310 in the NCAA NET Rankings and No. 278 in the latest KenPom rankings.
UAB aims for its fourth straight win and fifth in a row over Middle Tennessee
The UAB Blazers (13-2; 6-1 Conf.) remained atop of the USA Conference standings following that 11-point victory over the Blue Raiders while extending their winning streak to three games. Before Thursday’s clash in Murfreesboro, the Blazers outlasted the Rice Owls twice on the home court, 78-68 and 86-74.
UAB trailed by ten points midway the second half at Murphy Athletic Center, but the Blazers tightened up their defense down the stretch and outscored the Blue Raiders enough to cover the spread. Junior guard Tavin Lovan went off for 23 points, six boards, four assists, and four steals, while senior guard Tyreek Scott-Grayson added 15 points including three 3-pointers.
The Blazers are No. 68 in the latest NCAA NET Rankings and No. 90 in the KenPom rankings. They score 105.7 points per 100 possessions (100th in the country) and surrender 97.3 in a return (92nd), while Tavin Lovan leads the way with 13.3 points and 3.9 boards per game.
- 11-4-2 ATS in the last 17 games overall
- 4-0 ATS in the last four games against Middle Tennessee
- 0-5 ATS in the last five games overall
- 0-5 ATS in the last five tilts against the Conference USA
The Blazers are perfect 4-0 SU and ATS in their last four meetings with Middle Tennessee. They’ve played excellent defense all season, ranking 21st in the country in opponent field goal percentage (39.0%) and 58th in opponent 3-point percentage (30.2%) while recording 8.8 steals per contest (19th), so I’m backing UAB to extend its dominance over the Blue Raiders.
Middle Tennessee has struggled offensively a lot thus far. The Blue Raiders will have another tough day in the office when they visit UAB.
Pick: Take UAB -15.0 at -110
The under is 13-3 in Middle Tennessee’s last 16 games overall, and it is 9-4 in UAB’s previous 13 outings. Considering the Blue Raiders’ awful offense and the Blazers’ stout defense, I’m expecting another low-scoring affair.
The Blue Raiders failed to score more than 59 points in six of their last eight showings. The Blazers allow 58.5 points per game this term and 60.9 per contest in the conference play.
Pick: Go under 133.5 points at -110