The UAB Blazers and Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders will face off against each other for the first time this season on Thursday, January 28, so here’s the best betting pick for their Conference USA showdown at Murphy Athletic Center in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, along with the latest odds on DraftKings Sportsbook.
The Blazers are 3-0 straight up and ATS in their last three encounters with the Blue Raiders. The visitors enter Thursday’s clash as firm favorites, so let’s see what we can expect from UAB and Middle Tennessee.
The Blazers wants to keep their top spot in the Conference USA – West
The UAB Blazers (12-2; 5-1 Conf.) are coming off a two-game home set against the Rice Owls. They won both contests, 86-74 and 78-68, and covered once along with a push, as the Blazers were listed as 10-point favorites in each of their two encounters with Rice.
UAB is now sitting at the 69th spot of the NCAA NET Rankings, so the Blazers hope they can reach the Big Dance for the first time since 2015. They are No. 92 in the latest KenPom rankings, tallying 104.8 points per 100 possessions and allowing 96.9 in a return (89th).
Senior guard Michael Ertel leads the way for the Blazers with 13.4 points and 3.4 rebounds per game. Junior guard Tavin Lovin dropped 32 points on the Rice Owls last Saturday, and he’s averaging 12.6 points, 3.8 boards, and 2.8 assists on the season.
The Blue Raiders sit bottom of the Conference USA – East
The Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders (3-9; 1-5 Conf.) are the worst team in the entire Conference USA. They’ve dropped six of their last seven games overall including the previous four. After a two-game set at Southern Miss, the Raiders suffered a couple of losses to Western Kentucky at home, 82-67 and 68-52.
Middle Tennessee is No. 312 in the latest NCAA NET Rankings, having another disappointing season. Last year, the Blue Raiders went 8-23 overall and 4-14 in the conference play. They score 89.7 points per 100 possessions this term (345th in the country) while yielding 98.7 in a return (119th).
Junior guards Jordan Davis (10.7 PPG, 4.0 RPG) and Dontrell Shuler (12.1 PPG, 3.1 APG) lead the way for the Blue Raiders. However, Middle Tennessee is 341st in the nation in field goal percentage (36.9%) and 321st in 3-point percentage (28.6%).
- 10-4-2 ATS in the last 16 games overall
- 12-6-1 ATS in the last 19 games against Middle Tennessee
- 1-7 ATS in the last eight games overall
- 1-5 ATS in the last six home games
The Blue Raiders are one of the worst offensive teams in the country and will struggle mightily against the Blazers’ firm defense. UAB is 20th in the country in opponent field goal percentage (38.8%) and 31st in opponent 3-point percentage (28.9%).
Just a few days ago, the Blazers forced a whopping 33 turnovers in a 78-68 win over Rice. They will torture the Blue Raiders defensively, so give me the Blazers and points.
Pick: Take UAB -7.5 at -110
Although the Blue Raiders love to play at a fast pace, averaging 71.7 possessions per 40 minutes (51st in the country), the under has hit in 12 of their last 15 games overall. On the other side, the under is 8-4 in UAB’s previous 12 outings, and it is 4-1 in the Blazers’ last five road contests.
I’m sticking with these trends, though the Blazers, who average 68.7 possessions per 40 minutes, won’t mind to speed up things against the Raiders’ awful offense and look for easy baskets in transition. The total has gone over in four of the last five meetings between UAB and Middle Tennessee.
Pick: Go under 134.5 points at -110