Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 12:35 PM EST.
Horizon League Tournament – Little Ceasar's Arena – Detroit, Michigan.
5:30 PM EST. The Horizon League tournament heads to Detroit for the third straight year, as the conference continues to brand its championship as Motor City Madness. The venue has changed, as the legendary Joe Louis Arena was retired in favor of the snazzy new Little Ceasar's Arena. The discount pizza chain is not so coincidently the title sponsor for this event. The hometown Mercy of Detroit University finished in the basement of the Horizon at 4-14 and finished the season at 8-23 overall, but coach Bacari Alexander has to be credited for throwing his team into the fire by playing the 43rd most difficult non-conference schedule in the nation. Most of the schools in the top-25 would never dare set a course so difficult. The Mercy took their lumps against Power Five schools like ranked Virginia Tech and UCLA as well as tough road games at quality mid-majors like East Tennessee State and St. Louis. A road win at the Billikens was Detroit's best W of the season. The Mercy will be well served after playing the best schools they could line up. Since the Horizon League made Detroit the permanent home of its championship, the Mercy has been able to snag a first-round victories in back to back years. In 2015 Detroit bested Youngstown State 77-67, and last season the Mercy whacked the Penguins again 92-79. With the benefit of the home crowd, we would not be shocked to see the Mercy continue their winning ways here.
The Green Bay Phoenix were an NCAA Tournament team in 2016 after winning the Horizon League but finished a disappointing 7-11 in 2017, which is the same mark they posted this season. The Phoenix are favored in this game because of their recent dominance over Detroit which included a pair of double-digit victories this season. While the Phoenix might have a slightly better record, it benefitted from playing the 259th weakest schedule in the nation. Those early season cupcake wins over the likes of Lakeland, Wisconsin Parkside and Rockford did this team no favors when conference play began. When these two teams played in Detroit to close out the season just six days ago, the Phoenix were 2½-point pooches, and now they are the betting favorites based on that 107-97 victory. We are in the business of looking for over and under-reactions and this game fits the bill. This is the first time oddsmakers have asked the Phoenix to spot a price on the road this season and this is the time of year to pounce on the house inefficiencies.
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#865 DETROIT +112 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.24)