Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 11:30 AM EST odds are subject to change.
IUPUI +10 over New Orleans
Lakefront Arena, New Orleans, LA
3:00 PM EST. There will probably be more people watching the NFL game between Buffalo and Detroit but you know what, that game and this game pays exactly the same, only this one is easier to choose a side with. First, New Orleans can’t be a double digit favorite over Lizzo and her band, let alone a Division I team.
Head coach Mark Slessinger has been at New Orleans for over a decade now, dating back to before the Privateers were even in the Southland. His teams have consistently been among the best in the conference, finishing with a winning record in league play in five of the last six seasons. That kind of success is tough for any program to sustain, let alone one that deals with budgetary limitations like New Orleans. But that’s a testament to the culture — or “collective leadership,” as he calls it - that Slessinger has built. That mindset will always give the Privateers a solid base, even if the 2022-23 season projects to be more of a rebuild. Yes, New Orleans is coming off a second-place finish in the Southland — its highest finish since winning the league in 2017 — but it has to replace star guards Derek St. Hilaire and Troy Green. That duo combined to average nearly 37 points, 10 rebounds and five assists per game and were both first team All-Southland selections. They were also the collective driving force behind Slessinger’s preferred up-tempo style of play. Aside from that pair, a wave of returners will be asked to play bigger roles. Six newcomers enter the fold, too, adding to the list of unproven players on which the Privateers will rely.
New Orleans’ return to the top of the Southland last season was the peak of a three-year rebuilding cycle that saw the program go from 11th in a 13-team league to sixth to second. This season looks like it may be the beginning of a new cycle given who the Privateers lost and how important they were to the team’s identity and success. From a simple minutes and usage standpoint, it is a lot to replace.
We’re not going to discuss IUPUI much here but we will say that you would be hard pressed to find a team with worse market appeal. We don’t care. IUPUI is 0-4 Against the Spread (ATS) but they lost to Iowa St, Chicago St, Drake and Denver and they tackle a massive step down in class when facing this team.
Big favorites mean small margin for error and therefore need to check a lot of boxes. We naturally want to back good teams and fade bad ones, but the price of admission is often high. In order to lay the really big numbers we want several factors to line up favorably. We want to lay points with top teams, programs and coaches that are accustomed to being big favorites and have proven they can cover big numbers in the past. The Privateers of New Orleans are usually taking back double-digits and not spotting them. IUPUI Coach Matt Crenshaw will surely use this price to motivate his team, who actually might be better than New Orleans. We seldom play underdogs that can’t win outright and this one is no exception.
IUPUI +10 -109 (Risking 2.18 units - To Win: 2.00)