Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 2:30 PM EST odds are subject to change.
Hulman Center - Terre Haute, IN
Southern Illinois +170 over Indiana State
7:00 PM EST. Now that conference play has started, it’s time to separate the pretenders from true contenders. Once you get into the meat grinder of these one-bid conferences like the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC), a team like Indiana State is going to be in for a rude awakening. The Sycamores have feasted on cupcakes this season, having played the 343-ranked Strength of Schedule in the nation. We’ll remind you there are 363 teams playing Division I ball. Indiana State sports a 13-4 record overall and a 6-0 record thus far in The Valley, having beat UIC, Illinois State, Valpo, Evansville, SIU, and Drake. Only SIU and Drake have a winning record, both overall and in the MVC standings. The other four (Valpo, Evansville, UIC, and SIU) are sub .500, and a combined 3-23 in The Valley.
The Salukis of SIU are just 6-9-1 against the spread (ATS), while the Sycamores are 10-6 ATS. Indiana State also has pedigree in the MVC, as the Sycamores will always be associated with Larry Bird who put them on the map as the first mid-major on the national stage. Oh, did we drift back into Indiana State and leave SIU behind again? Sorry about that, it happens.
The Salukis are not getting the respect they should be here, as they are a very fierce invader that is taking back a price against a toothless host. SIU has played a tougher schedule and it has some good wins over the likes of Oklahoma State, and Valley contender Belmont. Last time out, SIU dropped a 69-57 decision to NIU as a small road favorite (-1½), but the Panthers are a decent team too. The Salukis have played the class of the MVC, the Sycamores have played the dregs. That most recent result combined with the Sycamores’ four straight wins and trips to paydirt has the wrong side favored here. One could take back the points, but Salukis outright is where the true value lies.
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Southern Illinois +170 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 3.40)