The December 15th slate does not offer much for casual fans or nationally followed programs, but there are a couple of good matchups that are worth your attention from a wagering standpoint. Today, let’s take a look at some money-making opportunities on Thursday.
Chattanooga Mocs at Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders (-5)
The Chattanooga Mocs turned some heads last season when they won the Southern Conference tournament and took an incredibly talented Illinois team to the brink in the NCAA Tournament. This season, the Mocs have started 7-3 despite the loss of last season’s emotional and statistical leader, Malachi Smith.
Smith’s departure via free agency, as well as head coach Lamont Paris’ departure, would set most mid-majors back, but this Mocs squad has not been deterred. New coach Dan Earl came in and landed some impact transfers, and the results have come on the court. Chattanooga has defeated Murray State this season, but it is difficult to get a complete read on them because they have also played three non-division one schools.
Center Jake Stephens leads this team with over 21 points per game, along with 9.5 rebounds and 2.1 blocks. The VMI transfer is a super senior and has teamed with journeyman Jamal Johnson to keep this team relevant in the SoCon. Johnson, who is playing for his fourth school in five years, is averaging a career-high in points and rebounds but has struggled shooting from deep thus far.
The Blue Raider are also led by an experienced super senior in wing DeAndre Dishman. Dishman has been playing college basketball since 2016 and is currently averaging a career-best 12.2 points along with 5.8 rebounds, 2.0 assists, and 1.4 steals per game. Elias King has also realized his potential this season, averaging 9.1 points and 4.8 rebounds while shooting 39% from deep on the season.
Neither team is particularly fantastic in any one aspect of the game, but the Blue Raiders represent by far the best competition for the Mocs to date. MTSU protects the rim effectively, ranking fifth in the nation in defensive block percentage as well as 21st in defensive turnover percentage. The Mocs rank 264th in the nation in offensive turnover percentage. Look for the Blue Raiders to cover this number rather easily at home.
Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns (-11) at McNeese State Cowboys
This game makes the cut for one reason only, and that reason is named Jordan Brown. If the name sounds familiar, it’s because once upon a time, the Roseville, CA native was a five-star recruit headed to Nevada. He later transferred to Arizona and is now posting gaudy numbers for Bob Marlin.
It’s difficult to get a read on Louisiana because while they have defeated Louisiana Tech and Harvard, they have also demolished three non-division schools. Brown is putting up big numbers this season, averaging 19.6 points and 7.1 rips per game but has inflated those numbers by averaging 30 points per game against those “gimme” games.
While most bettors look for road favorites to wager against, this is not the correct instance to make that play. McNeese State has been horrendous this season, even at home. The Cowboys are just 1-2 against the anticipated margin on the season and are underperforming the spread by -14.5 points per game.
Brown should feast against this Cowboys team that ranks 330th in the nation in defensive effective field goal percentage and 292nd in defensive two-point percentage. To boot, they rank 306th in opponents’ offensive rebounding percentage, which means the Cajuns should be able to punish McNeese State with second-chance opportunities where they rank 59th in the nation in conversion rate. Louisiana should easily cover this number on the road.