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College Basketball Underdog Winner for Friday: Nebraska-Omaha (+15.5)

My math models only favor Minnesota by 13 points and the Mavericks apply to a very good 41-8-1 ATS momentum situation of mine that is predicated upon their upset win over Nevada last week. Let’s take a closer look at this game to see whether there is a discernible edge with the road underdog, who is currently getting +15.5 points as of Friday morning.

Analysis: Minnesota is likely to overlook Nebraska-Omaha tonight, which would be a huge mistake as the Mavericks lead the Summit League in points per game (84.7), field goals made per game (28.8), free throws made per game (19.8), free throw percentage (.773), rebounds per game (37.4), defensive rebounds per game (26.6) and assists per game (17.4). Overall, the Mavericks are averaging 84.5 points per game this season on 46.9% shooting from the field and 76.6% from the foul line, which is certainly good enough to be competitive against Minnesota. The Mavericks have covered four of their last five road games, including an outright upset at Nevada last week (a 5* winner for us). Nebraska-Omaha is 7.5 points per game better than average offensively, whereas the Gophers are 8.2 points per game better than average defensively so it’s a fairly even matchup when the Mavericks have possession of the ball.

The Mavericks’ solid offense is enhanced by the return eight letterwinners from last year’s squad, including four starters: senior guards Justin Simmons and Alex Phillips, senior center John Karhoff and junior guard CJ Carter. Simmons is the most important member of the returning cast he is the Summit League’s leading returning scoring after averaging 16.7 points per game last season. Meanwhile, Carter brings invaluable experience as he played the most minutes per game of any Maverick player last year (29.2 minutes per game), while Karhoff is the team’s leading returner in rebounds.

Over its last five games, Nebraska-Omaha has averaged 88.8 points per game on 52.6% shooting from the field, 42.6% shooting from beyond the arc and 73.6% from the charity stripe. I have also been extremely impressed with how Omaha has competed against superior opposition this season, especially in light of the fact that the Mavericks are only in their third year as a reclassifying Division I school. Head coach Derrin Hansen has done a terrific job with this program, and he now enters the 2013-2014 campaign with a roster consisting of five seniors, four juniors, four sophomores and one true freshman. The Mavericks have already defeated Northern Illinois as 6.5-point road underdogs, while easily covering the point spread in road contests against both Iowa (83-75; 29.5-point underdogs) and UNLV (73-70 (14-point underdogs). And, as stated earlier, Nebraska-Omaha is coming off five consecutive wins, including an 82-80 upset over the Wolf Pack as 7-point underdogs.

Sports Pick: Omaha-Nebraska (+15.5) (-110)

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