Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#753 Valparaiso 134 vs.
#754 Eastern Michigan -2.5
Tuesday, December 3, 2019 at 7:00pm EST
Written by Adam Rauzino

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#753 Valparaiso University
#754 Eastern Michigan University
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The Eastern Michigan Eagles will host the Valparaiso Crusaders in non-conference action Tuesday night from the Convocation Center. The Crusaders recorded an easy 98-71 win against Trinity IL in their latest action, and the Eagles were handled 77-56 against UC Irvine on Saturday night. This marks the first meeting between these schools since 2010.

Valparaiso Defeats NAIA Member Trinity Illinois

The Valparaiso Crusaders are a work in progress right now. They are playing poor defense which has led to a loss in two out of their last three games. The Crusaders got back on track with a 98-71 win against NAIA member Trinity Illinois in their previous action.

Watch for Javon Freeman-Liberty in this one. The sophomore guard is having a spectacular season, sporting an average of 22 points on 48% shooting to go along with 6.3 rebounds. Freeman-Liberty has eclipsed 20 points five times this season. Ryan Fazekas has missed the last six games due to injury and he is out indefinitely. The senior forward is one of the Crusaders' top players and has scored a combined 26 points in his two games played. Nick Robinson has come through with a few big games this season, and he currently stands third in team scoring with 9.8 points on a 47% efficiency from the field.

The Crusaders are currently placed 190th overall in Ken Pomeroy’s college basketball ratings, and they are 1-1 on the road. They have fared well from an offensive standpoint and are currently averaging 78 points on the year, ranking them 77th in the country. The Valparaiso defense is having issues, and they are squandering an average of 75.5 points, positioning them down at 305th in the country.

Eastern Michigan Tagged with First Defeat of Season

The Eastern Michigan Eagles will attempt to rebound from their first loss of the season. They opened the season with six consecutive wins and were charged with an ugly 77-56 road loss to UC Irvine on Friday night in a tilt that had Eastern Michigan as 9.5 point dogs.

The Eagles have spread their offense around quite evenly. Ty Groce has only scored a combined 21 points in his last three games after a very productive start. The junior forward is now averaging 11 points on 39% shooting.

Boubacar Toure has already earned three double-doubles on the season which included 14 points and 11 boards in Saturday’s loss. The seven-foot center is having an outstanding season, logging an average of 9.7 points and 8.4 rebounds per game.Yeiskon Montero was leading the team in scoring but only tallied five points on Saturday, and he is currently posting 10.6 points on a 37% mark from the field.

The Eagles are currently positioned 185th overall in the country in Ken Pomeroy’s college basketball ratings and they hold a 3-0 home record. Eastern Michigan is averaging 71.1 points on the season, ranking them 206th overall. They are playing stifling defense and are limiting opponents to an average of only 55.1 points, good for 10th in the DI. The Eagles' first three games were against non-DI opponents.

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

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I am siding with Eastern Michigan in this contest. Valparaiso has lost two out of their last three games and their only win in that span came against a team that plays in the NAIA. The Crusaders are playing without one of the best players in senior Ryan Fazekas who is second in team scoring with 13 PPG, and his absence has been noticeable.

Furthermore, Eastern Michigan features a stellar 6-1 record and their only defeat was on the road against UC Irvine, plus they were underdogs in two of their wins. The Eagles are playing stifling defense, and they have allowed 59 or fewer points in six of their seven games on the season.

Prediction: Eastern Michigan

Full-Game Total Pick

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I expect a high scoring game. The Crusaders’ defense is really scuffling, opponents are shooting a remarkable 49.3% from the field against them this season, and they have already surrendered over 75 points five times this season, so the Eagles should take advantage, plus the over is 6-1 in Valparaiso’s last seven road games.

In addition, while I expect the Eagles to contain Valparaiso, they are averaging 78 points on the season, and play at a quick pace with 76.5 possessions per game. The over is 4-0 in the Eagles’ last four games following a straight-up loss and that trend should resume in this one.

Prediction: Over

Full-Game Prop Bet

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The under on the Valparaiso team total available on PointsBet is a recommended play. Valparaiso is relying quite heavily on Javon Freeman-Liberty with Ryan Fazekas out of the lineup. Freeman-Liberty is the only player averaging double-digits in points and it will be tough to generate significant offense against an Eastern Michigan team holding opponents to 41% shooting.

Prediction: Valparaiso Team Total Under

Half-Time Side Pick

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I am siding with Valparaiso on the halftime line. Eastern Michigan hasn’t been scoring a ton of points in the first half. They are only averaging 28.5 points in the opening half which places them down at 290th in the country, while Valparaiso is posting 35 points in the first half over their last three games.

Prediction: Valparaiso
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Written By Adam Rauzino

Adam has been a sports fanatic his entire life, closely following hockey, baseball, basketball and football. Adam enjoys analyzing various stats, as well as studying Sabermetrics and analytics to take his picks to a whole new level. Adam has a passion for writing about various sports as well as personal finance and has brought his talents to us here at Winners and Whiners. He graduated with a diploma in business marketing and business finance.