A pair of sizzling teams match up in the semifinals of the Horizon League tournament, which has mostly gone according to form to this point. Northern Kentucky is delighted to be past the hurdle of Detroit, which is the only team that has beaten the Norse since Jan. 15. In that stretch, the Norse have essentially printed money for bettors, going 13-2 SU and ATS and 12-0 SU and ATS against teams not named Detroit.
But Purdue Fort Wayne has been almost as hot. Despite closing their year with four straight road games, the Mastodons won all of them and covered the number in the process. Purdue Fort Wayne comes into this matchup having gone 10-0 SU and 8-2 ATS since the end of January, and the Mastodons haven’t lost a game in the state of Indiana since Jan. 15.
Northern Kentucky Norse vs. Purdue Fort Wayne Mastodons Odds, Trends, and Picks
Opening Betting Odds and Lines
|(19-11 SU, 15-13 ATS)
||(21-10 SU, 19-10 ATS)
When: 9 p.m., Friday, March 4th
Where: Enterprise Center, St. Louis
Betting the Total
One of the main reasons that Purdue Fort Wayne hasn’t lost since Jan. 30 is the Mastodons’ offense. PFW hasn’t failed to score 70 points since Wright State held it to 63 on Jan. 30, and the Mastodons topped 78 points in each of their past four games. The big question here is whether Northern Kentucky is simply a bad matchup for the Mastodons or whether the first two meetings were a case of PFW taking bad shots.
Recent performances by the Norse suggest it might be the latter. Northern Kentucky plays at one of the slower tempos in the Horizon League, but the Norse have been a bit more willing to hit the gas in recent weeks. NKU has topped 70 points itself in seven of its past eight games (of course, the one exception was scoring 52 against Detroit) and has reached the 70s pretty consistently. Northern Kentucky had its own shooting issues against Purdue Fort Wayne in its two meetings, but it seems pretty unlikely that the Norse will shoot 37 percent for the third time against the Mastodons this year.
I recommend backing Over 135.5 points.
Backing the Spread
With two equally hot teams, it’s pretty tough to choose a winner. The Norse consistently struggled to score in their two meetings with the Mastodons, while Purdue Fort Wayne’s offense was more inconsistent. With a third meeting in the cards and two teams that have been evenly matched to this point, it’s a good idea to look at the pace of the first two matchups.
When we do, we see that Northern Kentucky got off 57 shots in one matchup and 58 in the second, suggesting that the Norse will be pretty consistent. The Mastodons, on the other hand, took 46 shots in the loss and 52 in the win. What’s more, they reeled in the 3-pointers in the win, taking what the defense gave them.
That suggests that the Mastodons have shown the greater improvement and have the higher ceiling. Plus, with a matchup this close, taking the points is usually a good idea. To provide a bit of extra cushion, I recommend playing Purdue Fort Wayne to +2.5.