Bet of the Day – Marquette Golden Eagles at Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Jan. 22, 2011

Marquette Golden Eagles (+3.5) at Notre Dame Fighting Irish (-3.5), Over/Under 149

Haven’t had a bet of the day in a few days (was traveling all week).  Today’s game is an interesting match up between two very good teams.  Marquette beat Notre Dame by 22 at home just 12 days ago.  Marquette shot a ridiculous 70.6% from 3-point range in that game.  Expect a better effort from Notre Dame tonight; they are a very good home team and will have senior Carleton Scott back on the floor.

Marquette (13-6) is starting a very tough stretch of games.  They are playing 5 ranked teams in their next 6 games.  3 of those ranked-team games will be on the road.  They are 2-5 on the road this season.  The Golden Eagles average 49.2% shooting with 37 rebounds and 8 steals per game on offense.  On defense, they allow 43.6% shooting with 33 rebounds and 6 steals.  Marquette is an excellent shooting team.  They are a mediocre rebounding and defensive team.  Marquette faces a motivated team after being embarrassed last time out.  Can Marquette continue their hot shooting against Notre Dame?

Notre Dame (15-4) has played a tough schedule.  It doesn’t get any easier (they visit Pitt on Monday) so a win tonight is critical.  Notre Dame is 12-0 at home this year; they will be looking for redemption tonight against Marquette.  The Fighting Irish average 44.9% shooting with 38 rebounds and 5 steals per game on offense.  On defense, they allow 40.8% shooting with 32 rebounds and 5 steals.  Notre Dame is a decent offensive team and good defensive team.  They shoot the ball better at home.  Notre Dame will be hard to beat a 2nd time, especially at home.

The Sagarin Ratings have Notre Dame 87.34 and Marquette 84.54.  With the 4.11 home advantage, the fair line is Notre Dame -6.91.

My basketball model predicts Notre Dame 75.71 over Marquette 73.33 for 149.03 total points.  Marquette is a better shooting team.  Notre Dame has a better and more efficient defense.  I also modeled this game with each team’s home/away stats; the game swings several points further to Notre Dame’s favor.  The key variance contributor is Marquette’s offensive and defensive shooting percentage.  To win and cover, Marquette will need to again shoot above their average against a good defense.

Today I am taking Notre Dame minus the points.  Here’s why.  Marquette embarrassed Notre Dame 12 days ago; Marquette shot the ball way above their average and Notre Dame was without a key player.  Notre Dame is an excellent home team and Marquette has struggled defensively on the road.  Notre Dame needs a conference win tonight.  Bet Notre Dame -3.5.

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