Free NCAA Basketball Picks: Our Best Bets for December 29

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Nick Ongenda #14 of the DePaul Blue Demons celebrates. Andy Lyons/Getty Images/AFP.

The DePaul Blue Demons and Butler Bulldogs will play their first Big East game of the season. With Butler at home, can DePaul notch win number 10 as an underdog at the NCAAB odds? Which way to lean at the top-rated sportsbooks?

DePaul Blue Demons vs. Butler Bulldogs

Wednesday, December 29, 2021 – 05:00 PM EST at Hinkle Fieldhouse

The DePaul Blue Demons will take on the Butler Bulldogs on the road in a Big East battle at 5:00 PM EST. DePaul has gone 9-1 on the year with their only loss coming against a top 25 opponent in Loyola Chicago, by four.

Meanwhile, Butler already has four losses on the year and just got crushed by Purdue, 77-48 on a neutral court. The only solid win for Butler came against Oklahoma, on the road, where they won in overtime against Oklahoma. Butler has lost to Michigan State by 21, Houston by 18, and Texas A&M by 7.

Both teams play a different style offensively. DePaul likes to run the floor and get quick shots while Butler likes to stall and play in the halfcourt. DePaul's strategy is working much more.

The Blue Demons average 81.6 points per game while shooting 47.6% from the field. Inside, DePaul is shooting 55% and is still shooting 32.2% from outside. The Blue Demons are consistently looking to score inside and have dominated the paint throughout the season.

DePaul has also limited turnovers to 16.3% and has won the offensive rebound battle plenty of times with 34% offensive rebounds on the season.

Another area where DePaul dominates opponents is at the foul line. The Blue Demons rarely foul opponents and are currently 6th in the nation defensively holding teams to an 18.8 free throw attempt to field goal attempt ratio.

DePaul also holds opponents to just 31% from long range and 45% from inside the arc, while allowing just 27% offensive rebounds on the season. Butler, on the other hand, is shooting an effective field goal percentage of 47.5% while turning the ball over 22% of the time.

The Bulldogs loves to shoot threes but have only hit 32.2% of long-range shots. Inside, it's not much better. Butler is shooting 46.8% from inside. And even if Butler did find a way to get to the line, they're only shooting 67.5% from the charity stripe, which is a below-average number.

Defensively, Butler has struggled with teams inside, allowing opponents to shoot 53.3%. They've defended the three well, but DePaul, unlike Butler, will rarely take the three in comparison. You won't see much ball movement out of DePaul, but you will see plenty of shots in the post and around the rim that are much higher percentage looks.

Prediction

DePaul is 17th in the nation in average height and has plenty of experience on the roster. The Blue Demons aren't very deep, but due to limiting foul, DePaul has been just fine with keeping out their starters for most of the game.

Butler's Chuck Harris, the leading scorer, had an illness last Thursday and is questionable to play. There are also three other players that could miss time for Butler, including senior big man Bryce Nze and Bo Hodges.

If those two are out, things will be even better for DePaul. If not, DePaul still has the advantage in my eyes for our NCAAB picks.

NCAAB Pick: DePaul +1.5 (-118) at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

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DePaul +1.5 (-118)
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