NCAAB

NCAA Tournament Betting: Akron vs. Creighton Picks, Prop Bets and Odds

Zack Bussiere
Zack Bussiere@ZackBussiere

Very few things on the sports calendar can match the excitement and unpredictability of the NCAA Tournament. So why not add betting to the mix via the college basketball odds at FanDuel Sportsbook?

The 2024 edition of the big dance has arrived, and here at FanDuel Research, we'll have you covered with a betting guide for each game.

The third game scheduled for Thursday will be between the Creighton Bluejays and the Akron Zips. Which bets should you consider for the third game in the Round of 64 in the NCAA Tournament?

All college basketball odds come from FanDuel Sportsbook, and lines may change after this article is published.

NCAA Tournament Betting Picks

Creighton vs. Akron Betting Odds

Date and Time: Thursday, March 21st at 1:30 p.m. ET

Spread: Creighton -12.5 (-105)

Total: 140.5

Moneyline:

  • Creighton: -880
  • Akron: +580

Creighton vs. Akron Statistical Breakdown

Advanced stats from KenPom, Bart Torvik and numberFire.

Creighton Blue Jays

  • numberFire Ranking: 12th
  • Bart Torvik Ranking: 10th
  • KenPom Ranking: 11th
    • Adjusted Defensive Efficiency Ranking: 24th
    • Adjusted Offensive Efficiency Ranking: 12th
    • Adjusted Tempo Ranking: 207th

Akron Zips

  • numberFire Ranking: 112th
  • Bart Torvik Ranking: 131st
  • KenPom Ranking: 116th
    • Adjusted Defensive Efficiency Ranking: 97th
    • Adjusted Offensive Efficiency Ranking: 162nd
    • Adjusted Tempo Ranking: 268th

Creighton vs. Akron Best Bet

Under -140.5 (-105)

As one might expect in a clash between a 3 seed and a 14 seed, Creighton is a heavy favorite to advance over Akron.

The Bluejays have one of the best offenses in college basketball. They rank 12th in adjusted offensive efficiency (AdjOE; 120.6) and 3rd in effective field goal percentage (57.5%). They are incredibly efficient at scoring inside -- their two-point field goal percentage (60.6%) ranks 3rd -- but they also shoot from behind that arc at a high rate as their three-point rate (48.9%) ranks 7th. All of that is a huge problem for an Akron side that ranks 193rd in two-point percentage allowed (50.7%) and 165th in three-point attempt rate allowed (36.8%).

Despite the positive outlook for Creighton’s offense, there are several reasons to consider the under in this contest.

First, Akron may have a difficult time keeping up with the Bluejays. Akron ranks 176th in AdjOE while Creighton ranks 27th in adjusted defensive efficiency. The Zips are at their best in the paint -- where rank 30th in two-point percentage (54.8%) -- but that plays into a strength of the Bluejays’ defense, which ranks 20th in two-point percentage allowed (45.7%). Outside the arc, Akron’s three-point rate (41.5%) ranks 71st, but Creighton ranks fourth in lowest three-point attempt rate allowed (27.2%).

Second, both these teams are better at rebounding on defense than on the offensive end. Creighton ranks 22nd in defensive rebound rate (75.4%) but 280th in offensive rebound rate (25.9%). The Zips rank 50th in defensive rebound rate (74.4%) but 149th in offensive rebound rate (29.5%). Second-chance points could be hard to come by in this contest.

Third, both teams play at a slow tempo. The Bluejays’ adjusted tempo (66.9) ranks 213th, and the Zips’ adjusted tempo (65.7) ranks 276th. Both sides average fewer possessions per game than the average team in college basketball (67.5), another thing that could keep scoring down.

Additionally, there are some questions about the Bluejays’ form entering the tournament. They struggled in the Big East Tournament, earning a narrow two-point win over Villanova before losing to Providence, 78-73, in the next round. Neither of those two sides made the Big Dance. Any drop in Creighton’s level of play on offense will benefit the under.

Creighton vs. Akron Prop Bets

Baylor Scheierman 3+ Made Threes (-154)

Baylor Scheierman is the Bluejays’ leading scorer this season, averaging 18.4 points per game. Most of his contributions come from behind the arc as he leads Creighton in both three-point attempts per game (8.3) and three-point field goals per game (3.1). As such, his game is well-positioned to exploit the primary mismatch in this contest between Creighton’s seventh-ranked three-point attempt rate (48.9%) and Akron’s 165th ranked three-point attempt rate allowed (36.8%). The Bluejays and Scheierman love to shoot the three and could be further incentivized to do so in this matchup.

Trey Alexander Over 4.5 Assists (-125)

Coming into this game, Akron will certainly be aware of Creighton’s reliance on the three. The Zips haven't defended the arc well all season, and now they’re tasked with slowing down an offense that excels at just that. If Akron places some additional focus on defending the perimeter, that could open things up for Trey Alexander to generate assists.

In addition to being the Jays’ second-leading scorer at 17.6 points per game, Alexander leads Creighton in assists per game (4.8) and minutes per game (36.8). When the Bluejays decide to attack the basket, they convert at an elite rate. Their two-point field goal percentage (60.6%) ranks third while Akron ranks 193rd in two-point percentage allowed (50.7%). I like Alexander’s chances of getting to five assists.


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The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author's advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.