College Basketball odds, picks and predictions for DePaul vs. Butler (Wednesday, December 29)

Odds DePaul vs. Butler

DePaul travels to Indiana to face Butler as both sides aim to open Big East with a win.

During the first month of the season, DePaul was one of the frontrunners for the comeback team of the year.

The Blue Demons didn’t start until December 23 last season due to COVID and finished with a 5-14 record. The group was outmatched by an average of 14 points per game, which resulted in head coach Dave Leitao being suspended.

Tony Stubblefield has taken over as head coach and has done a complete 180 with the program through 10 games. The group is 9-1 and now scores 14 points per game better than the opponents.

The Blue Demons have taken impressive wins over Rutgers and Louisville, with their only four-point loss coming to Loyola Chicago.

They match Butler, who is 7-4 on the season. In addition to his win over Oklahoma, Butler has only had victories over opponents outside the top 240 in the country.

When matching top-100 opponents, Butler is outscored by an average score of 69-50.

Whoever can dictate the pace in this matchup has a significant advantage in starting Big East game with their first win.

DePaul thrives by playing at a blistering tempo that ranks 32nd in Adjusted Tempo. That led the Blue Demons to their 13th scoring offense, averaging more than 81 points per game.

DePaul’s offense is led by senior guard Javon Freeman-Liberty, who averages 20.9 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. Freeman-Liberty has scored 20 or more points in seven of his 10 games this season. He is tied on 35% of his 51 3-point attempts.

He is complemented by three other goalscorers who have scored in double figures this season.

Striker David Jones averaged just five points per game last season, but has increased that number to 17.1 this year. He exploded against Louisville by hitting 15-of-22 from the field, scoring 33 points and grabbing 14 rebounds.

DePaul wasn’t great at shooting from behind the bow – he hit only 32% – but the offense only takes 24% of his shots from a 3-point range, which is 317th nationally. The Blue Demons focus on getting out in the transition and reaching the ring, where they hit 55% of their shot attempts.

Defensively, the group was generally efficient, keeping opponents at 31% of the 3-point range and 45% within the arc – both of which are in the top-100 nationally.

Butler relies on playing slow games, which is highlighted by his 351st Adjusted Tempo rating. The group is nationally outside the top 340 in terms of average attack length.

The slow pace has resulted in the Bulldogs scoring 60 points per game (322nd) and 61 points per game (34th).

The group was strong defensively by keeping seven opponents under 60 points this season. They have been able to limit the appearance of the perimeter, keeping opponents up to 30% of the 3-point area.

But the Bulldogs have dominated inside the paint by having opponents convert on 53% of their attempts, which is 298th nationally.

It has been a nightmare offensively for Butler, who has scored no more than 52 points in his four games against top-100 opponents.

The main reason for this is that Butler has not been able to take care of the basketball because it has transferred 22% of its offensive assets.

Butler shoots poorly at basketball as it is outside the top 250 in field goals to 11 games. 46% of the team’s field goals come from behind the arc, but it connects on only 32% of those shots.

The Bulldogs were just as bad at 2-point attempts, taking 47%, which is 265th nationally. Life doesn’t get any easier in this matchup, as DePaul did a good job defending the three-point line.

Bet Selection DePaul vs. Butler

Whichever team can dictate the pace has a big advantage. Butler is in 351st place at the adjusted pace with an average of 60 points per game. Meanwhile, DePaul ranks 34th in Adjusted Tempo, hitting 81 points per game.

DePaul will likely be the side that will win the tempo fight. The Blue Demons will take advantage of the turnover-prone Butler attack that coughed up the ball on 22% of his assets. That will create transition opportunities for DePaul, who wants to take advantage of every opportunity it gets.

Butler has shot terrible basketball this year and is outside the top 250 in 2-point and 3-point field goals. Those misses will give DePaul more opportunities to pick up the pace.

Butler’s 7-4 record is deceptive in that it has beaten only one opponent better than 240th in the country. The Bulldogs have lost an average of 19 points this season compared to good opponents.

See if that trend continues as they open Big East play against a rejuvenated DePaul roster that changed things last season.

Choose: DePaul -1 (Play to -3)

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