The Butler Bulldogs (9-3) will be at home in Hinkle Fieldhouse when they go head-to-head with the Western Illinois Leathernecks (7-3). Butler opened as a 19-point favorite, while the Over/Under (O/U) for the game has been set at 138 points. Action starts at 7 p.m. ET on Thursday, December 21, 2017.
Western Illinois Leathernecks at Butler Bulldogs Free Preview
In the Leathernecks last game, they lost a close one to the Eastern Illinois Panthers, 78-77. Dalan Ancrum had a solid performance for Western Illinois, contributing 14 points and seven rebounds. Eastern Illinois had a turnover percentage of 10.6 (better than their season average of 17.8). Western Illinois, on the other hand, had an offensive rebounding percentage of 36.0 (above their season average of 25.3).
The Bulldogs come in on a high note after defeating the Morehead State Eagles in their last game, 85-69. Butler rallied around Kelan Martin, who was the teams leading scorer with 20 points on 7-for-18 shooting. Butler dominated nearly every stat category in the game. They had an extraordinary offensive rebounding percentage of 40.6 (above their season average of 29.5) and a free throw rate of 0.242 (above their season average of 0.186). Morehead State was 14.7 and 0.115, respectively, for those same stats.
Butler may have difficulty getting to the free throw line in this battle. The Bulldogs currently rank 308th in the NCAA with a free throw attempt (FTA) rate of 0.190, while Western Illinois ranks third in FTA rate allowed (0.141). It could also be a sloppy game for the offense of the Leathernecks, which ranks 312th in ball security (turnover percentage of 21.9 percent). They’ll be going up against the top-notch defense of the Bulldogs, which forces the 48th-most turnovers in the nation (22.9 percent).
Of Western Illinois 7 games with betting action, four have finished over the O/U total, while 6 of Butler’s 11 games have finished over the projected point total. Both teams have very similar records straight up (SU) and against the spread (ATS). The Leathernecks are 7-3 SU and 5-2 ATS, while the Bulldogs are 9-3 SU and 6-5 ATS.
Both teams have had a player trending in the right direction over their last five games. For the Leathernecks, it’s been Kobe Webster, who has averaged 17.2 points and 5.8 assists, while the Bulldogs have received solid contributions from Martin (21.0 points, 8.2 rebounds and 2.2 steals).
Western Illinois Leathernecks at Butler Bulldogs Free Prediction
Predictions: SU Winner – Butler, ATS Winner – Butler, O/U – Under
- The Bulldogs rank 43rd in assists allowed per game (11.4) while the Leathernecks rank 120th (13.3).
- Western Illinois is 16th in the NCAA with 30.5 rebounds allowed per game while Butler is 19th with 30.8 rebounds allowed per game.
- Butler ranks 50th in steals allowed per game (5.6) while Western Illinois ranks 162nd (7.4).
- The Bulldogs rank 122nd in three pointers allowed per game (21.7) while the Leathernecks rank 231st (25.5).
- Western Illinois ranks second in blocks allowed per game (1.3) while Butler ranks 106th (3.6).
- The Bulldogs average margin of victory in their last five games has been 14.2, up from 7.7 for the season.
- During their last five games, the Leathernecks have scored an average of 79.8 points per game (1.8 above their season average) and allowed an average of 71.2 points per game (7.2 above their season average).