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Betting No. 5 Miami vs No. 12 Drake in the NCAA Tournament

Isaiah Wong

Isaiah Wong

Jaylynn Nash-USA TODAY Sports

Vaughn Dalzell breaks down how he’s betting the No. 5 Miami Hurricanes vs the No. 12 Drake Bulldogs in the NCAA Tournament.

Drake vs. Miami (-3.5): O/U 147.5

We have a fun No. 5 versus No. 12 matchup between the Miami Hurricanes and Drake Bulldogs.

The Drake Bulldogs bring back 67% of minutes from last season, which is the 18th-most, along with 2.88 years of average DI experience (29th). This Bulldogs squad ranks 44th in adjusted defensive efficiency and 98th in offense compared to Miami who comes in at 12th on offense but 132nd on defense nationally.

Drake is one of the smaller teams in the country, ranking 302nd in the country. The Bulldogs have 6-foot-7 and 6-foot-10 players in the starting lineup but besides that, the Bulldogs don’t have much height. The Hurricanes rank 224th in average height and have two 6-foot-7 forwards that peak their small-ball lineup.

Drake matches up well with Miami in the first round in terms of size and playing style. Miami made a deep run last year as anticipated, but this season, I don’t feel the same way about this team.

Miami does not force turnovers (170th), struggles to defensive rebound (216th) and defend the two (261st). Drake doesn’t turn the ball over (29th), but doesn’t force turnovers either (204th). The Bulldogs defensive rebound much better than they offensive rebound (3rd vs 310th), so expect limited second-chance points for the Hurricanes.

It’s also worth noting that Miami’s big man Norchad Omier injured his ankle versus Duke in the ACC Tournament after one minute of playing time. Omier was the best addition for the Hurricanes entering this season, so if he is out or injured, Drake has a real opportunity to own the glass and paint.

I believe Miami is on upset alert here as a No. 5 seed and Drake is a sleeper to make the Sweet 16.

I played Drake at the opening line of +5 and grabbed +3.5 as well. I sprinkled the ML at +150.

Pick: Drake +3.5 (1u), Drake ML (0.25u)

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