If you are looking for a full slate of college basketball, you are not really going to get it on New Year’s Day. Well, actually, if you like small conference college basketball then you are going to be in luck. We have a lot of basketball available for wagering, and that’s the only thing that matters to me. I wouldn’t have minded a big game on the schedule on Saturday, though.
There are no ranked teams playing on Friday, but this is a day typically reserved for small conferences anyway. Saturday is going to have what you’re looking for with ranked teams. 14 games featuring teams in the Top 25 are expected to be played. Texas and Kansas is by far of the most interest to me. That game pits the No. 8 team in the country against No. 3 at Allen Fieldhouse in Kansas.
Four ranked teams were in action on New Year’s Eve. All of the higher ranked teams won, with No. 6 Wisconsin beating No. 21 Minnesota, 71-59, while No. 16 Michigan beat Maryland on the road, 84-73, and Oregon cleaned out Cal with ease, 92-69. There were a couple of fouls in the final minute that may have upset more than a few people in that Oregon contest, though. Oregon fouled Cal to hand them some free points with seconds left on the clock.
I don’t need to tell you the significance of those points. Liberty and Lipscomb is likely a game that is on no one’s radar. The Liberty football team recently put this athletic program on the map, so they shouldn’t be a foreign school. Liberty had a breakout season, which ended with a win over Coastal Carolina in an overtime thriller. That has easily been the bowl game of the season so far. Hopefully we get three very entertaining College Football Playoff games.
The Liberty basketball team has been playing well recently as well. They are off to a 8-3 start and playing some pretty good basketball in the Atlantic Sun Conference. The Flames are coming off a blowout win over Alcorn State by a score of 108-65. Against comparable competition, they’ve had no issues handling them with ease. Liberty has played hard against Big Ten and SEC schools, which is where their three losses have come from. Head below for our free Liberty vs. Lipscomb pick on January 1, 2021.
Liberty Flames vs. Lipscomb Bisons NCAA Betting Odds:
Liberty vs. Lipscomb Prediction:
Liberty has played five programs that every college fan will recognize. They opened the season against Purdue, 77-64 loss, Mississippi State, 84-73 win, South Carolina, 78-62 win, TCU, 56-62 loss.
After beating up on Saint Francis and Bluefield, Liberty had another tough challenger on their hands. Liberty held tough with No. 12 Missouri on the road. They might have been better than the Tigers anticipated. Despite the loss, Liberty kept the game close in a 69-60 loss.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with the effort that the Flames gave in all of those games. They even found a couple of wins against Mississippi State and South Carolina. Then when pressed into duty against smaller schools, they’ve beaten them fairly easily.
After losing against Missouri, Liberty beat Columbia International, 73-26, SC State, 82-52, Carver, 91-38, and Alcorn State, 108-65. If Liberty wasn’t competitive in the games against bigger schools, I’d lean towards that just picking on poor opponents, but the Flames held their own.
The Flames have scored an average of 77.8 points a game to put them in the top-100. More impressively, Liberty is shooting 50.7% from the field for 21st in the NCAA. Their defense has been stout, and it’s what they used to stay in games against superior opponents. With just 58.5 points against per game, the Flames are 20th in the NCAA defensively.
Conversely, the 5-5 Lipscomb have allowed 70.8 points per game for 184th. Their competition has not been tough either, with big losses against Arkansas and Cincinnati their only notable opponents. Their previous three games were against Trevecca Nazarene, Crowley’s Ridge, and Freed-Hardman.
So, yeah, they’ve had it easy recently, and still weren’t able to skew their numbers too favorably. Liberty football was a money machine this season, and the basketball team has been as well. The Flames are 7-1 ATS going into Sunday. Lipscomb is just 1-6 ATS. I think Liberty should be at least a ten-point favorite here, so -7 looks like good value on the Flames.