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College sports betting: Notre Dame on the road against Providence

One of the nation’s top basketball teams offers an opportunity for college sports betting. Notre Dame looks to bounce back after a 72 – 58 loss at West Virginia. The ninth-ranked Fighting Irish (21-5), led by coach Mike Brey, will hit the road and play the Providence Friars (14-13) at the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island.

The Irish are favored to secure their eighth straight victory over Providence. Notre Dame has gone 10 wins 4 losses in perhaps the toughest conference in the NCAA: the Big East. Providence, however, has gone 3 wins 11 losses in Big East play.

The Fighting Irish are second in conference standings behind sixth-ranked Pittsburgh, and ahead of No. 11 Georgetown, No. 16 Louisville, No. 25 St. John’s, No. 20 Syracuse, No. 14 Villanova, Cincinnati, and No. 15 Connecticut.

Betting Pick: Notre Dame ( - 5 1/2 )

The Irish are – 5 ½ favorites against Providence (14-13, 3-11). Notre Dame is led by guard Ben Hansbrough (17.4 points per game) and forward Carlton Scott (11.8 points per game and 7.1 rebounds per game), and the team averages 75 points per game while allowing 64.8 points.

Defensively, the Irish are expected to focus their efforts on one key player, and will likely try to force the Friars’ supporting cast to play a bigger role in the game. Providence averages 76.7 points while allowing 73.4 points.

College sports betting for this game has a theme of diffusion of talent vs. concentration of talent. Providence is largely a one-man show led by Big East scoring leader Marshon Brooks who averages 24.4 points. Brooks – a senior who is expected to be drafted in the NBA this summer – could face the occasional double team when the Friars have the ball, preventing him from scoring easy baskets and grabbing offensive rebounds.

Aside from scoring, the 6’5” swingman leads Providence in rebounds at 7.4 per game. However, in two career games against Notre Dame, Brooks has only averaged 10 points.

Why is Notre Dame only favored by a – 5 ½ spread? First, the Friars are 13-4 at home. Secondly, Providence defeated then-No. 19 Louisville and then- No. 8 Villanova last month. However, the Friars, largely relying on Brooks, have shown inconsistent performance against subpar opponents. They lost 79-76 to last-place DePaul on Thursday and 93-81 in overtime to Cincinnati on Saturday.

Additionally, while the Irish have an impressive 15-0 home record, the team has a losing record (3-4) when playing on the road. Tip-off for the college sports betting game will be at 7pm EST and broadcast on ESPN3.