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Pick on the Spread for Drake-UAB on December 22

VSiN’s Greg Peterson goes over the best betting options for Friday’s college basketball matchup between the Drake Bulldogs and UAB Blazers

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NCAA Basketball: Conference USA- Conference Tournament Semifinal Chris Jones-USA TODAY Sports

The UAB Blazers have lost three of their last four games against Division I opponents, but UAB has a golden opportunity for a big win just before the holidays on Friday when they host the Drake Bulldogs.

Drake Bulldogs (-5.5, 153.5) vs. UAB Blazers

While UAB lost much of their core from a season ago, they’ve had one of the biggest 3-point shooting outliers of bad luck this season with teams making 37.7% of their 3-point shots against the Blazers at home this season, which ranks 303rd of the 351 Division I teams that had at least one game at home against another Division I team entering Thursday. Since coach Andy Kennedy got to UAB prior to the start of the 2020-21 season, the Blazers have allowed opponents to shoot 31.9% or worse from 3-point range at home in every season.

The Blazers should also see a positive boost from top scorer Eric Gaines from 3-point range, who’s shooting just 21.7% from 3-point range after making 34.3% of his 3’s a season ago.

The struggles of Gaines, who is averaging 13 points, 4.5 assists, and 2.8 steals, is a big reason UAB is shooting just 29.2% from 3-point range overall and 27.6% in home games from 3-point range this season, which is 308th in the country.

While 3-point shooting progression and regression can be hard to gauge, effort on the glass is not and UAB has the rebounding edge against a Drake team that has just two players reeling in more than 3.8 rebounds per game.

UAB is getting an offensive rebound on 34.4% of their missed shots, which ranks 33rd in the country in percentage of misses that get rebounded while Drake is getting a rebound on just 19.9% of their missed shots in games played away from home, which ranks 329th nationally.

If all else fails for UAB, the team has found a way to get to the free throw line consistently, ranking 27th in the country in free throw attempts per possession

With Drake allowing opponents to make 36% of their 3-point shots in games played away from home and UAB having utilizing both the free throw line and offensive glass to manufacture points, the Blazers will get a much-needed home win on Friday.

The Play: UAB +5.5