Texas A&M is a 4.5-point favorite over Xavier in Thursday’s NIT Finals, per odds throughout the betting market the morning of the game. The line moved early in the Aggies’ direction, as the first spread we saw was -3.5 at FanDuel posted shortly after Tuesday night’s semifinals.
Xavier earned one of the spots in the tournament’s finale at Madison Square Garden with a dominant win over St. Bonaventure in the semifinals Tuesday night, 84-77. Texas A&M laid its claim with an easy win over Washington State in the other semifinal, 72-56.
The total has settled back to a consensus 137.5 after being bet up to 138 early. In fact, ‘over’ bettors could find 137 at BetRivers.
CBK · Thu (3/31) @ 7:00 pm ET
|Madison Square Garden, New York City, NY|
Texas A&M (27-12 SU, 23-15 ATS)
It is not unusual to see a team that feels snubbed by the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee turn down an invite to the NIT or give a half-hearted effort resulting in an early exit. While the Aggies got off to a slow start in the opener against Alcorn State, it has been full steam ahead since the end of the first half of that game (the score was tied, 27-27). Texas A&M went on to win that game by 12 and has won each game since by double-digits.
Since giving up 62 to Alcorn State in the opener, opponents have averaged just 56 points against the Aggies’ defense. The offense has scored 70+ in three of its four NIT games, the 67 it tallied against Wake Forest the exception.
Xavier (22-13 SU, 16-19 ATS)
The Musketeers have not been nearly as dominant as the Aggies during the NIT. They edged Cleveland State in the first round, 72-68. After playing Florida to a 33-33 tie in the first half, Xavier pulled away in the second to win by 16, 72-56. In a quarterfinal matchup, Vanderbilt held a 31-29 lead at the half, but the Musketeers escaped with a 75-73 victory.
Against St. Bonaventure, Xavier got out to a 15-point halftime lead, 38-23, but saw its advantage dwindle to five late in the half. The Musketeers were able to hold on to win by seven, 84-77.
Texas A&M has been one of the hottest teams in the country, with wins in 13 of its last 14 games. There is no reason to think Xavier can cool the Aggies down.