Tournament hopes are on the line heading into the 2022 MVC Championship Game betting matchup. Loyola-Chicago is 24th in KenPom rankings meaning they are likely in the NCAA tournament win or lose, but Drake (84th) will likely need a win on Sunday and seal the automatic bid to get into the NCAAs.
Drake is a +5 point underdog on Sunday, but that number could have some value considering they swept the regular season series with the Ramblers. Then again even without coach Porter Moser who has led the team to a Final Four and a Sweet 16 over the past four seasons, Loyola-Chicago still seems like a team poised to make some noise in March.
Loyola-Chicago Has Looked Dominant
The Ramblers were 13-5 in the MVC during the regular season, which was only good enough for a three-way tie for 2nd in the conference behind 14-4 Northern Iowa. Loyola-Chicago proved they still may be the cream of the crop in this league, taking down 1st place UNI in dominant fashion on Saturday, 66-43 as -3.5 favorites.
Loyola-Chicago won their tournament opener 66-50 over Bradley to easily cover the -5.5 spread on Friday. Never underestimate the power of two blowout wins to save minutes especially as the championship game combatants prepare to play their third game in as many days.
This is Loyola-Chicago’s last year in the MVC as they head to the Atlantic 10 next season. They would love to cement their legacy in the Missouri Valley Conference with a tournament win, especially in Drew Valentine’s first year as head coach.
Drake Has Fared Well In This Series
The Bulldogs had a little tougher time to get to the 2022 MVC Championship Game betting matchup, going to OT with Missouri State on Saturday before notching a 79-78 win. Tucker DeVries had 23 points as four different Drake players scored at least 13. DeVries ‘only’ had 13 points in the tournament opener even though the Bulldogs ran away with a 65-52 win over Southern Illinois as -3 point favorites.
Drake finished in a tie with Loyola at 13-5 in the Valley this season, but the Bulldogs picked up two wins against the Ramblers this year. That includes an 83-76 road win on February 19th as +7.5 underdogs and 77-68 on January 30th as +2 point home ‘dogs. DeVries averaged 16.5 points in the two wins.
Drake does have an offensive challenge on Sunday (O/U 131.5) as Loyola looks locked into their postseason defensive form. Northern Iowa didn’t have a field goal for the final 15 minutes of Saturday’s game, and conference Player of the Year AJ Green (19.1 ppg) was held to 13 points.
Free 2022 MVC Championship Game Betting Pick
A slight majority of the public actually likes Drake getting the points in this matchup. The Bulldogs have to be hungry with their NCAA Tournament hopes on the line, but that Loyola-Chicago defense can be very frustrating as well. The Ramblers ran through regular season conference champ Northern Iowa on Saturday and could very easily do the same against Drake on Sunday – avenging their two losses during the regular season.
Loyola Chicago 61 – Drake 51
Free Pick: Loyola Chicago – 5