Marquette vs Creighton Odds, Picks and Predictions: Kalkbrenner Shines Amid Kolek Doubts

Tyler Kolek's potential absence means everything for Marquette, and our college basketball picks wonder if Ryan Klkbrenner and Creighton can capitalize on Saturday.

Mar 2, 2024 • 11:51 ET • 4 min read
Ryan Kalkbrenner NCAAB
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

Two of the best teams in the Big East will square off on Saturday afternoon as the Marquette Golden Eagles visit the Creighton Bluejays.

Marquette (22-6) has won 11 of its last 12 games, but may be without point guard Tyler Kolek, who suffered an oblique injury on Wednesday, putting college basketball odds in flux. Creighton (21-8) has won five of six itself, including a stunning upset win over the Connecticut Huskies on February 20.

Kolek runs the offense for the Golden Eagles, so losing him would mean big changes in how they attack. We’ll take a look at what this means for bettors in our free college basketball picks and predictions for Marquette vs. Creighton on March 2.

Marquette vs Creighton best odds

Marquette vs Creighton picks and predictions

While there has been no official word about Kolek’s status for Saturday’s game, oblique injuries can take time to heal properly, and Marquette isn’t in a position where it must rush him back, as its March Madness position is secure. With that in mind, I’m recommending bettors look at this game as though Kolek isn’t playing, as at best, he’s likely to be significantly limited.

Kolek averages 15 points per game, second-best on the team. However, his real contribution to the offense comes via the 7.6 assists he dishes out per contest. The Golden Eagles don’t have anyone else who provides more than three assists per game, and his assist-to-turnover ratio is among the best in the country.

Marquette has options to pick up Kolek’s minutes. Kam Jones (15.9 ppg) will both take on the bulk of the scoring responsibility and get more ballhandling responsibility, while the likes of Stevie Mitchell (8.2 ppg) and Chase Ross (6.7 ppg) will see their backcourt playing time increased. 

But there’s no replacing Kolek, the defending Big East Player of the Year. And Creighton has enough talent to win this game at home even if he were playing and at 100%, let alone with him on the sidelines.

The Bluejays boast one of the most efficient offenses in the country. While Creighton is never one to push the pace, it still scores 80.9 points per game, doing so on 48.9% shooting from the field. The team has three elite scorers in Baylor Scheierman (18.2 ppg), Trey Alexander (17.6 ppg), and Ryan Kalkbrenner (17.1 ppg). Kalkbrenner, in particular, matches up well against Marquette, a team that runs without a true center on the court. 

Marquette was able to score a five-point win at home the first time these teams played. But that required 15 points and eight assists from Kolek, who played 36 minutes in the matchup. It also saw Kalkbrenner have one of his worst games of the season, scoring just eight points and grabbing three rebounds in 35 minutes.

With Kolek out, Kalkbrenner playing to his typical stats, and the Bluejays at home, this is a completely different game. While sportsbooks have moved the lines a couple points to account for Kolek’s uncertain status, it’s not enough to reflect the impact his loss will have on this game. I’m taking Creighton and laying the points this afternoon.

My best bet: Creighton -6.5 (-110 at Caesars)

Marquette vs Creighton same-game parlay

Creighton -6.5

Under 154.5

Ryan Kalkbrenner 15+ points

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Kolek’s absence will play a huge part in this game, which is why I’m taking Creighton on the spread. For my same-game parlay, I’ll also go with the Under. Of these two teams, only Marquette typically plays at pace, and without its point guard available, the Golden Eagles likely have to slow things down a bit to keep the game under control.

I’m also going to take Kalkbrenner to score at least 15 points this afternoon. While he struggled in the first matchup between these teams, Kalkbrenner has scored 15 points or more in nine of his last 11 outings, and should have a favorable matchup today. 

Learn how to bet a same-game parlay with these helpful tips and strategies.

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Marquette vs Creighton spread and Over/Under analysis

The Bluejays opened today’s game as a 4.5-point favorite. However, the consensus line has jumped to Creighton -6.5, as the general feeling is growing that Kolek won’t be playing today. You can get -110 on either side of that spread, though some books are discounting Marquette at -105. 

The Golden Eagles have been great against the spread this year, posting a 17-10-1 ATS record. Creighton has been mediocre in that regard, going only 15-14 ATS on the season.

The injury to Kolek is hanging over this game, and assuming he is out, Marquette is going to suffer a huge loss. It’s not just Kolek’s scoring or status as perhaps the conference’s best player, but also the fact that he runs this offense from the point guard position. The Golden Eagles may be fine long term, but this won’t be their day. I’m taking Creighton and laying the points.

The total on this game opened at 153 points. There’s been very little movement, with most books now offering the Over/Under at 153.5. It’s worth shopping around, however, as sites have their main total set anywhere from 152.5 to 154, providing plenty of options for taking either side or even trying to middle the market.

Marquette may play relatively quickly, but it isn’t scoring as much as expected, allowing the Under to hold a 17-11 edge in its games. Creighton may be a highly efficient offense, but it too gives the edge to the Under, which has gone 15-14 when the Bluejays play.

I’m surprised that there hasn’t been much movement on the total to go along with the change in the point spread. With Kolek out, we can expect Marquette to slow down at least a little bit. Even if the Golden Eagles keep their pace of play intact, their efficiency should suffer without one of the better point guards in college basketball at the helm. I’m leaning towards the Under in this game.

Marquette vs Creighton betting trend to know

Creighton is 5-1 ATS in its last six games overall. Find more college basketball betting trends for Marquette vs. Creighton.

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Marquette vs Creighton game info

Location: CHI Health Center, Omaha, NE
Date: Saturday, March 2, 2024
Tip-off: 2:30 p.m. ET
TV: FOX

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