Northern Iowa vs. Valparaiso odds: Proven computer model locks in strong picks

Northern Iowa and Valparaiso have struggled to gain traction this season in an ultra-competitive Missouri Valley Conference. They will both be looking for a victory to build on when they meet Tuesday (9 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network).

Valparaiso is listed as a 2.5-point sportsbook favorite, with the over-under for total points scored set at 130.

Before you make any kind of pick on this college hoops battle, you need see what the SportsLine Projection Model has to say.

The model, which simulates each game 10,000 times, entered the week on a 12-6 ATS run in its college basketball selections. It has a pick locked in Tuesday that simulations show should cash about 65 percent of the time.

The model knows both clubs have seen their share of misfortune this season. The Crusaders have seen six of their past eight losses come by single-digits, while UNI has had seven of its past nine defeats decided by single-digits.

Northern Iowa is looking to rebound from a 79-75 loss to Southern Illinois in which it squandered an 11-point halftime lead. The Panthers allowed the Redbirds to hit five straight 3-pointers in the decisive second-half run.

The Panthers got their first conference win of the season by holding off Valparaiso 81-76 in their first meeting Jan. 13. They led by 23 early in the second half before withstanding a late Crusaders rally. Tywhon Pickford and Austin Phyfe combined for 43 points.

Northern Iowa has won 23 of the past 25 meetings between the schools and is 20-8-4 ATS against opponents with losing records.

Valparaiso made an NIT appearance last season, but has failed to build on its promising year. The Crusaders started this season with eight straight wins, but a blowout loss to Purdue started a downward spiral from which they've been unable to recover.

They have been felled by inability to prevail in tight games and an often-stagnant offense that averages 70.4 points, No. 264 nationally.

But Valparaiso is coming off an optimistic performance in the second half of a 77-64 home victory over Bradley. It trailed 31-26 at halftime, but used a 21-0 surge to pull away in the second half. Marcus Golder led the way with all of his 16 points in the second half.

Will Valpo even up the season series with Northern Iowa with a home victory and cover, or will the Panthers complete the regular-season sweep, or at least stay within the spread? Visit SportsLine now to find out which side of the Northern Iowa-Valparaiso contest is hitting almost 65 percent of the time, all from the model that enters the week on a 12-6 hot streak.

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