The 2023 Southern Conference Tournament will begin on Friday evening when the No. 8 seed Mercer Bears face the No. 9 seed The Citadel Bulldogs in the first round. Mercer wrapped up the regular season with a 72-50 win over The Citadel last Saturday, easily covering the 9-point spread. The Bears also notched a 74-65 win over the Bulldogs on Jan. 28. Friday evening's winner will face top-seeded Furman in the quarterfinals on Saturday. 

Tipoff is set for 5 p.m. ET. The Bears are favored by 6 points in the latest Mercer vs. The Citadel odds from Caesars Sportsbook, and the over/under is set at 134. Before entering any The Citadel vs. Mercer picks, you'll want to see the college basketball predictions from the model at SportsLine.

The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every Division I college basketball game 10,000 times. The model enters Week 17 of the season 76-46 on all top-rated college basketball picks this season, returning more than $1,600 for $100 players. Anybody who has followed it has seen huge returns.

Now, the model has set its sights on Mercer vs. The Citadel. You can head to SportsLine to see its picks. Here are several college basketball odds for Mercer vs. The Citadel:

  • Mercer vs. The Citadel spread: Mercer -6
  • Mercer vs. The Citadel over/under: 134 points
  • Mercer vs. The Citadel money line: Mercer -260, The Citadel +210
  • Mercer vs. The Citadel picks: See picks here

Why Mercer can cover 

Mercer has already taken care of business twice against The Citadel this season, covering the spread on both occasions. The Bears were dominant in their win to close the regular season on Saturday, taking a nine-point lead into halftime before outscoring The Citadel by 13 points in the second half. They went deep into the bench in that game, with 15 players getting onto the court. 

Their depth will give them an advantage in a conference tournament setting, but they also have the star power needed to win in the first round. Junior forward Jalyn McCreary, who began his career at South Carolina, leads Mercer with 15.2 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. The Bears have won seven of the last eight meetings between these teams and have covered the spread in six of the last seven matchups. 

Why The Citadel can cover

The Citadel did not have a great finish to the regular season, but it proved that it can spring an upset. It took down top-seeded Furman at home on Feb. 15, despite entering that game as a 16-point underdog. Stephen Clark had 21 points, seven rebounds, four steals and four blocks in a strong performance, snapping the Paladins' eight-game winning streak. 

The Bulldogs were within single digits in three straight losses prior to last Saturday's setback against Mercer, so they have been a competitive team at the end of the season. Clark, a senior forward, is averaging 16.6 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. Senior guard Austin Ash is averaging 15.2 points and 4.6 rebounds, giving The Citadel an experienced duo heading into the biggest game of the season. 

How to make The Citadel vs. Mercer picks

The model has simulated Mercer vs. The Citadel 10,000 times and the results are in. The model is leaning Over, and it's also generated a point-spread pick that is hitting in well over 50% of simulations. You can only see the pick at SportsLine.

So who wins The Citadel vs. Mercer? And which side of the spread is hitting well over 50% of the time? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the spread to jump on, all from the advanced model that is 76-46 on its top-rated college basketball picks this season, and find out.