Arkansas Pine-Bluff at Alcorn State (-3.5)
I have to admit, this isn’t the first time I’ve bet on either of these teams and on a short slate, it comes in handy having some knowledge and viewership on these smaller schools. Having faded both schools twice each and being successful all four times, I find myself battling between which side is the right pick.
On one hand, AKPB has won three games this season and played 12 total, while Alcorn State is 1-6 and just earned their first win of the season on Saturday. Alcorn State has won the last two meetings 60-52 and 82-54 covering the -.5 spread today, but both squads only return two starters from last season’s team.
Both teams feature fantastic individual scorers. For Alcorn State, they have guard Troymain Crosby. Crosby’s scored 18, 23, 23 and 24 points in his last four games and after missing two contests versus Baylor and Vanderbilt. The offense has scored 71 and 74 with him back. Forward Tyree Corbett has also lit up the stat sheet for Alcorn, scoring 3, 10, 12, 15 and 24 points in his last five games with six or more rebounds in three.
Kirk Lee and Byron Joshua are third and fourth options and although being limited this season, Lee has scored 2, 9, 14 and 20 points in four games. Joshua is a freshman and had an impressive all-around performance as he chased a triple-double versus Baylor with 12 points, eight assists and five rebounds.
AKPB’s best player is guard, Shaun Doss Jr. He averages a team-high 18.6 points and 5.0 rebounds per game. Doss has scored 18, 23, 25 and 31 points in his last four games and recorded a double-double in three of those four. He also recorded four straight games with 10 or more boards in and a season-high 13 versus Mississippi Valley State before only three in his previous game. Doss will likely get far more rebounding opportunities and not in a blowout.
AKPB also has two more capable guards. Joshuwan Johnson averages 10.5 points per game and scored 16 and 25 in his last two games. Dequan Morris has scored 4, 5, 13, 14 and 18 points in his last five games.
With all that scoring for what are two of the top-10 ranked programs in the country, you have to figure the Over is a much safer look? The College Basketball models I use project the total score to be 77-76 (153), 74-71 (145) and 74-67 (141). Of the three, I look at the 145 and 153 marks because the models present more indicators as to why they project that.
When looking at this matchup, there are ton of offensive production from both teams and when both squads have won, Alcorn scored 71 and AKPB has scored 75, 91 and 92 points. The Over 145 most likely factors in AKPB’s lowest win total and Alcorn’s only win total giving us that 145.5 or 146.5 line you might have. However, big money dropped the line down to 141.5 with 99% of bets pouring in there this morning. Now, all the models project the Over and I think accounting in they competition these teams have faced, I wouldn’t be surprised to see one or both teams surpass the 70-point mark today.
AKPB is ranked third with a 14.7 second average defensive length of possession, which really means they are third worst in terms of how long until they allow a team to score or the possession to end. Alcorn State is ranked 345th in adjusted defensive efficiency and 347th in effective field goal percentage allowing 61.2% of opponents’ shots to drop. AKPB is 340th with 58.1% allowed, so not far off.
Both teams have slow projected offenses and paces because Alcorn went up against five straight teams ranked inside the top 137 and AKPB played seven-of-12 inside the top 100.
Both teams should be able to put up points on each other this time around and I expect it to be more even than the 82-54 meeting and higher scoring than the previous 60-52 game.
Game Pick: Over 141.5 (0.5u)
La Salle (-2) vs Saint Joseph’s
I’m surprised this spread isn’t larger as La Salle has won four straight at home versus Saint Joseph’s and five of the last seven games overall. La Salle swept Saint Joseph’s last season in the season finale at Saint Joseph’s 78-77 behind six double figure scorers – marking the first win at Saint Joseph’s since 2014.
Saint Joseph’s has one win this season, a narrow 67-64 victory over Albany. They’re 1-9 on the season, 0-6 on the road and lost eight straight before going 1-1 in their last two. Albany has lost double digits in six-of-nine games this season. All of La Salle’s five wins have come by two or more and at home, they’ve won by 10, 18 and 37 to teams ranked worse than Saint Joseph’s. The only home loss this season for La Salle came on Saturday to Davidson, 77-53. Saint Joseph’s last outing was Tuesday also to Davidson, an 80-66 loss.
La Salle is an odd team offensively, failing to have one player average more than 9.1 points per game. However, they have 10 players that play at least 15 minutes and six players with 20 or more minutes per game. They are a deep team that shoots the three well at 35.0% (105th) and defends it as well at 28.1% (19th).
Saint Joseph’s is terrible from beyond the arc, going 28.8% (309th) from the field and allowing opponents to make 38.1% (310th) of their three-pointers. Saint Joseph’s is hitting 52.8% (87th) of their two-point jumpers while La Salle’s weak points start and end there at 47.2% offensively (248th) and 54.2% defensively (298th) from the field.
La Salle has lost three straight games versus talented Davidson and UMass squads and an non-show versus George Washington. Although they haven’t shown much over the past few games, this is a nice spot to back the Explorers to get another win. It’s going to come down to how well La Salle shoots the three and defends it, while limiting Saint Joseph’s access to the paint all night and the free-throw line where they are 70.91% as a team (150th).
Game Pick: La Salle ML (1u)