Akron Zips are the NCAA Basketball Pick in MAC Action

LT Profits Sports Group

Tuesday, February 24, 2015 3:54 PM UTC

Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015 3:54 PM UTC

Each day LT Profits Sports seeks an overlay side that has a better chance of cashing than its spread, offering long term value. Here is their Side Value Play for Tuesday.


The underdogs appear to hold good value Tuesday night in an important MAC contest in the East Division when those Akron Zips (17-10, 2-6 away) pay a visit to the Buffalo Bulls (17-9, 8-2 home) at Alumni Arena in Buffalo, NY at 7:00 ET in a game available on ESPN3.

The point spread at Bet365 has Akron as a decided road underdog for this contest with the current line at +6½ with odds of -110.

Nice Opportunity to “Buy Low”?
Akron has lost three straight games but that seems to have the Zips undervalued getting this many points in an important conference game, as remember they were 17-7 with some good wins before this slump began and their strength (three-point shooting) matches up well with a Buffalo weakness. That was a key reason why Akron won the first meeting between these teams 75-72, albeit back home in Ohio.

Buffalo recently has a three-game losing streak of its own but has since been the winning NCAA Basketball pick in its last two games, both on the road first at Eastern Michigan and then more impressively at Bowling Green, one of the teams these schools are in close pursuit of in the MAC East Division.

Seeding Implications for MAC Tournament
These teams finished first (Buffalo) and second (Akron) in the MAC East last year but it did not turn out to matter as both teams were upset relatively early in the MAC Tournament. This time the teams enter this game tied for third in the East at 8-6 just two games behind first place Kent State and one game behind second place Bowing Green, and with this being the second and final head-to-head meeting, it takes on added importance for seeding purposes.

It was three-point shooting that won the game for Akron in the first meeting two weeks ago and that same three-point shooting should again be a key in at the very least the Zips keeping this game close if not pulling the outright upset. Akron went 10-for-24, 41.7 percent from three-point land in the first encounter while Buffalo went just 4-for-17 beyond the arc in a three-point Zips win.

And that was par for the course as Akron has gotten 40.8 percent of its point distribution from three-point buckets this season, which is the third highest such percentage in the entire country! They are also first in the MAC in that area vs. conference foes. Buffalo meanwhile is just 225th in the nation in three-point shooting at 32.8 percent and dead last inside the MAC at a dismal 29.1 percent.

Shaky Perimeter Defense Hurts Buffalo
Just as importantly, the Buffalo defense does not seem well-equipped to stop the Akron long-range bombers if they are on top of their game. Buffalo is ranked 223rd nationally in points against at 68.2 per game and one of the reasons has been a vulnerable perimeter defense, which is not ideal vs. a good three-point shooting team here.

The Bulls are 128th nationally in three-point defense at 33.3 percent, which is actually good, but that figure rises to a much worse 36.2 percent in MAC games, ranking Buffalo 10th out of 12 MAC teams in three-point defense.

Furthermore Akron figures to be the team getting more second opportunities in this contest as the Zips are 84th nationally in offensive rebounding percentage at 34.0 percent vs. a national average of 31.1 percent, and they are a tad better at 34.7 percent in MAC play. On the other side, Buffalo may not offer much resistance ranking 197th in defensive rebounding percentage allowing opponents to grab 31.5 percent of missed shots, and that goes up to 32.7 percent in conference.

Bulls in Bit of an ATS Rut
Finally, Buffalo has not exactly been cashing many tickets at the betting windows recently either, as the Bulls are just 3-8 ATS in their last 11 games overall.

Add this all up and Akron seems like an overlay getting this many points at Buffalo on Tuesday.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Akron +6½ (-110)

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