Defense Key for Florida State, Baylor in Chalky Efforts Monday

Jay Pryce

Monday, January 15, 2018 1:31 PM UTC

Monday, Jan. 15, 2018 1:31 PM UTC

Defense is first for No. 23 Florida State and Baylor under longtime head coaches Leonard Hamilton and Scott Drew. Oddsmakers expect the Seminoles and Bears to use it to their advantage Monday, both short-priced favorites over Boston College and Oklahoma State, respectively.

No. 23 Florida State (-3) at Boston College

Boston College (12-6 SU, 6-6 ATS) is one of the biggest surprises in the ACC. Going 2-16 SU in league play last year, the Eagles have a win over favorites Duke (89-84) and fell by less than two buckets against ranked Virginia (59-58) and Clemson (74-70).

A highly-efficient offense is fueling BC’s resurgence. It ranks 77th in KenPom’s adjusted efficiency ratings, scoring 110.2 points per 100 possessions. Guard Jerome Robinson is the top scorer with 18.1 points per game and enters on fire. The junior, who received votes for ACC Preseason Player of the Year, has posted 20-plus points in four of five conference clashes, shooting 54.4 percent from the floor. Robinson is joined in the backcourt by the dynamic sophomore Ky Bowman. He is the only player in the nation posting a stat line with at least 16.3 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 5.1 assists per game.

The duo will find it a challenge to crack the Florida State (13-4 SU, 10-4 ATS) defense. Head coach Leonard Hamilton’s specialty is to force opponents into ineffective situations, and this year’s squad is excelling.

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We dug deep Saturday now we turn our attention to BC. #BeatBC pic.twitter.com/CV6JTeR3Ze

— FSU Men's Hoops (@FSUHoops) January 15, 2018
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The Seminoles defense ranks 14th in effective opponent field-goal percentage (44.4). It protects the rim as good as any in the country, swatting 16.7 percent of attempts down low. Opponents shoot just 50.5 in the paint overall (13th). Nor are offenses finding much success from behind the arc, either. The Seminoles hold foes to 30.5 percent from deep.

Florida State is the better team, has played a tougher schedule and rolls out a disruptive defense that will fluster BC. The Eagles will begin to fall to earth sooner rather than later. The Seminoles are 13-4 SU and 11-6 ATS as road favorites in the last decade in ACC play under Hamilton when tipping off greater than 4-point chalk in the last meeting with an opponent. Florida State, winners of six straight in the matchup, hammered BC 104-72 as 18.5-point favorites last year. Expect a much closer battle Monday, but there is still a few points value laying the points with the visitors (-3).

Free NCAAB Pick: FSU -3Best Line Offered: BetOnline

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Oklahoma State at Baylor (-6)

Baylor (11-6 SU, 5-5 ATS) is off to its worst Big 12 start in years, going 1-4 SU through the first five games. The schedule has been brutal, three defeats coming against ranked opponents (No. 16 TCU, No. 8 Texas Tech and No. 2 West Virginia).

The Bears, losers of two in a row, have not dropped three straight games in four years. They are desperate, angry and itching to prove they belong in the upper half of the standings. Oklahoma State (12-5 SU, 5-9 ATS) had better watch out. In the last decade, Baylor is 47-13 SU (78.3 percent) at home vs. unranked Big 12 opponents. When entering with a better point differential on the year, the record jumps to 40-9 SU (81.6 percent).

Coaches picked the Cowboys to finish last in the standings prior to the year. Former assistant Mike Boynton is in his first year as coach following the departure of Brad Underwood. The team likes to play in transition, ranking 14th in the country with 28.8 percent of their shots on the break. Bad news is Baylor that is disciplined and will not allow too much success on the run. Moreover, Scott Drew’s men hound the round more than any team in the nation. The Bears top the nation allowing just 18.0 percent of shots from the paint. Opponents are forced outside to score, making it tough for transition-favoring teams like Oklahoma State to shine. Baylor wins and covers the 6-point spread on a fabulous defensive effort.

Free NCAAB Pick: Baylor -6Best Line Offered: 5Dimes

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