Free NCAA Basketball Picks: Toledo's Talent To Prevail Against Akron

Mark Lathrop

Friday, January 15, 2016 2:30 PM UTC

Friday, Jan. 15, 2016 2:30 PM UTC

Why is a team at the bottom of the conference standings favored over one on the top in this matchup? Our NCAAB handicapper analyzes the matchup and will provide us with his NCAA basketball pick.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Toledo -1.5
Best Line Offered: at TheGreek


Akron vs. Toledo
In Friday night MAC action we have an interesting matchup between the Akron Zips (13-3, 2-1) and the Toledo Rockets (10-6, 1-2) in Toledo. Akron is trying to keep their hold on top of the MAC East Division, while Toledo is trying to make up ground MAC West. Even though Akron has the better overall and conference record, the Rockets are favored in this game by a single point across the board. The early O/U total in this game has opened at 147.5 at BookMaker.

Akron is coming off of just their third loss of the season at the hand of Central Michigan on the road. There are some real anomalies in the box score for this game, beginning with the fouls called on the Zips. 22 fouls were called on Akron compared to just 14 on Central Michigan. Central Michigan used this discrepancy to really get a groove on at the free throw line, going 25-28 from the charity stripe. Akron didn’t get to the free throw line much, just eleven times, and then they only hit 5 free throws while there.

The foul situation got Akron’s balance offensive attack out of sorts, as the Zips had to go ten deep on the bench just to get warm bodies in the game. The Zips usually have a bunch of offensive contributors, and their top three scoring leaders contribute about the same in each game: sophomore guard, Antino Jackson – 11.6 PPG, junior center, Isaiah Johnson – 11.4 PPG, and sophomore guard, Noah Robotham – 11.3 PPG.  Johnson also leads the team in rebounds with 8 per game.

This was the first time that Akron had lost to Central Michigan since 2008.

Toledo is also coming off of a loss at home to Northern Illinois, 71-66. In this game it was the Rockets that were able to get to the free throw line, going 21-27 compared to Northern Illinois shooting 9-11. Senior center, Nathan Boothe, led the Rockets and all scorers with 30 points in the game, as he put up 10-16 from the field and hit 8-9 from the free throw line. Boothe also led the Rockets in rebounds with 9 so he had a monster of a game.

Boothe also leads Toledo over the season with 19.3 points per game, which is just ahead of junior guard, Jonathan Williams, who averages 19.1 points per game. The duo scored 51 of Toledo’s 66 points on Tuesday night against Northern Illinois.

When looking at the recent series trends between these teams the spread makes a little more sense, regardless of the season records. Toledo has won the last three meetings SU and against the NCAA basketball odds, and absolutely hammered Akron the last time these teams played at Toledo. Toledo is also excellent at home and 8-2 SU in their last ten there.

In this matchup I like the upper classmen of Toledo at home to repeat the performance of last year against the Zips. In that game Boothe ran into foul trouble and only ended with 9 points, but Jonathan Williams picked up the slack while putting up 15 points en route to an 84-67 win. Akron also got called for 26 fouls compared to just 15 for Toledo. A little home cooking indeed.

I’m trusting the initial shade of the lines makers in this game and believe that Toledo has the edge as well. That’s why I am taking Toledo -1 as one of my NCAA basketball picks.

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