Georgetown, Elon Home Tilts Present Totals Picks

Jay Pryce

Monday, February 26, 2018 2:07 PM UTC

Monday, Feb. 26, 2018 2:07 PM UTC

A pair of 'over/under' wagers in Marquette at Georgetown, and James Madison at Elon presents betting value on a light Monday night NCAA basketball card. What’s your best bet? Here’s ours:

Marquette (-1.5) at Georgetown

Marquette (16-12 SU, 13-14 ATS) is aiming for its fourth Big East road win of the year at Georgetown (15-12 SU, 13-11 ATS), which would equal the program's most in a season since 2012. History suggests it will be a difficult task. The Golden Eagles have dropped six of their last seven at Capital One Arena. Tipping off an average 5.3-point underdog, this is Marquette’s first meeting as the betting favorite in this stretch.

Offense is the Golden Eagles’ key to winning. They rank 15th in the country in KenPom’s adjusted efficiency ratings, relying on a trio of guards. Sophomore Markus Howard (20.9 ppg), senior Andrew Rowsey (19.4 ppg) and sophomore Sam Hauser (14.5 ppg) combine for 67 percent of the team’s points (81.0 ppg). One of three has led the squad in scoring in all but one contest (Creighton). Howard did the most damage in the first matchup with the Hoyas in late December, torching them for 35 points on 9-of-18 from the floor in a 74-65 win.

Defense is optional for the Golden Eagles on the road. It surrenders 87.5 points per game on 52.1 percent opponent shooting in eight Big East away contests this season. All but one home program matched their team total projection, surpassing it by 7.0 points per game.

The Hoyas, meanwhile, also struggle in this spot defensively. They yield a 48.0 opponent field-goal rate hosting conference foes, giving up 84.4 points per game. Coach Patrick Ewing’s transition guarding is the weak link, yielding a 59.6 effective field goal rate on the break. This ranks 303rd nationally. Going the other way, however, watch out:

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— Georgetown Hoops (@GeorgetownHoops) February 24, 2018

Both teams like to get up and down the court, each ranking in the top 100 in tempo (Marquette, 97; Georgetown, 66). Couple this with a pair of porous defenses and the ‘over’ bet appears like a no-brainer. Nevertheless, both offenses are inconsistent and Georgetown’s superior rebounding edge will take away a handful of easy put-backs for Marquette. Ignore overtime in a 93-89 win over St. John earlier in the year, and the ‘under’ is 6-1 when the Hoyas square off against a Big East opponent pulling down fewer than 33 rebounds a night. The Golden Eagles enter averaging 32.3 boards per contest.

One of these two will not hit 80 points as predicted. Pick ‘under’ the game total, but wait to see which way bettors take the 160 opener before wagering the number. Check updated lines on SBR’s NCAAB odds board.

Free NCAAB Pick: UnderBest Line Offered: BetOnline

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James Madison at Elon (-3.5)

For over 70 years, Elon (14-16 SU, 9-18 ATS) has played its home games at the quaint Alumni Gym. Tonight will be its last; the Phoenix move to the brand new Schar Center next year. A winning sendoff is motivation, but it will have to shake a string of poor performance to succeed.

The Phoenix, considered a CAA contender at the beginning of the year, are sitting in seventh place and forced to play in the opening day of the league tournament — reserved for the bottom four teams. It is 2-9 SU and ATS in its last 11 games, losing the last five by 15 points or more in each. Yikes. The offense is cold, hitting just 36.8 percent of its shots in the last two weeks.

James Madison (9-21 SU, 15-13 ATS), meanwhile, is 2-11 SU on the road, but is coming up big for backers. The Dukes are 10-2 ATS, besting a 6.2-point average line by 2.7 points per game. They find a way to be competitive almost every time out. All but one defeat (Northeastern, 80-67) has been in single-digit territory, four of the last five no more than a trey.

Look for Elon to get its scoring touch back tonight. It averages 80.3 points in regulation time at Alumni Gym versus opponents with a negative point differential. The Dukes enter with a -2.4 margin. JMU, however, will not go away, and stay within striking defense. Look for the effort to boost the final score beyond a 142 game total. Pick ‘over.’

Free NCAAB Pick: OverBest Line Offered: SportsBetting

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