Iona, Niagara Feature In MAAC Action Sunday

sports picks ncaab

Jay Pryce

Sunday, January 14, 2018 1:28 PM GMT

Sunday, Jan. 14, 2018 1:28 PM GMT

A light college basketball schedule Sunday has us mining the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference for betting value, and we struck gold. For a nugget, check out our picks and predictions for Rider at Iona and Saint Peter’s at Niagara here.

Rider at Iona (-2.5)

Rider (11-6 SU, 9-3 ATS) is riding a four-game win streak after coasting 78-60 over Quinnipiac on Friday. This team is all offense. It plays at a lightning quick pace and penetrates the basket relentlessly. The Broncs are the 25th quickest team in KenPom’s tempo rating and take 45.8 percent of their shots at the rim. That is 12th most nationally. Dynamic point guard Stevie Jordan is key. The sophomore averages 14.1 points and 6.8 assists per game, driving to the hoop on nearly every possession. Jordan is one of five players averaging double figures in scoring.

Iona (10-7 SU, 7-6 ATS), meanwhile, is led by one of the best offensive minds in the country, Tim Cluess. The veteran coach preaches a run-and-gun, motion offense that tends to test the efficiency meter from behind the arc. The unit takes 44.2 percent of its shots from deep, which is the 47th highest rate in the country.

The Broncs and Gaels own the two best offenses in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, ranking 75th and 93rd in adjusted efficiency nationally. Iona’s unit likely has the edge in this one. The Gaels, favorites to win its third straight conference championship, punish average perimeter defenses. It is 7-1 SU and 4-1 ATS versus opponents allowing a 32.5 percent 3-point rate or higher, hitting 11.6 treys per game. Up against better, Iona is 3-5 SU and ATS. The Broncs enter on the wrong end of the spectrum, yielding 34.3 percent and against a weaker schedule. Iona wins from behind the arc. Lay the 2.5 points and expect a barnburner.


Free NCAAB Picks: Iona -2.5
Best Lines are (-105) at Heritage

[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":3349323, "sportsbooksIds":[169,93,1096,999996,139], "LineTypeId":1, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]Saint Peter’s at Niagara (-1.5)

Niagara (10-8 SU, 7-7 ATS) are winners of six of their last eight with defeats coming to conference foes in the above-mentioned preview Rider (99-76) and Iona (99-93). The team is overly reliant on a pair of guards: Matt Scott (21.7 ppg) and Kahlil Dukes (20.8 ppg). The first and second team All-MAAC Preseason selections tally 50.5 percent of the Purple Eagles’ 84 points per game. The offense is one of the most transition-oriented in the nation, ranking fourth with 33.2 percent of its shots on the break. You miss a shot or get caught sleeping, look out. Here's Dukes with the warning:

Kahlil Dukes with his third 3-pointer of the game #Together #MAACHoops pic.twitter.com/GQRNULZ2Qw

— Niagara Basketball (@NiagaraMBB) January 13, 2018

Saint Peter’s (8-8 SU, 5-6 ATS) is the polar opposite on the ball, ranking 339 out of 351 in tempo. Although head coach John Dunne returns his top four scorers from last season, defense is the focus. “I have a hard time accepting giving up open shots, giving up transition baskets, giving up layups,” Dunne told a reporter earlier in the year. “We love to take away the other team’s best player. That philosophy for me is never going to change regardless of how the game changes.” The Peacocks allow 67.1 points per game on 41.5 percent shooting.

Saint Peter’s is going to stick to their game regardless of how fast Niagara comes at them. This will likely prove a bad strategy late, unable to catch up if falling behind. The Peacocks have won just three of 11 games to hit the college basketball oddsboard this season, despite tipping off a 4.6 average underdog. Scoring 63.6 points per game, it is hitting just 40.7 percent from the floor. The unit must do better to compete. Niagara, meanwhile, is 7-7 SU and ATS in the betting market, catching 1.8 points on average. They have won five of six against opponents with a lower winning percentage, and possess a talent edge with the 1-2 punch of Scott and Dukes. Lay the 1.5 points here. The Purple Eagles fly high.



Free NCAAB Picks: Niagra -1.5
Best Lines are (-105) at Heritage
[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":3349332, "sportsbooksIds":[169,93,1096,999996,139], "LineTypeId":1, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]
comment here