MAAC Basketball Picks: Capper Leans 'Under' 160.5 For Monmouth vs. Fairfield

Willie Bee

Monday, January 11, 2016 1:26 PM GMT

Much of tonight's college sports betting focus will be on the gridiron, but there's still plenty of basketball on the slate including a MAAC clash between Monmouth and Fairfield.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Under 160½ 
Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker

 

Monmouth vs. Fairfield
So much for home field advantage in the NFL Playoffs. Not that it was a huge surprise to see Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Seattle and Green Bay all win this past weekend, the Packers the only one of the four to close as a small road pup on the pro football odds board. Still, it did mark the first and only time all four visiting teams won in either the first or second round of the playoffs.

Now we get to see if any of that magic spills over to the college basketball betting card on Monday evening when most of the sports world's focus will be on the CFP Championship. The Monmouth Hawks certainly hope the trend continues in their trip to take on the Fairfield Stags. ESPN3 will stream the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference contest starting at 7 PM (ET) from Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport.

One of only six games with lines on SBR's live NCAA basketball odds, the Hawks are listed at -5½, other shops showing a -6 spread. Scoreboard players are facing a decision on a 160½ point total.

This league rivalry is still in its infancy due to Monmouth only joining the MAAC a couple of seasons ago. The six all-time meetings are split 3-3 with the Hawks taking three of the four matchups as conference foes, including both battles last season. Fairfield has covered all four of the league tilts, however, including its only victory which came at home in the 2013-14 campaign. Three of the four MAAC contests never made it to totals which ranges from 117 to 133½.

 

Hawks Build Off Early Road Upsets
Like everyone else in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, Monmouth (11-4 straight up, 8-5 against the spread) is chasing Iona at the top of the standings, the Gaels off to a perfect 6-0 start in league play. The Hawks will get a shot at sending Iona to its first defeat this Friday, so head coach King Rice will have to keep his squad focused on the Stags tonight and not looking ahead.

Monmouth has definitely already proved itself on the road after opening this season with wins at UCLA and Drexel, plus an upset of then-No. 17 Notre Dame in the opening round of the AdvoCare Invitational down in Florida on Thanksgiving. The Hawks followed that with a 10-point win over USC in the same tournament and also beat Georgetown on its home floor in mid-December.

They picked up a pair of MAAC dubyas at home last week over Canisius and Quinnipiac, covering an 8½ point closing spread vs. the Golden Griffins while just missing a 15 point spread in the 88-74 decision against the Bobcats. Monmouth managed to get those wins without having guard Je'lon Hornbeak available due to a suspension, and there is no timetable for the junior's return.

 

Shooting Woes Plague Stags A Week Ago
Fairfield (8-7 SU, 5-5 ATS) sits further back in the second division of the MAAC standings with a 2-3 league record, spending last week on the road where the Stags fell at Siena, 91-76, before bouncing back with a 69-64 victory at Rider as 3 point underdogs. Sydney Johnson's guys struggled a bit on the offensive end of the floor in both games, shooting under 34% against the Saints and less than 39% from the floor vs. the Broncs.

Marcus Gilbert leads the Stags in scoring with a 19.5 PPG average, but connected on just 4-of-14 from the field in the win at Rider, well off his 47% field goal rate this season. The senior helped make up for that with 10 boards to go with his 14 points, his second double-double of the year.

This could turn into a scoring battle between Gilbert and Monmouth's Justin Robinson (20.5 ppg), but my free NCAA basketball pick will be on the 'under' anyway.