Manhattan, Yale Feature in Mid-Major Hoops Picks Friday

Jay Pryce

Friday, January 19, 2018 2:07 PM UTC

Friday, Jan. 19, 2018 2:07 PM UTC

Manhattan and Yale serve up some betting value in their respective matchups vs. Canisius and Brown, respectively, on a light college basketball schedule Friday. 

Canisius at Manhattan (+1)

Canisius (11-8 ATS, 11-5 ATS) has won seven of its last eight headed into its lone showdown this season with rival Manhattan. Going 5-1-1 ATS, Canisius has covered a -2.4 average line by 5.6 points per game in this stretch. Offense is the driving force. The Golden Griffins average 73.2 points per game and lead the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference with a 47.0 shooting percentage.

Head coach Reggie Witherspoon runs what can best be termed “organized chaos” on offense. Much like Bruce Pearl at Auburn, it looks to counter and react first before settling into set plays. The flexible scheme is allowing young guard Takal Molson to flourish. The freshman earned his second MAAC Rookie of the Week honors after averaging 20.5 points and 5.0 rebounds in wins over Saint Peter’s and Monmouth.

Bettors should clue in on Canisius reaching 70 points. Since Witherspoon took over (2016), the team is 27-10 SU and 22-10-1 ATS hitting the mark.

Manhattan (9-9 SU, 10-6 ATS) has the tools to stop the Griffs. Firstly, it slows the game down to a crawl, ranking at 298 out of 351 Division I teams in tempo. The defense is tenacious, high-pressured and swarming, allowing 103.3 points per 100 possessions in adjusted efficiency. It particularly shines on the perimeter, yielding a 32.6 opponent 3-point rate, the lowest in head coach Steve Masiello’s seven-year tenure.

The Jaspers are much better than the team that went 5-15 SU in league play last year, and improving. Since December, they are 8-3 ATS, covering a 4.4 average line by 4.3 points per game. Leading scorer Rich Williams (14.3 ppg) is healthy and proving his worth for a team with not many points-getters. The senior guard missed all of last season after tearing a MCL prior to the campaign. Coaches picked the squad to finish second in the preseason poll, and home-court advantage here with the students back from holiday break should fuel a strong defensive effort. In the last calendar year, Manhattan has held five of eight MAAC opponents to 69 points or fewer on 43.3 percent from the field. Canisius fails to hit its magic number. Play the Jaspers straight up.

Free NCAAB Pick: ManhattanBest Line Offered: BetOnline

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Yale at Brown (+1)

Yale (8-9 SU, 2-7 ATS), ranked No. 20 in the mid-major preseason poll at College Insider, took a punch to the gut for the second year in a row before the campaign even started when star point guard Makai Mason fractured his foot prior to the opener. The senior, who sustained the same injury last season, hasn’t played since dropping 31 points in a 79-75 upset over Baylor in the first round of the 2015-16 NCAA Tournament.

The Bulldogs have coped OK without Mason, going 11-6 SU and 7-10 ATS in Ivy League play. They average 72.7 points per game on 46.8 percent shooting in this situation. The Bulldogs shot 50.0 percent form the floor topping Brown (7-7 SU, 4-2 ATS) 78-72 at Payne Whitney Gym last Friday in the 2017 conference debut.

The Bears, meanwhile, are off to a 7-7 record or better for the fourth time in the last five years. A trio of backcourt underclassmen leads the team: sophomore Brandon Anderson (19.2 ppg), freshman Desmond Cambridge (15.9 ppg), and sophomore Zach Hunsaker (10.9 ppg).

Brown, however, is saddled by a lack of size once again under head coach Mike Martin. Only four players log more than 20.0 minutes per game. Their average height: 6-foot-3. Yale outrebounded the Bears by 9 last week and attacked the paint relentlessly. Brown, in fact, faces 42.4 percent of shots at the rim, which ranks 26th highest among all Division-I opponents. Expect more of the same in this second meeting. Here's Miye Oni taking advantage down low in the last meeting:

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Miye Oni with a strong move around the basket to extend the #Yale lead over Brown late in the 2nd half. #RoadToIvyMadness #IvyHoops

— Yale_Basketball (@Yale_Basketball) January 13, 2018

Brown is 8-31 SU under Martin in Ivy League play when outrebounded. The Bulldogs win the boards here and the game. Lay the -1 point with Yale.

Free NCAAB Pick: YaleBest Line Offered: Pinnacle

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