NCAA Basketball Picks: Siena Saints -1½ over Rider Broncs

LT Profits Sports Group

Saturday, January 4, 2014 5:00 AM GMT

The Siena Saints are going for their fourth straight home win as they look to even up their MAAC record at 2-2 vs. the Rider Broncs on Saturday.

Home court advantage could decide the outcome in Saturday night MAAC action when the Rider Broncs (7-5, 2-3 away) pay a visit to the Siena Saints (5-9, 3-1 home) at the Times Union Center in Albany, NY at 7:00 ET.

The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Siena as a tiny home favorite for this contest with the current line at -1½ with odds of -102.

These two teams are off to differing starts in MAAC conference play this season, but we feel that some correction is in order in Albany tonight. Siena is of to a 1-2 start inside the conference, but both losses came on the road and the Saints have won three straight games at home with all those wins coming vs. respectable non-conference opponents.

Rider on the other hand is a perfect 3-0 to begin MAAC play, but all three wins have come vs. the bottom of the conference and the Broncs are a team that often lives and dies by the three-point shot. Granted they are living well so far, in fact ranking second in the entire country in three-point percentage at 43.5 percent, but we are skeptical that they can keep that pace up on the road vs. the best conference rival they have faced so far.

This is actually the Saints’ conference home opener as all three MAAC games have been on the road thus far, with a conference opening win at Niagara to go along with the two losses. However, Siena has been tough at home where they have won their last three non-conference games over St Bonaventure, Hofstra and Fordham, all of whom are better than the average MAAC opponent.

In fact, the win over St. Bonaventure was the only win for either club vs. a team currently ranked in the Pomeroy Top 100. What was notable about that win was that the Bonnies are one of the best offensive rebounding teams in the country, and yet Siena matched them in that department. That has since become an almost nightly occurrence as the Saints are now up to 12th in the nation in offensive rebounding percentage at 40.2 percent vs. a national average of 31.7 percent!

The Saints have also improved their shot selection as of late, so the fact that they are ranked 293rd in the land in effective field goal percentage is a tad misleading. You see, Siena averaged 15.7 three-point attempts over the first seven games and made only 27 percent of them. They have cut that down to 10.5 attempts beyond the arc over the last seven games, and they have apparently been mostly good looks as they have made 39 percent of them.

Rider may be 7-5, but its best win based on the Pomeroy Ratings was vs. 147th ranked Quinnipiac at home, and the other six wins all came vs. teams currently ranked 225th or worse. Thus, it is difficult to gauge just how meaningful the Broncs’ 80.8 points per game scoring average is, while at the same time ranking 328th in the country in defensive efficiency vs. such a weak schedule is indeed a cause for concern.

Add in the fact that Rider is not really a great rebounding team and Siena gets our call as cheap chalk at home on Saturday.

[gameodds]14/253785/?r-1=238-92-43-349-192/us[/gameodds]

NCAA Basketball Pick: Siena -1½ (-102)