Oodles Of Points Forecasted In Iona, Oakland Hoops Friday

Jay Pryce

Friday, February 2, 2018 1:29 PM UTC

Friday, Feb. 2, 2018 1:29 PM UTC

A pair of nationally televised contests on ESPNU Friday features mid-major barnburners. The game total is set at 155 for both Quinnipiac at Iona and Illinois-Chicago at Oakland. What side of the number are you betting? Forecasted 

Quinnipiac vs Iona (-13)

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Free NCAAB Pick: Under 155Best Line Offered: at Heritage

Iona (13-9 SU, 10-8 ATS), in search of its third straight Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference crown, has dropped two of its last three, 1.5 games out of first place. Head coach Tim Cluess, seven years in charge, is an offense-first leader, known for upping the tempo and catching opponents off guard in defense. The Gaels rank 76th in pace and own the 74th most efficient offense in KenPom’s adjusted rakings. Seven players comprise the heart of the rotation, each averaging 8.0 points or more.

Defense is where Iona is beatable. It’s yielding 77.0 points per game on 46.5 percent shooting in 10 MAAC contests. Lacking much girth in the paint, opponents hammer the Gaels down low, taking 41.3 percent of their shots near the rim. This is the 34th highest rate nationally. The primary seven-man rotation averages 6-foot-4 in height.

Is the Gaels’ defensive effectiveness poor enough to lose as double-digit chalk at home? Likely not. They Are 117-29 SU all-time as favorites in MAAC action behind Cluess, laying a 8.7 points on average. Iona, however, is just 2-7-1 ATS in its last 10 conference clashes spotting more.

Quinnipiac (9-13 SU, 9-9 ATS) is playing well above expectations. Picked to finish last in the preseason coaches poll, the Bobcats sit fifth in the standings with a 6-4 SU record. They have won three in a row, fueled by hot shooting. Quinnipiac is hitting 50.0 percent from the floor during the run, draining 29-of-73 from behind the arc.

Don’t expect the fire to keep burning. Since 2012, the Bobcats average 38.6 percent from the floor (31.3 from the 3-point area) in nine clashes against Iona. Failure to reach their projected team total will help keep this one ‘under’ 155 points. Bet accordingly.

Illinois-Chicago vs Oakland (-8.5)

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Free NCAAB Pick: Under 156Best Line Offered: at Heritage

Illinois-Chicago (12-11 SU, 10-9 ATS) is just 1-9 SU in its last 10 facing off with Oakland (14-9 SU, 7-13 ATS). This includes a 78-68 defeat at UIC Pavilion two weeks ago. Scoring is the biggest issue. The Flames have put up more than 68 points once in the last five meetings, despite playing at a breakneck pace under head coach Steve McClain (No. 62 in tempo). In all 10, they are shooting just 39.9 percent from the floor, reaching the market’s projected team total in just three.

Can bettors expect more points this time around? Tough call. UIC enters ranked 288 in adjusted offensive efficiency but shooting 47.0 percent from the floor against Horizon League opponents. Sitting third in the standings, the Flames are 8-2 ATS in 10 overall, topping a 1.7 average line by 4.7 points per game.

The Grizzlies, meanwhile, have no troubles putting it in the hoop. Overwhelming favorites to win their second conference championship in a row (31 out of 47 first-place votes), coach Greg Kampe leans on a trio of all-conference seniors via guard Kendrick Nunn (26.4 ppg), forward Jalen Hayes (19.3 ppg) and guard Martez Walker (17.9 ppg). The squad averages 80.1 points per game with the three in the starting lineup. And the defense? Well:

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And they say he's just a shooter...#WEARtheBEAR #OaklandMBB pic.twitter.com/MQJkoz9cTF

— Golden Grizzlies (@GoldenGrizzlies) January 27, 2018

The Flames defense, which ranks 116 in adjusted efficiency nationally, is just good enough to keep Oakland in check. Despite playing fast, UIC is disciplined and gets back in transition, allowing just 18.6 percent of opponent shots on the break. To put this in perspective, the national average is roughly 20.7 percent. This matchup is a race to 80 points, and we’re not sure either hits the mark, particularly with the Flames poor shooting historically. Pick ‘under’ 156 dangled at top-rated Bookmaker for the best value.

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