We look to tonight's matchup between Rider and Canisius as one that offers strong value for our NCAA Basketball picks, as we peg this battle as our underdog play of the evening.
When setting up my NCAA Basketball picks, one of the main types of games I like to look for in league play is when teams play for a second time. What I want to see in these matchups is the winning team having won the first match up at home and is now on the road. Add to this the team that lost is now the favorite. Put this all together and it seems easy to assume the odds makers are telling us what we already know, beating a team twice in league is really hard. It is probably best to take the home favorite looking for revenge, right? Well, not in this case.
About three weeks ago Rider beat Canisius 59-46. The game was pretty ugly, bad shooting %, a lot of turnovers, and some atrocious heaves beyond the arc (24% and 19% respectively, yikes). Now we have the rematch with Canisius being the small home favorite. It makes sense, the Griffins are a pretty good team although they have lost their last three (two on the road) so they definitely should come out with some focus. That is how it looks in general and so that is how a 13 point defeat on the road becomes a -2 ½ favorite at home. Also they have a winning record and are a respectable 7-4 at home with their biggest win over league leader Iona. It “seems like” a pretty easy call if you want to make a play.
The teams up and down the stat sheet are not that different except for one key part, field goal %. Rider shoots at a respectable 44% clip while Canisius shoots at a not so respectable 39%, ranking in the bottom 20 of all of NCAA college basketball. Perhaps they shoot better at home? Not really, in their last six home games they are shooting at their average, 39%.
The Road Warrior(s)… Not just a great movie (talking about the Mel Gibson one thank you very much), this term fits Rider to a tee. They have been tough on the road this season with a solid 8-4 mark. The Broncs two best road wins were at Manhattan and Quinnipiac, both teams just above Canisius in the MAAC (Canisius beat Quinnipiac at home and lost to Manhattan twice).
Last year it was Canisius that swept the season series, but Rider played very well there last year losing a tough double OT game. It is true that it’s tough to sweep a series in league when two teams seem pretty even (but not unheard of, see Northeastern and VMI yesterday). The NCAA Basketball odds makers are taking that heavily into consideration which is why the line is where it is for this match up. Despite that I think the value lies with the Broncs and I expect Rider to turn the tables on the Griffins and sweep the series this year.
Free NCAA Basketball Picks: Rider + money line