Trust Kent St. & Add Them To Your NCAA Basketball Picks To Win Outright vs. Western Michigan

Mark Lathrop

Tuesday, January 5, 2016 5:18 PM GMT

It's a Tuesday MAC attack! Our college basketball handicapper has spotted great value in this mid-major matchup for your Tuesday NCAA basketball picks!

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Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Kent State -120
Best Line Offered: at BetOnline

 

Mid-American Conference Opener
In this Mid-American Conference opener, we have the 9-4 Kent State Golden Flashes versus the 6-7 Western Michigan Broncos. Out of all the teams in the MAC, Western Michigan had the toughest time with their non-conference schedule, and find themselves dead last in the current standings. Still, they are getting some home court love in this game, with the opening line found at Pick’em across the board. The NCAA basketball odds board opened its early O/U total listed at 146.5 at Bookmaker, which if it stands, would be the highest total listed in the last ten meetings between these teams. This game will be available for viewers on ESPN3.

Both of these teams are coming off of back-to-back ATS losses, with more recent wins being against Division II opponents. Western Michigan lost their last Division I matchup at Vanderbilt as a 19-point underdog by 25 points, 86-61. One look at the box score and you will know why the game was so lopsided, as the Broncos shot 2-18 from the 3-point line and 37% overall. They allowed Vandy to shoot 51.8% overall in the process.

Western Michigan was led in scoring in that game by sophomore guard, Thomas Wilder, who scored 21 points and added 3 assists. This is in line with Wilder’s season average of 16.1 ppg and 3.3 assists. Part of the reason Wilder and junior, Tucker Haymond, are being leaned on so much for offense is the absence of senior forward, Connar Tava. Tava decided to medical redshirt this season after breaking his foot in October. He was projected to be a top-5 player in the MAC this year and led the Broncos in rebounding and assists last season so the loss was huge to the Bronco lineup.

Kent State’s last game against a Division I opponent was against Penn State in the Las Vegas Classic. They hung tough in that game, but finally succumbed 75-69. They led for a good portion of the game before losing the lead 38-37 in the second half. Kent State was a pick’em in this game, so their eventual loss hurt their backers against the spread.

Senior forward, Jimmy Hall, was the leading scorer in that game for the Golden Flashes scoring 15 points and adding eight rebounds. That performance is consistent with last season, where Hall averaged 15.9 points per game and had 7.7 rebounds per game as well. Hall is averaging 15.1 points per game this season with 6.7 rebounds per game in 28 minutes so he will definitely have an impact on Tuesday night as well.

 

Betting Analysis
In the last matchup between these teams in February of last year, Western Michigan came away with a nailbiter winning 67-66 as 5-point favorites. The ATS win for Kent State broke a series of four straight for the Broncos in the matchup.

Although the win loss records of these teams is only three games apart, Western Michigan is far behind the Golden Flashes in regards to RPI ratings to date this season. The Broncos come in at 246th in the nation in that statistic, while the Kent State Golden Flashes are at a respectable 58th this season thus far in RPI.

This difference in RPI, and Western Michigan trying to find their way without Connar Tava, leads me to believe that Kent State holds the bettor’s edge in this matchup. In fact, with the line moving to +1 for Kent State that theory is even sweeter. I’m taking Kent State to outright win this matchup in MAC action tonight as my Tuesday NCAA basketball pick.