MAAC Madness: Degenerate Friday Picks and a Best Bet

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It’s Friday, and that means that schools you never knew existed will play 40 minutes of college basketball in half-empty gyms (at best), with the hard-earned money of degenerate sports bettors on the line. These games will take place in gymnasiums that likely rival what you sat in while taking in a high school basketball game. What this means to a bettor though, is that home field advantage takes more of a back seat and there may be an edge here that we can play on.

To further this point, over at BangtheBook.com they fleshed out these numbers specifically for the MAAC conference. As a whole since 2005, road teams in the MAAC are cashing at a rate of 56.1%. So, if you were to blindly bet on the road team in MAAC games over the past 14 years you’d have quite the bankroll in your pocket as a result.

From Kyle Hunter’s writeup: “Road teams in MAAC conference play who are receiving 42% of the bets or less are 268-188 (58.8% ATS) since 2005.”

This number goes up to 60% on Friday’s alone, so let’s take a look and see if there are any public home favorites that we can fade tonight. If you go over to the gamecenter at pregame.com you can see the cash and ticket splits for free.

Niagra at Marist (-3)

Marist is currently getting the majority of tickets at 68%, but 57% of the cash is on Niagra. So, here we have a public home favorite with sharp money on the road dog.

Of course, as the square that I am, I already took Marist -2.5 before looking at any of this. Now, you also could look at it the other way and say I’m sharp for getting the better of the number. Either way, this one will be interesting to watch.

The Square Pick: Marist -2.5 – 0.5 units – WIN

Quinnipiac at Iona (-4)

Again, the home team is getting the most action with 65% of the cash and 57% of the tickets. With more cash than tickets on Iona, they look like the sharp side.

It’s not suprising then, to discover that I have already taken the square side with Quinnipiac.

What I saw with this game was simple, Quin is ranked #229 at kenpom.com while Iona is ranked #242. So maybe these two teams are equal in talent, maybe Quinnipiac is a touch better, either way the spread looked off by at least a point. Together with the road trend, Quin looked like the right side.

The Square Pick: Quinnipiac +4 – 0.5 units – WIN

Canisius at Rider (-9.5)

Another square pick is coming your way as the Canisius Golden Griffins travel to Rider to take on the Broncos, in what I am hoping will be a thrilling game down to the wire. That is because I am on the Golden Griffins here getting the big number.

At kenpom.com Canisius comes in at #264 with Rider up at #190. While Rider is clearly the more talented team, are they really 6.5 points more talented? And that’s only if you want to give them 3-points for home court, which is questionable in this league and especially on Friday nights.

With all of that said, the sharps disagree with me as 79% of the cash is on Rider, compared to 62% of the tickets written on Rider. I’m fading the sharps and the public in this one, can’t wait to watch this thriller play out.

The Square Pick: Canisius +9.5 – 0.5 units – WIN

Siena (-2.5) at Manhattan

Finally, I find myself on the side of the sharps in this game, which also promises to be the lowest scoring game of the night. Rigth now Siena is receiving 74% of the cash and 81% of the tickets, so really, Siena isn’t the sharp side as much as it seems to be the only side. The real sharps are likely going contrarian here with Manhattan, who have some momentum having won three straight.

The reason the vast majority of the bets are on Siena is because Manhattan is one of the worst teams in college basketball according to kenpom, ranking 326 out of 353 teams. It’s not as though Siena is some powerhouse, but ranking at #253 they are at least somewhat competent.

While I like Siena here, the best bet is the UNDER. That number comes in at 112 after opening at 113, and before dismissing such a miniscule number, take a look at the adjusted tempo that these two teams play at. Siena ranks at #352, only one team has fewer possessions per 40 minutes, and Manhattan ranks at #339. The last time these two teams played, they scored 91 points.

The Square Pick: Siena -2.5 – 0.5 units – LOSS

Best Bet: UNDER 112 – 1 unit – WIN

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