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Akron Zips vs. Ball State Cardinals
NCAAB: Saturday, February 16, 2019, Worthen Arena, Muncie, Indiana, 2:00 PM ET
The Akron Zips will face off against the Ball State Cardinals in the Mid-American Conference showdown from Worthen Arena in Muncie, Indiana. This will be their first head-to-head meeting of the season, and the Cardinals won both duels last year after 15 straight losses to the Zips. Ball State is at the 5th spot of the MAC West standings four games behind the leader Toledo, while Akron is at the 4th spot of the MAC East standings three games behind the leader Buffalo.
The Zips look to bounce back from a loss to Buffalo
The Akron Zips (14-10; 6-5 Conf.) are coming off a 76-70 defeat to the Buffalo Bulls this past Tuesday to record their second loss over the previous three outings. The Zips had a good game against the MAC East leaders who made just six assists and turned the ball over 18 times, but escaped with a win thanks to 26 free throws to hand the Zips their 31st consecutive loss against ranked teams. Akron is 5-5 straight up and just 3-7 ATS in its last ten games overall, while the Zips are 1-6 straight up and 2-5 ATS in their previous seven showings on the road.
Akron enters the matchup with the Cardinals as a No. 126 at the NCAA NET Rankings and a No. 100 at the latest KenPom rankings. The Zips are scoring 100.8 points per 100 possessions (238th in the country) on 41.4% shooting from the field (310th) and 31.6% from beyond the arc (308th), allowing just 94.1 points in a return (29th) on 40.5% shooting from the field (36th) and 30.3% from downtown (27th). The senior guard Jimond Ivey is leading the Zips with 13.2 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 3.1 assists per game while making 50.9% of his field goals. The junior wing Daniel Utomi is posting 13.9 points and 5.9 rebounds per contest, while the sophomore PG Loren Cristian Jackson is adding 13.7 points and 3.1 assists per outing.
The Cardinals seek for their third straight win
The Ball State Cardinals (13-11; 4-7 Conf.) have bounced back from four consecutive losses with a couple of wins over the Northern Illinois Huskies 72-71 on the road and the Western Michigan Broncos 79-59 at home. The Cardinals had an excellent shooting night against the Broncos this past Saturday, making 50.0% of their field goals and 45.8% from beyond the arc, and will need to replicate that performance when they meet the sturdy Zips Saturday afternoon. Ball State is just 3-7 straight up and ATS in its last ten contests overall, while the Cardinals are 1-4 straight up and ATS in their previous five showings on the home court.
Ball State enters the matchup with Akron as a No. 103 at the NCAA NET Rankings and a No. 109 at the latest KenPom rankings. The Cardinals are scoring 107.2 points per 100 possessions (107th in the country) on 48.4% shooting from the field (23rd) and 35.5% from beyond the arc (123rd), surrendering 101.3 points in a return (123rd) on 41.7% shooting from the field (74th) and 32.1% from downtown (78th). The senior guard Tayler Persons is leading the way for the Cardinals, averaging 17.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 4.5 assists per game. The junior forward Tahjai Teague is tallying 14.2 points and 7.9 rebounds per contest, while the senior center Trey Moses is posting 9.0 points and 7.0 rebounds per game.
Ball State Cardinals:
- 14-6 SU and 9-11 ATS in the last 20 games at home
- 7-3 SU and 5-5 ATS in the last ten contests in February
- Under is 6-4 in the last ten games overall
- 3-17 SU and 7-13 ATS in the last 20 games on the road
- 6-1 SU and 5-2 ATS in their last seven road meetings with Ball State
- Under is 8-2 in the last ten games overall
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
This will be one of the most interesting matchups this weekend, as two equable teams will go against each other. The Zips are 13-2 straight up and 8-7 ATS in their last 15 meetings with the Cardinals, but they lost the previous two matchups which could switch the momentum to the other side. While the Cardinals have been struggling at home recently, the Zips have had some difficult time on the road. Still, while both these teams play some tough D, the Cardinals’ offense looks in better shape, so I’m backing the hosts to grab a victory.
Prediction: Ball State Cardinals -3.0 (-110)
Full-Game Total Pick
The recent betting trends are suggesting the under, but the last two head-to-head duels were finished way in the over. The Cardinals are playing at a fast pace, averaging 69.4 possessions per 40 minutes (77th in the country), while the Zips are tallying just 65.1 possessions per 40 minutes (298th). Considering some sturdy defenses on both sides, I don’t expect to see a bunch of points here, and the Zips should be able to slow down the Cardinals, so I’m backing the under.
Prediction: Under 136.0 points (-110)
Full-Game Prop Bet
Three of Ball State’s last five outings were decided by four or fewer points, while the other two were blowouts. Also, three of Ball State’s previous five home games were decided by six or fewer points along with a couple of blowouts. On the other side, just two of Akron’s last five games on the road were decided by nine or fewer points. I expect to see a tight game today, and considering the stats, I’m taking the lowest winning margin.
Prediction: Winning Margin: Any Team by 1-5 points (+140)
Half-Time Side Pick
The Cardinals were leading at halftime in three of their last five games overall, while trailing in four of their previous five outings at home. The Zips were leading at halftime in two of their last five games overall and in three of their previous five games on the road along with one tie. This one should be a really tight battle and the 1st half could easily go either way. Hereof, I suggest you take the under, as Akron’s last three road games had 60 or fewer points in the 1st half, while three of Ball State’s last four games overall had 57 or fewer.
Prediction: Under 64.5 points (-110)