Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 2:00 PM EST.
BRYANT -12½ -105 over Central Connecticut
4:00 PM EST. Central Connecticut is a NEC team with a 2-5 record. KenPom has them listed as the 340th best team in the country out of 354 schools. Bryant is ranked 197th. CCSU is probably the worst team in the NEC on both ends of the floor. Offensively, they play an uptempo style, which bodes well for spotting double digits. The Blue Devils shoot well from behind the arc and from the FT line but horrible shot selection from inside the arc, turnovers, and a severe lack of rebounding crush any hope for efficiency. CCSU ranks 351st in the country in FG% near the rim and 352nd in 2PFG% overall, thus, no matter how good your outside shooting is, those two stats are impossible to overcome. CCSU will be a better team this season but that doesn’t mean the Blue Devils will finish higher than dead last in the NEC. Marshall’s squad was DEEP in the gutter last year so even a major improvement may not be enough to start competing on a nightly basis in conference play.
CCSU is 2-2 over iots last four games with a split against Farleigh Dickenson, the team projected to win the NEC. However, FDU is 2-6 overall after underachieving last year so perhaps they were very overvalued to begin with. The Blue Devils other win came against St. Francis (BKN) and they have also scored a pile of points in three of its last four games. The market likes the recent results, which provides us with this opportunity to get Bryant at a deflated price.
It says here that the Blue Devils are in over their head, as Bryant has set the world ablaze offensively: the Bulldogs’ defense is ranked essentially the same as in the preseason but the offense has vaulted almost 150 spots in Ken’s rankings, from 287th to 145th. Jared Grasso’s embrace of a ludicrous pace and constant four-guard lineups has made the Bulldogs nearly unguardable, and it helps to be connecting on 41.7% of three-pointers (9th nationally). This is a Bulldogs’ team that lost to Syracuse by one point and also beat UMass by five on December 21st, which was the last time that Bryant played. Not to worry though because the last time CC played was on Dec 16th. Expect plenty of fireworks here but CC does not have the firepower nor the defense to stay with Bryant. You see, Hall Elisias arrived from the JUCO ranks last season and brought with him his ridiculous shot-blocking ability and athleticism. Per Hoop Lens, with Elisias on the court last season the Bulldogs allowed just 0.85 PPP, which is an elite number that would’ve ranked somewhere near the top of the country if achieved throughout the entire year.
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BRYANT -12 -110 (Risking 2.2 units - To Win: 2.00)