The Eastern Michigan Eagles and Kent State Golden Flashes lock horns at M.A.C. Arena in Kent, Ohio, so here’s my best college basketball betting pick for Saturday, February 20, along with the latest odds update on BetMGM Sportsbook.
These two schools meet for the first time this season, and the Eagles head to Kent as massive 14.5-point underdogs. They sit at the 11th spot of the Mid-American Conference standings, just half a game above bottom-placed Northern Illinois, while the Golden Flashes occupy the third spot, only 1.5 games behind the leader Toledo.
Eastern Michigan takes the floor for the first time since January 26
The Eastern Michigan Eagles (4-8; 1-7 Conf.) had to postpone six games due to the COVID-19 issues, so Saturday’s clash against Kent State will be their first since an 86-65 defeat at Akron on January 26. The Eagles are riding a four-game losing streak while failing to cover the spread in that stretch.
Eastern Michigan is No. 325 in the NCAA NET Rankings and No. 259 in the latest KenPom rankings. The Eagles rank 262nd in the country in offensive efficiency (98.2) and 249th in defensive efficiency (106.2), and that tells you a lot about their performance before a long break caused by the COVID-19.
Furthermore, the Eagles are 333rd in opponent field goal percentage (48.0%) and 338th in 3-point percentage (28.2%). Senior forward Ty Groce leads the way for Eastern Michigan, tallying 14.2 points and 6.3 rebounds per game, while junior guard Bryce McBride adds 14.0 points and 3.1 assists a night.
Kent State eyes its fourth straight victory
The Kent State Golden Flashes (13-5; 10-4 Conf.) are on a three-game winning streak following a 76-69 victory at the Western Michigan Broncos this past Tuesday. It was a tough challenge for the Golden Flashes who failed to cover a 10-point spread and barely avoided an upset down the stretch.
The Golden Flashes miss senior guard Mike Nuga (17.8 PPG, 5.5 RPG) due to a knee injury, so senior forward Danny Pippen (20.0 PPG, 8.9 RPG) is their key player over the last two weeks. Junior guard Malique Jacobs averages 9.3 points, 4.7 boards, and 3.9 assists on the season, while sophomore guard Giovanni Santiago adds 9.1 points and 3.9 dimes per contest.
Kent State is No. 83 in the NCAA NET Rankings and No. 90 in the KenPom rankings. The Golden Flashes rack up 108.6 points per 100 possessions (82nd in the nation) and surrender 99.6 in a return (116th).
- 0-5 ATS in the last five games overall
- 1-8 ATS in the last nine road contests
- 5-15 ATS in the last 20 games as double-digit dogs
- 13-6-1 ATS in the last 20 games overall
- 5-1 ATS in the last six games played on Saturday
- 6-2-1 ATS in the last nine games as double-digit favorites
The Eagles should need some time to shake off the rust, and they’ve already struggled mightily on both sides of the ball, so I’m backing the Golden Flashes to cover a huge spread.
Kent State is a much better team than Eastern Michigan, especially on the offensive end. The hosts have a lot on the table here, chasing the top spot in the MAC, so I’m expecting them to take the Eagles seriously and thrash them off.
Pick: Take Kent State -14.5 at -105
The over is 4-1 in Eastern Michigan’s last five games overall, and it is 6-1 in Kent State’s previous seven outings. The Golden Flashes prefer to play at a fast pace and average 70.9 possessions per 40 minutes, while the Eagles record 68.9 possessions per 40 minutes, so I’m expecting a high-scoring affair.
The hosts will look to push the ball in transition whenever they can, and considering the Eagles’ performance on both sides of the floor, the Golden Flashes will have plenty of chances to score in transition.
Pick: Go over 148.5 points at -110