The Mid-American Conference Championship Tournament tips off Thursday with the quarterfinal matchups at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland, so here’s my best betting pick for the Miami (OH) RedHawks vs. Buffalo Bulls showdown.
These two schools already met each other twice this term, and Buffalo had no problems beating Miami on both occasions. The Bulls thrashed off the RedHawks 90-62 as 4-point road favorites and 88-64 as 7.5-point home favorites. According to William Hill Sportsbook, Buffalo is a firm 7.5-point fave for Thursday’s quarterfinals.
The RedHawks won four of their last five contests
The Miami RedHawks (12-10; 9-8 Conf.) outlasted Bowling Green 84-79 in overtime in their regular-season finale. It was their fourth victory in the last five games overall, and the RedHawks finished at the seventh spot of the MAC standings.
Miami is No. 166 in the NCAA NET Rankings and No. 142 in the latest KenPom rankings. The RedHawks are scoring 107.1 points per 100 possessions (105th in the nation) on 43.8% shooting from the field (189th) and 36.6% from beyond the arc (59th). On the other side of the ball, they are yielding 104.3 points per 100 possessions (223rd) on 44.8% shooting from the field (241st).
The RedHawks heavily lean on three players. Therefore, keep your eyes on sophomore guard Dae Dae Grant (13.7 PPG, 3.1 RPG), senior forward Dalonte Brown (13.5 PPG, 7.5 RPG), and junior guard Mekhi Lairy (13.2 PPG, 3.4 APG).
The Bulls look to extend their winning streak to six games
The Buffalo Bulls (14-7; 12-5 Conf.) are coming off an 81-67 home victory over the Kent State Golden Flashes in their regular-season finale. The Bulls recorded their fifth consecutive victory and clinched the No. 2 seed in the Mid-American Conference, a couple of games behind Toledo.
Buffalo is No. 76 in the NCAA NET Rankings and No. 71 in the KenPom rankings. The Bulls are tallying 108.3 points per 100 possessions (85th in the nation) while surrendering 95.0 in a return (58th). They rank 59th in field goal percentage (46.6%), 61st in opponent field goal percentage (41.1%), and fifth in opponent 3-point percentage (27.7%).
Junior forward Jeenathan Williams leads the way for Buffalo with 17.3 points per contest. Senior guard Jayvon Graves racks up 14.6 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 4.0 assists per contest, while junior forward Josh Mballa adds 15.1 points and 9.9 boards a night.
- 3-6-2 ATS in the last 11 games overall
- 10-5 ATS in the last 15 games overall
The Bulls thrashed off the RedHawks twice during the regular season, and I’m looking for more of the same in the quarterfinals of the MAC Championship Tournament. If they manage to defend the 3-point line well, the Bulls shouldn’t have any problems covering a 7.5-point spread.
Also, I’m expecting the Bulls to take full advantage of Miami’s lousy defense. The RedHawks are limited on that side of the ball, so I don’t think they can improve a lot or make some special game plan for the Bulls.
Pick: Take Buffalo Bulls -7.5 at -110
The over is 4-1 in the last five encounters between the RedHawks and Bulls. Also, the over has hit in six of Miami’s last eight games overall, but the under is 6-1 in Buffalo’s previous seven outings.
The Bulls love to play at a very fast pace and average a whopping 74.5 possessions per 40 minutes (7th in the country). On the other side, the RedHawks record 66.4 possessions per 40 minutes (284th) and will try their best to slow down things.
Miami’s defense will struggle mightily in this one, but the RedHawks’ offense could help the team to keep it close for most of the game. I’m backing the over.
Pick: Go over 149.5 points at -115