The college basketball betting action continues with plenty of interesting matchups on Friday, February 19, 2021, though neither of the top-25 teams will take the floor. Hereof, I bring you the best betting pick and tips for the Conference USA showdown at Bartow Arena in Birmingham, Alabama, where the UAB Blazers host the Old Dominion Monarchs.
These two schools meet for the first time this season. While the Monarchs hold the No. 2 seed in the Conference USA – East division, the Blazers sit at the second spot in the West division. UAB opened as a 6.5-point fave on FanDuel Sportsbook, and the totals are set at 130.5 points.
The Monarchs swept Charlotte, aim for their third straight win
The Old Dominion Monarchs (11-5; 7-3 Conf.) have won their last two games, outlasting the Charlotte 49ers 78-76 in overtime as 1.5-point road dogs and 64-45 as 4-point home favorites. Junior forward Kalu Ezikpe led the way for the Monarchs, scoring 35 points through those two contests, while senior guard Malik Curry had 21 points and five assists in that overtime victory at Charlotte.
Curry is the Monarchs’ true leader, averaging 15.7 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 4.2 assists per contest. Ezikpe is posting 11.2 points and 6.3 boards a night, while senior forward Austin Trice is adding 10.6 points and 7.1 rebounds per game.
Old Dominion is No. 153 in the NCAA NET Rankings and No. 150 in the KenPom rankings. The Monarchs score only 102.2 points per 100 possessions (187th in the country) while yielding 100.9 in a return (138th). They rank 154th in field goal percentage (44.6%) and 342nd in 3-point percentage (27.2%).
The Blazers dropped two straight at Louisiana Tech
The UAB Blazers (16-4; 9-3 Conf.) put an end to a six-game winning streak this past Friday, losing at the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs 70-58 as 1-point road underdogs. The next day, the Blazers suffered a 69-64 loss as 1.5-road dogs, failing to cope with the Bulldogs once more.
Four UAB players average points in double digits and junior guard Tavin Lovan leads the way with 12.7 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 2.7 assists per game. Senior guard Michael Ertel tallies 12.7 points and 3.0 boards per contest, while another senior G Quan Jackson adds 10.3 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 2.4 steals a night.
The Blazers lean heavily on their defense, yielding just 96.0 points per 100 possessions (59th in the country) on 39.4% shooting from the field (17th) and 29.3% from beyond the arc (18th). They score 104.8 points per 100 possessions (138th) on 45.8% shooting from the field (86th) and just 30.6% from downtown (304th).
- 3-9 ATS in the last 12 games against UAB
- 1-4 ATS in the last five tilts played on Friday
- 6-2 ATS in the last eight home games against Old Dominion
- 4-1 ATS in the last five games when listed as favorites
The Blazers will be keen to bounce back from two straight losses, and I’m expecting them to put on a strong defensive performance and shut down the Monarch’s sterile offense. UAB has to find its defensive mojo, and playing on the home court should help.
In their last two home encounters with the Monarchs, the Blazers won by nine and 14 points, covering the spread on both occasions. However, I don’t feel comfortable with a 6.5-point spread in this one, as UAB’s offense hasn’t impressed lately.
Pick: Take UAB -4.0 at -160
This should be a low-scoring affair, considering the teams’ stats and their current form. As I’ve mentioned, the Blazers have to regroup and play aggressive defense against the Monarchs who have been pretty much awful offensively so far.
Also, both teams prefer to take things slowly. UAB records 66.8 possessions per 40 minutes (248th in the nation), while Old Dominion tallies 67.3 (217th).
Pick: Go under 130.5 points at -105