College Basketball Odds, Pick, Prediction: Akron vs. Toledo (Friday, January 28)

College Basketball Odds, Pick, Prediction: Akron vs. Toledo (Friday, January 28) article feature image

Via Emilee Chinn/Getty Images. Pictured: Ali Ali

  • Toledo is a 7.5-point favorite on Friday night against Akron.
  • The Rockets have won seven straight games in conference play, establishing themselves atop the MAC.
  • Kyle Remillard breaks down the matchup and delivers his betting pick below.

Akron vs. Toledo Odds

Friday, Jan. 28
7 p.m. ET
CBS Sports Network
Akron Odds
-110o / -110u
Toledo Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

Weekday MACtion may not have the same appeal on the hardcourt as it does on the football field, but there is still the same opportunity to make some money. Akron travels to Toledo on Friday in a matchup between two of the top programs in the conference.

Toledo has separated itself from the rest of the group after stringing together a seven-game conference win streak. The streak was in jeopardy last time out against Buffalo, but a 17-3 second half run helped secure the victory. The recent success has come on the offensive end with an up-tempo style.

That will contradict an Akron quad that wants to take the air out of the basketball and plays with the 344th Adjusted Tempo in the country. They’ve strung together four wins in a row while holding those opponents to fewer than 60 points per game.

In a sharp contrast in styles, whoever can dictate the tempo will have a clear advantage.

Akron Zips

Akron has been solid on both ends of the floor this season. The Zips rank fifth in the MAC in Offensive and Defensive Efficiency. They prefer to play at a slow pace, which was showcased in the last two games holding Eastern Michigan and Central Michigan to 50 points. But they’ve proven capable at playing in an up-and-down game as shown in the 88-76 win over Buffalo and 91-66 victory against Bowling Green.

John Groce will likely look to turn this game into a slow grind and lean on the top scoring defense in the conference. The group has held eight of its opponents to 60 points or fewer this season while allowing 62 a contest.

Sophomore wing Ali Ali has emerged at a young star for Groce’s program. Ali is averaging 15 points a contest while hitting 45% from 3-point range. After averaging seven points a game last season, he’s taken on a bigger role offensively for the Zips. Ali exploded in the win over Buffalo by scoring 32 points while getting to the free throw line 22 times.

Akron has three other players who average double figures. Xavier Castaneda and Bryan Trimble Jr. are among them and serve as the primary outside shooting threats. The duo has hit 86-of-241 from downtown – good for 36% on the season.

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Toledo Rockets

Toledo sits atop the MAC after putting together a 16-4 start, including seven wins in a row. The Rockets have emerged as the team to beat in the conference, but heavy is the head that wears the crown.

The Rockets have leaned on their top-20 scoring offense that averages 80 points per game. During the seven-game win streak, the offense has increased that to 85 points a game. The group takes 31% of its shot attempts from the perimeter but converts at a 36% clip. The Rockets prefer to find their offense through transition opportunities.

Point guard Ryan Rollins leads the MAC in scoring by averaging 20 points per game. Rollins is a triple threat who splits his shot attempts between the rim, mid-range, and beyond the arc. He’s converted on 40-of-82 (49%) attempts from 3-point territory, which ranks second in the conference.

He’s complimented by six-foot-seven junior forward JT Shumate. Shumate is second in scoring for the program, averaging 15 points and six rebounds a game. He ranks third in the conference in field goal percentage as he is making 55% of his attempts on the year.

Akron vs. Toledo Betting Pick

Toledo has been a cash cow for bettors as it has covered 10 of the last 11 games and won six of its last seven games by double-digits. This matchup serves as the perfect opportunity to sell high on them as this game is poised to come down to the wire.

Akron and Toledo both rank among the top three in the conference in field goal percentage and opponent field goal percentage. They are the only two teams in the MAC that own an Average Margin of Victory that exceeds 10 points per game.

Toledo’s win streak has been featured by teams that want to run-and-gun with the Rockets. Their last loss came 63-66 to Kent State, who ranks 317th in the nation in Tempo. Akron will slow this game down to a snail’s pace and make Toledo uncomfortable.

Per Hoop-Math, Toledo takes 28% of its field goal attempts in transition. Akron does a great job at limiting transition opportunities by allowing just 21% of their opponent shots to come in transition.

I'm taking the points in a matchup that should be a battle down to the wire.

Pick: Akron +9.5 (play to +8)

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Nick Sterling
Jun 24, 2024 UTC