College Basketball Odds, Pick, Prediction: Kent State vs. Akron (Friday, February 11)
Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Rob Senderoff (Kent State)
- Akron is a slight home favorite in tonight's MAC showdown with Kent State.
- The Golden Flashes won the first meeting of the season and they have value as the underdogs here.
- Continue reading for a full breakdown of this matchup, including a betting pick.
Kent State vs. Akron Odds
|Kent State Odds|
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
Kent State travels to Akron in a matchup between two of the hottest teams in the MAC.
Kent State is winners of five in a row by an average margin just shy of 10 points. The Golden Flashes have relied on their defense to carry them for much of the season. But the offense has been equally as impressive throughout the win streak.
They will travel to Akron to take on the Zips, who are red-hot as winners of seven of their last eight contests. The Zips have been efficient on both ends of the floor but have beaten up on some bad opponents. Akron has had the lowest strength of schedule in conference play to this point.
Kent State already won at home against Akron and look to make the season sweep Friday night.
Kent State’s defense has been its bread-and-butter this season. It has held opponents to 64 points per game thanks to elite perimeter defense. But defending inside the arc has been troublesome, where opponents have shot nearly 50%.
The Golden Flashes don’t live up to their name as the team plays with a tremendously slow tempo. Despite that, the offense has caught fire during this five-game win streak. They have hit 50% from the field and 40% from beyond the arc in the span. Kent State has hit a dozen 3-pointers in back-to-back games.
Junior guard Sincere Carry has averaged 19 points during the five-game stretch. On the season he’s hit 33% of his 151 3-pointers and has been shooting even better recently. He torched Akron the first time these two teams met, hitting six three-pointers while scoring 32 points.
Fellow guard Giovanni Santiago averages nine points per game on the year but has hit 9-of-16 from downtown over the last two games.
This is a perfect matchup for Kent State to stay hot from beyond the arc as Akron ranks 242nd in defending the perimeter. In the last two games, Akron’s opponents have hit 47% of 3-point attempts.
Akron lost three of its first five games to open the season. Since then, the Zips have only lost three of their last 17 games. They are 9-3 in conference play, but eight of those wins have come against the bottom-seven teams in the conference. Their three losses have come to Toledo, Ohio and Akron, all of which are near the top of the MAC standings.
John Groce’s team is playing with the 344th slowest tempo in the nation. The slow grind has led Akron to allowing just 62 points per game. The defense has been strong at defending 2-point attempts, holding opponent to 48% from the field. But the Zips have been horrific at defending the perimeter, allowing 35% of such shot attempts.
Akron’s offense is led by four starters who all average double-digits. Spearheading the group is Ali Ali, who is putting up 14 points a game. He’s made vast improvements from last season where he totaled 35 points on the year while playing in all 31 games. Ali was limited in the first matchup with Kent State, scoring just eight points.
Xavier Castaneda is the outside shooting threat. He is averaging 13 points a game while shooting 40% on his 118 attempts from behind the arc.
Kent State vs. Akron Betting Pick
Akron’s strong start can be attributed to its soft conference schedule. The Zips have struggled when they have stepped up in class, and that trend will continue in this matchup.
Both teams play at a tempo that ranks outside the top-240 in the country, so expect it to be a slow grind of a game. But I’m shying away from the total because of the hot shooting of Kent State the last five games.
Akron has been terrible at defending the perimeter this season and allowed its opponents to hit 47% from deep the last two games. Kent State is red-hot from outside and I expect Santiago to continue to light it up from deep. Carry is also in store for another big game after he torched this defense for 32 points in the first matchup.
I’m taking the moneyline with Kent State as I’m confident they’ll complete the season sweep on Akron.