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Kent State vs. Buffalo College Basketball Odds, Picks, Predictions: Back Bulls at Home (Friday, Jan. 21)

Kent State vs. Buffalo College Basketball Odds, Picks, Predictions: Back Bulls at Home (Friday, Jan. 21) article feature image
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Steven King/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Ronaldo Segu

  • Kent State and Buffalo meet tonight in a key MAC matchup.
  • The Bulls are home favorites, but still may have some edge on the point spread.
  • Continue reading for a full breakdown of the matchup, including a betting prediction.

Kent State vs. Buffalo Odds

Friday, Jan. 21
8 p.m. ET
CBS Sports Network
Kent State Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
+6.5
-110
148
-110o / -110u
+230
Buffalo Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-6.5
-110
148
-110o / -110u
-285
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

After losing three in a row, followed by winning three in a row, The Buffalo Bulls have won three games in a row — a streak which immediately followed a three-game losing streak — and will look to break an awful trend as they host the Kent State Golden Flashes on Friday Night.

The Bulls were picked to win the MAC in the preseason coaches poll, but now at 9-6 on the season and 3-2 in the conference are just trying to get back on track.

Kent State has been a difficult team to figure out. After dropping its first conference game to a poor Central Michigan team, the Golden Flashes knocked off the second-best team in the MAC in Toledo. A similar sequence happened again after they lost to 304th-ranked Northern Illinois, then beat a 10-5 Akron team.

But the Flashes are currently riding a two game win streak, one they hope to extend on the road Friday night. However, it will be easier said than done. The Golden Flashes will be playing their second road game in a row and historically success has been few and far between against the Bulls.

Buffalo has won six of the last eight and six of the last 10 in the series, Overall Kent State is 8-13 on the road against Buffalo.


Kent State Will Look to Slow Pace

Kent State sits fifth in the MAC standings, but the lack of quality wins on the season can’t be ignored. The Golden Flashes’ surprise win over Ohio was the first and still only win over a team ranked better than 150th, per KenPom.

Kent State nationally comes in at 239th in offensive adjusted efficiency and has struggled to consistently convert field goals, ranking 307th nationally in effective field goal percentage. From 3-point range it is even worse, ranking 339rd with a 3-point percentage of only 27.7%.

The Golden Flashes will have quite the challenge ahead of them trying to keep up with Buffalo, but if they can slow down the pace it would play heavily in Kent State’s favor. Buffalo plays at not only one of the fastest paces in the MAC but one of the fastest in the country. They are 19th in Adjusted tempo, compared to Kent State’s 326th.

One way to slow down the pace and put the game on an even playing field will be drawing fouls and getting to the line. Both teams have trouble with fouling, averaging 18+ per game to rank outside the top 290. However, when it comes to free throw shooting the Golden Flashes have a considerable advantage, shooting a 15th-best 78.6% from the line in comparison to Buffalo’s 71.9%.

Sincere Carry has been one of the top scorers in the conference this season, and leads the Golden Flashes with 17.8 points per game. He also leads Kent State in rebounds at 4.9 per contest.

The Kent State defense  has been good, but will need to be great if it wants to limit the second-highest scoring offense in the MAC. Kent State ranks 101st nationally in defensive effective field goal percentage, limiting opposing teams to just 48%.

The Golden Flashes are also the best scoring defense among MAC teams, holding opponents to just 62.4 points per game, but if they want to make a big impact against the Bulls they will need to do it through turnovers. Buffalo gives up turnovers on 18.6% of offensive possessions, while the Kent State defense  is forcing them on 21.1%.

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Buffalo Has Rebounding Advantage

Buffalo is 20th nationally in scoring offense, positing 79.2 points per game. The Bulls are also 17th in field goal attempts per game. If they can control the pace of this game and keep it fast, they could make quick work of the Golden Flashes. The Bulls are also 45th in 3-point attempts per game and 169th in 3-point percentage.

Jeenathan Williams ranks just ahead of Carry in MAC scoring average. He leads his team averaging 18.3 points per game, is shooting better than 45 percent from the field and just below 40 percent from outside the arc.

Buffalo’s offense may be one of the best in the conference, but it doesn’t matter how many points the Bulls score if their defense is giving up just as many. The Bulls’ defense ranks 303rd in scoring defense and is allowing opposing teams to average 75.9 per contest.

The biggest asset for the Buffalo defense will be rebounding, as the Bulls rank 13th nationally pulling down 40.5 rebounds per contest. If they can avoid fouling, their interior defense should be enough to keep Kent State at bay while their offense shines.


Kent State vs. Buffalo Betting Pick

The Golden Flashes have the best defense in the MAC, but they haven’t faced an offense as strong as Buffalo’s. The closest they’ve seen was Toledo, which they were able to beat at home, but I think it will be a very different story on the road for Kent State.

Buffalo is much faster than Toledo when it comes to pace, and considerably taller as a team which should give ot an advantage around the basket.

I’m laying the points with Buffalo at home, which I got at -7.5 but would take as high as -9.

Pick: Buffalo -9 or better

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