College Basketball Pace Report: Predicting Betting Totals for This Week’s Games (Jan. 25-30)
Mitchell Leff/Getty Images. Pictured: Villanova Wildcats forward Jermaine Samuels (23).
Much like college football, predicting the pace of a game can lead to gambling opportunities.
Using tempo projections, along with the four factors of college basketball, will help any gambler determine if there’s value in the market. Two teams with a high pace of place that dominate the offensive glass would give value to overs, while teams with a slow tempo and ball security would lean an investor toward an under.
This column will focus on the forthcoming weekly slate and the head-to-head tempo as dictated by KenPom. The projected total is a summation of the two teams with respect to expected points per 100 possessions divided by the expected number of possessions.
Monday, Jan. 25
Loyola-Chicago at Bradley, Projected 125.6
Tempo Rating: 314th at 270th
Leave it to the Missouri Valley Conference to field some of the slowest tempos in the nation. The Ramblers are on a heater, winning nine of their past 10 games with a massive weekend against Drake set for Feb. 13.
These two teams competed this past Sunday with a total of 125 after a combined 5-for-25 effort beyond the arc.
The Loyola defense in the paint is key, ranking 51st nationally while Bradley has the 41st-highest distribution rank in scoring points from 2-point field goals.
Tuesday, Jan. 26
Central Michigan at Buffalo, Projected 168.4
Tempo Rating: 31st at 7th
The two fastest teams in the MAC will look to play at warp speed on Tuesday.
Buffalo comes off of two games against other MAC squads that rank in the top five in tempo, and the result was 176 combined points for the Bulls.
Central Michigan may get a bevy of points while the clock is stopped, with a rank of 56th in free-throw rate and Buffalo sitting 302nd in sending opponents to the charity stripe.
The Bulls feast on 2-point field goals and should not yield against a Chippewas squad that ranks 264th in 2-point percentage defense.
Wednesday, Jan. 27
Wagner at Mount St. Mary’s, Projected 115.7
Tempo Rating: 342nd at 355th
From a tempo perspective, South Carolina hosting Georgia and St John’s traveling to DePaul are four of the fastest 30 teams in the nation.
A game that most might not have their eye on is the sluggish battle between the Mountaineers and Seahawks.
Other than Evansville and Virginia, Mount St. Mary’s is the slowest team in the nation. In Northeast Conference play only, the Mountaineers are dead last on both sides of the ball in turnover percentage but first in defensive effective field goal percentage.
Thursday, Jan. 28
Villanova at UConn, Projected 127.2
Tempo Rating: 334th at 341st
The Huskies and Wildcats are the two best teams in the Big East as defined by defensive efficiency.
Where possessions could take the entire shot clock is on the offensive side of the ball for Villanova, as Jay Wright’s squad is the top team in the country in offensive turnover percentage.
Free throws should also be considered if looking at an under, as Nova’s offense is just 236th at getting the line and 36th in allowing their opponents a visit to the charity stripe.
Friday, Jan. 29
North Dakota State at UMKC, Projected 117.7
Tempo Rating: 338th at 354th
Both UMKC and North Dakota State have had fewer points in their back-to-back openers than their game played on the following day.
During Summit League play, the Kangaroos are -42 in point differential in their first game of back-to-backs, while the Bison are -100.
The North Dakota State defense is 26th in free-throw rate, which should be complemented by UMKC’s horrid free-throw shooting of 61%. The Bison have one of the widest margins in Division I play when it comes to rebounding when the Kangaroos are on offense.
Saturday, Jan. 30
Morgan State at Coppin State, Projected 158.8
Tempo Rating: 32nd and 1st
Do not get up to grab a sandwich when the Eagles host the Bears.
Not only do both teams move at a lightning-quick pace, but each team also loves to shoot from beyond the arc. Coppin State has the 23rd-highest point distribution rate from the 3-point line, which negates a subpar shooting percentage of 30.3%.
Morgan State also rankings in the top 90 in point distribution from downtown, but a large advantage in offensive rebounding will be key to victory.
Watch out for an inflated number with these squads, as Coppin State should get to the free-throw line frequently despite ranking 333rd in shooting percentage.