Elon vs. Drexel CAA Championship Game Betting Odds & Pick: Phoenix Due for Regression (March 9)
Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Elon’s Hunter McIntosh
- Drexel is favored over Elon in Tuesday's CAA Championship Game.
- It will end up as one of the wildest conference tournaments of the year, with the No. 6 and No. 8 seeds reaching the finals.
- Elon, however, is due for some regression after some fortunate shooting in its first few games and we're taking Drexel to cover the short number.
CAA Championship Odds: Elon vs. Drexel
|Moneyline||+143 / -175|
|Time||Tuesday, 7 p.m. ET|
|TV||CBS Sports Network|
|Odds as of Tuesday and via DraftKings.|
With so many unknowns across the league entering March, the CAA was expected to be one of the craziest conference tournaments in the country. It has more than lived up to the hype, as No. 8 seed Elon and No. 6 seed Drexel meet in the final.
Elon's path to the title game started with a blowout win over No. 9 seed Towson in the first round, followed by a thrilling comeback win over top seeded James Madison in the quarterfinals. Then Elon used a 19-3 run in the second half to pull away from Hofstra in yesterday's semifinals. The Phoenix have gotten hot at the right time, and as a reward it's playing for their first ever NCAA tournament bid tonight.
Despite coming in as the No. 6 seed, Drexel was among the three favorites to win the CAA Tournament. The Dragons have shown why oddsmakers liked them in this tournament, knocking off the No. 3 Charleston and No. 2 Northeastern to earn their bid in tonight's final.
A combination of hot shooting and controlling the glass has carried them thus far, and if it continues tonight the Dragons will find themselves cutting down the net in the Atlantic Union Bank Center.
Elon (10-8, 4-7 CAA)
The Phoenix aren't playing like your average mid-major No. 8 seed. They're winners of seven straight, and seek the chance to win their fourth game in as many days tonight.
Defense is the Phoenix's strength. They enter tonight's game ranking 109th in adjusted defensive efficiency per KenPom, the second best ranking in the conference. Elon is particularly strong at guarding the 3-point line, surrendering just 31.2%, which ranks 50th nationally.
While they can lean on the defense, Elon's offensive performance is prone to high variance. The Phoenix rely heavily on the 3-point shot, with 44.4% of its total field goal attempts coming from beyond the arc. They've been hot from deep lately, a huge reason they were able to upset both James Madison and Hofstra. In the quarter and semi-finals, Elon shot a combined 25-of-64 (39.1%) from 3-point range.
The Phoenix have not been this reliable from downtown on the season, however. They average just 33% from deep, which ranks below average nationally and is a big reason they ended up below .500 in conference play. Their ability to sustain the hot outside shooting against a Drexel team that defends the 3-point line fairly well will be one of the biggest deciding factors in tonight's game.
Drexel (11-7, 4-5 CAA)
The Dragons' formula for success lies in its ability to control the pace and be efficient on offense. Drexel is one of the slowest teams in the country, ranking 336th in adjusted tempo. They tend to make the most out of their possessions though, ranking 41st in offensive efficiency.
The Dragons are first in the CAA in field goal percentage (47.9%) and second in 3-point percentage (36.2%). An elite guard is needed to post numbers this efficient in a slow-paced offense, and the Dragons have that in Camren Wynter. He's one of the top players in the conference, and leads the Dragons with 17.3 points on 41.6% 3-point shooting. He's also the main facilitator, posting 5.4 assists per game.
Defensively, the Dragons are not as reliable. They rank 253rd in adjusted defensive efficiency, per KenPom. They struggle defending inside the arc, with a 50.5% 2-point percentage allowed.
However, they do two things well on the defensive end which should help them out tonight. The Dragons 3-point defense is strong (32.7% allowed), and they do a nice job of cleaning up the glass. The Dragons rank 59th in defensive rebounding percentage, per Team Rankings, so they should be able to limit Elon's 2nd chance opportunities.
Betting Analysis & Pick
The Phoenix have played a little over their head offensively so far in this tournament. I think they have some regression from the 3-point line coming their way.
On the other side of the ball, Drexel's offense is much more consistent and is firing on all cylinders at the moment. With a lot less reliance on the deep ball and a more balanced scoring attack, I trust Dragons' offense much more than the Phoenix's.
This line opened with Drexel -3 on Tuesday morning, and was bet up to -4 at some books. I agree with the early line movement, and think the Dragons are worth a play up to -5.
Pick: Drexel -3.5