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Harvard vs Princeton Odds, Picks: How to Bet This Ivy League Affair

Harvard vs Princeton Odds, Picks: How to Bet This Ivy League Affair article feature image
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Pictured: Harvard Crimson guard Chris Ledlum. (Photo by Erica Denhoff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Harvard vs Princeton Odds

Saturday, Dec. 31
1 p.m. ET
ESPN+
Harvard Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
+5.5
-110
134.5
-110o / -110u
+210
Princeton Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-5.5
-110
134.5
-110o / -110u
-250
Odds via PointsBet. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

The Ivy is split into “Haves” and “Have Nots.” The top half of the league carries a conference that’s 14th in KenPom’s conference rankings, while the bottom half drags along year in and year out.

I always look forward to the high-end Ivy matchups, and Harvard and Princeton have historically been “Haves.”

Princeton is considerably better than Harvard this season, mostly because Harvard’s do-it-all forward (Noah Kirkwood) graduated while Princeton’s do-it-all forward is still cooking the Ivy interior (Tosan Evbuomwan).

However, Harvard does have Chris Ledlum, who has stepped up this season for the Crimson.

Can Ledlum keep his team within the spread?


Harvard Crimson

Harvard is top-20 in rim-and-3 rate this season, but is 224th in three-point rate and 362nd in three-point shooting (24.8%). That’s a roundabout way of saying Harvard is making its living at the rim.

Over half (59.7%) of Harvard’s points come from two-point range, and it takes 49.6% of its shots at the rim, both numbers are top-20 nationally.

Enter Ledlum, an interior monster who owns the paint. He’s scoring 11.7 paint PPG this season, which ranks in the 99th percentile. Although his usage is the second-highest in the Ivy (Jordan Dingle), he’s producing efficient offense because of his near-basket proximity.

Image credit: CBB Analytics

Ledlum also loves to rebound and ranks nationally in both offensive and defensive rebounding rate, and protect the rim. He also ranks nationally in block and steal rate.

Ledlum is a killer two-way forward who keeps Harvard afloat in the Ivy. He’s starting to get some national attention, and rightfully so.

"Ledlum, I thought that he was the best player in the game until the very end."@CoachBillSelf on our own @chris_ledlum's play at No. 4 Kansas on Thursday night.#GoCrimson #OneCrimson pic.twitter.com/NNKufLEIgY

— Harvard Men’s Basketball (@HarvardMBB) December 24, 2022

Outside of Ledlum, Harvard doesn’t have many other offensive options. The Crimson guard play is horrific (289th in offensive turnover rate), and there are zero jump shooters (.834 spot-up PPP, 16th percentile) in the rotation.

However, Harvard has played great defensively, grading out as the Ivy’s second-best defensive team. The Crimson could be due for some slight negative shooting regression on defense (28.5% three-point allowed), but they’ve been good at running guys off the line (137th in three-point rate allowed) and preventing high-quality spot-up looks (.771 spot-up PPP allowed, 90th percentile).

A good defense and an All-Conference player keep the Crimson’s floor high, but they’re probably the worst of the Ivy’s “Haves.”

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Princeton Tigers

Princeton is on a crash course to meet Yale in the conference championship game. That’s because Yale and Princeton have the conference’s two best players.

For the Tigers, that’s veteran big man Evbuomwan, the linchpin on which Princeton’s offense revolves.

You all know how the Princeton offense works. Evbuomwan stalks the interior while four jump-shooting guards revolve on the perimeter, setting ball screens and looking for open threes.

Evbuomwan’s role for Princeton is three-fold. He rebounds (6.3 RPG), scores on the interior (12.6 PPG, 9.1 in the paint) and kicks the ball back out to the open shooters (4 APG, 5.4 APG over the past five games).

The Princeton offense is a symphony of inside-out motion ball movement, and it’s so effective. Princeton is 32nd nationally in eFG% this season (54.9%).

The wrinkle Evbuomwan throws in the mix is his ability to score off the dribble. It gives Princeton an extra late-clock option when needed, and that option won them the Ivy league title last season.

Tosan Evbuomwan (@Tosan_Evb) got the Game winning layup with 4.0 seconds left to get Princeton the IVY LEAGUE TITLE with the 74-73 win over Harvard (Video via @MrMatthewCFB)
pic.twitter.com/O6NPjQYMUj

— NCAA Buzzer Beaters & Game Winners (@NCAABuzzerBters) February 27, 2022

Oh yeah, that shot was against Harvard. Guess this is a revenge game.


Harvard vs. Princeton Betting Pick

The revenge game angle is an important one to me. This is not a game Tommy Amaker will take lightly, and he will throw the Ledlum-led playbook at Princeton.

I do think Harvard has some offensive advantages. Princeton tries to run opponents off the three-point line, but that’s led to many interior opportunities.

Image credit: CBB Analytics

As you can see, the Tigers have been good at defending the interior, but Ledlum is built to make them pay. And in a revenge spot, I’m not betting against that.

For what it’s worth, the underdog has covered in four straight games in this rivalry series. I’ll bet it to happen one more time.

Pick: Harvard +6 (-110) 

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