Northeast Conference Championship Odds, Picks, Predictions: Wagner vs. Bryant Betting Preview (March 8)

Northeast Conference Championship Odds, Picks, Predictions: Wagner vs. Bryant Betting Preview (March 8) article feature image

Dylan Buell/Getty Images. Pictured: Jared Grasso.

  • The Bryant Bulldogs take on the Wagner Seahawks in a 1-2 battle for the NEC Championship on Tuesday.
  • The Bulldogs boast a dynamic duo in Peter Kiss and Charles Pride, and they're a big reason why their team is favored.
  • Check out Kyle Remillard's full betting guide and pick for the NEC Championship below.

Updated Wagner vs. Bryant Odds

Tuesday, March 8
7 p.m. ET
Wagner Odds
-110o / -110u
Bryant Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

The Northeast Conference Tournament stuck to form, which has led to a matchup between the two best teams in Wagner and Bryant. However, each program took a different path to get to this championship game.

Wagner really struggled down the stretch after losing Elijah Ford. The Seahawks won just three of their final five games including back-to-back losses that cost them home-court advantage in this game.

Since the NEC Tournament began, the Seahawks have found their groove again. Wagner coasted its way to the NEC Championship, beating St. Francis (PA) and Long Island by a combined 49 points.

Bryant, meanwhile, entered tournament play winning 13 of its last 14 games. But the Bulldogs needed a game-winning free throw from Charles Pride with 0.9 seconds on the clock to punch their ticket to the NEC finals.

The regular-season finale may come back to be an important factor in the NEC Tournament Championship.

Wagner Seahawks

Wagner opened the season 17-2 before dropping three of its final five games. The back-to-back losses to Fairleigh Dickinson and Bryant cost the Seahawks the regular-season championship.

Ford was ruled out for the season in early February, which led to the group's struggles.

In the five regular-season games without Ford, Wagner hit just 23-of-103 (22%) of its attempts from downtown. But in their first two conference tournament games, the Seahawks have converted on 21-of-46 (46%) from 3-point territory. That’s quite the anomaly for a team that ranks 351st in the country, hitting 29% of its outside shot attempts.

Senior Alex Morales has been putting the team on his back over the last week, posting a triple-double with 11 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists in the opening round against Saint Francis (PA).

Wagner has dominated the offensive glass this season by finding extended possessions on 34% of its misses. That could be an important factor against a Bryant defense that ranks 311th in the nation in defensive rebounds, as it's looking to get out in transition as often as possible.

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Bryant Bulldogs

Bryant avenged its 2021 title loss with a one-point victory over Mount St. Mary’s on Saturday night.

Bryant’s success is fueled by its hyper tempo that ranks sixth in the nation, according to KenPom. The Bulldogs look to get out and run in hopes of easy transition layups or 3-point attempts.

The offense is led by a dynamic duo of Pride and Peter Kiss. Kiss gets most of the publicity, as he’s the leading scorer in the nation with 25 points per game. He's exceeded the 30-point mark in eight games this season and is a proven three-level scorer.

But Pride is the jack-of-all-trades and the glue to this program. Pride averages 18 points per game and leads the Northeast Conference with 8.4 rebounds per game despite standing only 6-foot-4. He scored 16 of Bryant’s final 22 points, including the game-winning free throw, last game against Mount St. Mary’s.

Pride’s importance is felt on both ends of the floor. When Pride is on the court, the defense allows 99.3 points per every 100 possessions. But when he’s not, it allows 110 points per every 100 possessions.

Wagner vs. Bryant Betting Pick

These two programs met in the season finale to determine who would earn the top seed in the conference Tournament. Bryant prevailed in that matchup (at home), which is why this game will be played in Rhode Island.

Home-court advantage will be a crucial factor, as the Chace Athletic Center will be rocking.

Wagner just handily defeated LIU, which also plays at a blistering tempo like Bryant. Though it's a reason for optimism, Long Island doesn’t have playmakers like Kiss and Pride.

We should see the hot outside shooting from Wagner come back to earth. The Seahawks are due for some regression after hitting just 29% from deep on the season. The program has been prone to scoring droughts over the last three weeks without Ford in the lineup.

This matchup will likely follow a similar pattern as the regular-season finale from two weeks ago. It was a back-and-forth battle with Bryant’s playmakers making clutch shots down the stretch.

The Bulldogs have the talent and the home-court advantage, which will propel them to their first-ever NCAA Tournament birth.

Pick: Bryant -3 (Play to -4)

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