Friday night features a light slate in college basketball but does feature some solid Ivy League conference games, including a matchup between Harvard and Brown. We'll preview the game before determining which bet type you should target.
Harvard comes into their second conference game with a 9-6 record and a 0-1 record in conference play. The Crimson's biggest strength is their defense, as they enter tonight with a 98 defensive efficiency rating on KenPom, which ranks 93rd in the country. Their ability to run teams off the three-point line has proven to be efficient, with their opponents shooting just 30.1% from three this season.
Opponents are averaging just 65 points per game this season. One of the biggest reasons for this is the Crimson's ability to limit ball movement and hold opponents to an average of 10.8 assists per game. The problem for the Crimson has come when their defense cannot produce at their usual rate.
Harvard has only been able to manage an effective field goal percentage of 49%, leading to their offensive efficiency rating being ranked 275th in the country, according to KenPom. Most of the Crimson's scoring comes from the interior as, even though 86% of their possessions end in a three or a shot at the rim, they are shooting just 26% from three but 54.7% on two-point field goals.
The Crimson's opponent tonight has a very similar team style regarding strengths and weaknesses. Brown has only managed to produce an offensive efficiency rating that ranks 314th in the country and is averaging just 64.1 points per game. An overall lack of shooting has kept this team's record around .500 all season, as their shooting percentage this season is just 42.3%.
On the defensive end, the Bears are currently ranked 50th in the country in points allowed per game and hold opponents to just 53.9 field goal attempts per game. They have also put up a very similar defensive efficiency rating to Harvard, at 99.
I'll be targeting the point total in this one when it comes to wagering on the game. The current total is set at 127.5, and I'll be taking the under as my best bet. The under has gone a combined 21-6 in games played by these two teams this season, and with both teams' tendency to get off to slow starts on the offensive end, I think this game will end up going under as well.
Harvard and Brown rank 35th and 37th, respectively, in points allowed in the first half as well, so with the possibility of such a low-scoring first half, I think this total is set a bit too high. Both sides have been able to limit their opponent's field goal attempts all season, and with both teams' inconsistent shooting numbers, points will be hard to come by.
Brown does an excellent job of limiting their opponent's second-chance points as they allow the fewest offensive rebounds in the country at just 5.4 a game. With Harvard getting a bulk of their scoring down low, not having the advantage in rebounding could lead to an overall lack of scoring.