The Yale Bulldogs have been an impressive mid-major team so far this season, and tonight, they will head to Fairfield to take on the Stags. We’ll preview the game and review my best betting play for the action.
Fairfield has opened the season with a 4-6 record and enters tonight on a two-game win streak. The Stags have been primarily carried by their defense, allowing an average of only 65.5 points per game. They have done an excellent job of limiting their opponent’s ball movement, as they are allowing opponents to get just 10.7 assists per game which is 53rd in the country.
Leading scorer Caleb Fields averages 15.1 points per game but doesn’t just lead on the offensive end. Fields is also the team leader in steals with 1.2 per game and has had multiple three-steal games this season. Big man Supreme Cook has been an excellent complement down low to Fields, as Cook is averaging 11.8 points per game and leads the team in rebounds and blocks.
Fields and Cook will have their work cut out for them tonight against this Yale defense that has even better numbers than the Stags' defense. The Bulldogs allow 59 points per game and hold opponents to an effective field goal percentage of 45.3%. In their most recent game, the Bulldogs were able to hold the Kentucky Wildcats to just 69 points in their 10-point loss.
Yale has an advantage when it comes to neutralizing a player like Cook because they are one of the best defensive rebounding teams in the country. The Bulldogs have a defensive rebounding percentage of 79.5%, and they have held their opponents to an average of just 6.6 offensive rebounds per game.
Matt Knowling missed the Bulldogs' previous game due to injury, but he is their leading scorer, averaging 16.2 points per game. Knowling should be available to play in tonight’s game.
Yale is currently favored by -5.5 on the road tonight, and they are my best bet for this one. Defensively the Bulldogs will be too much for the Stags to handle as they can limit all second-chance scoring opportunities, making it challenging for Fairfield to get any production out of their second-leading scorer Supreme Cook.
Caleb Fields is a solid player, but he will need help in order to beat this Yale defense, and quite frankly, the Stags don’t have the scoring depth to help him. Fairfield is shooting 27.4% from three and has a 45.3% effective field goal percentage which is 320th in the country. These shooting numbers won’t get it done against a Yale team who has already played and limited much stronger offenses.
Fairfield may have a solid defense, but the Bulldogs play an efficient offense and rarely turn the ball over. Yale is 47th in the country in turnovers with only 11.3 a game, so as long as they protect the ball and keep shooting effectively from the field, the Stags will not be able to keep pace with them.
Yale Bulldogs (-5.5)