JJ’s CBB – Siena vs Manhattan Pick 2/26/21

Siena Saints vs Manhattan Jaspers
Betting Spread – Siena -10. Total 125

Siena hosts Manhattan here in a game of two snails who both struggle to find consistency on offense. This is most certainly true for the Jaspers. Now, these mid 120 totals have been good to us so far and I have another one here that I got a few points off. I know this has been steamed up to 126 at some spots, but this appears more of an overall handle pump up than anything. It’s also not so easy for many to love betting unders on these low totals in this new era of high scoring CBB.

This game features two very slow teams and expects to play out much like a defensive grind it out game. The Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference has quite a few of these types of teams who play slow, good defense and are inefficient offensively. This allows us to attempt to draw some conclusions based on those match-ups with the slower teams for how this can play out. The most comparable team in this conference is Marist with the tempo and bad offense/good defense, and both Siena/Manhattan have played Marist. Siena plays Marist twice in games that absolutely crawled and averaged 111 points between them. Both teams didn’t even shoot awful and the games still easily went under averaging about .9 points per possession. Manhattan also had similar outputs vs Marist. One game went to OT which spikes the game total, but in regulation both games averaged 107 total points. Those games played super slow and even in the OT game, both teams nearly averaged a full point per possession and in regulation the game landed on 114. I certainly expect pace to be nearly identical here.

Siena is the much better squad and they’re home, so I expect them to dictate tempo. This is important because they do play considerably slower than Manhattan despite how slow Manhattan already plays. As far as how these two match-up, there’s some critical items to indicate how tough sledding points should be. Siena has played two teams this season thank rank inside the top 200 defensively, Marist and St Peter’s and they averaged 56.5 points in those games. Siena is not an awful offense by any means, but they clearly struggle against better defenses. Manhattan comes in at 162nd defensively as per Kenpom. As for Manhattan, this is one of the most inefficient offenses in D1. Terrible from 3, Terrible from 2. They get most of their points from the free throw line and from put-backs on the offensive glass. The issue here is that Siena is 3rd best in the conference at defending the offensive glass and best in the conference at not fouling, so it really figures to be tough sledding for this Manhattan team to score points today. Manhattan does have some TO issues, but Siena doesn’t really force TOs at all.

On the other side, I already hinted at Siena’s struggles vs better defenses. This team shoots relatively well from the field, but holding teams to low shooting percentages is one of the bright spots of Manhattan’s defense. The other bright spot is the their ability to force TOs, but Siena is pretty good at avoiding them. Manhattan struggles to defense of offensive glass, but Siena is certainly not great there either so they do neutralize there. Remember, when betting totals this low, you want to avoid scenarios where teams could add many additional possessions on offense, as this tends to always lead to more scoring. The biggest discrepancy here is Manhattan’s fouling woes. Siena is very good at getting to the line and Manhattan has a real issue putting guys at the line. 340th worst in D1. The good news here is that Siena shoots only 66% as a team from the stripe. With that said, Manhattan, isn’t much better at less than 68%. Assuming Manhattan has less than 25 fouls, I think we’ll be alright with free throw makes for Siena.

With these two teams playing styles and lack of proficient scorers, it would take quite the shooting effort or a foul fest to push this over. I think we have enough previous data to confirm that this line is a few points too big. Totals this low though are always vulnerable to a few brief scoring runs and/or free throw fests, but regardless got this south of 122, so have some good value at 125 and even more at 126 if you have that.

JJ’s Best Bet
UNDER 125 -110 (FD) Posted last night


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