Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#853 Fairfield 129 vs.
#854 Iona -5.5
Friday, January 17, 2020 at 7:00pm EST
Written by Blake V.

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#853 Fairfield University
#854 Iona College
7-9
3-8
12-4
1-9
5-11
4-6
60
67
62
73

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Fairfield will look to build on a two-game winning streak when it travels to Iona on Friday night. The Stags have been on a nice run, covering the spread in 12 of their 16 games this season. Iona has only played 11 games this year and has lost eight of them. The Gaels are coming off a 70-69 loss to Niagara on Sunday.

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Fairfield on two-game winning streak

Fairfield has won three of its last four games and has won five of its last seven overall. The Stags are currently sitting at third in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. Last Friday, Fairfield picked up a 68-60 home win against Manhattan. The win snapped a four-game home losing skid. The Stags outscored the Jaspers 40-32 in the first half and the team’s played to a stalemate in the second half. Fairfield set a season-high with its 40-point first half. On Wednesday, the Stags built on the win with a 61-51 victory against St. Peter’s. Fairfield held St. Peter’s leading scorer to five points.

The Stags are led by senior guard Landon Taliaferro, who is scoring 13.9 points per game and is grabbing 2.3 rebounds per game. Taliaferro has been nearly automatic from the charity stripe, making 27 of 29. He is also the best outside shooter on the team, making 42 of 108 from beyond the arc. Junior guard Jesus Cruz is the only other player in double figures, scoring 11.8 points per game and dishing out 2.0 assists per game. He has struggled at the free throw line (56.7%) and the 3-point line (28.6 %). Junior guard Taj Benning is adding 9.3 points per game and 4.6 rebounds per contest. He is distributing a team-high 2.8 assists per outing.

Iona still trying to find answers

Iona only played six games from Nov. 9 to Dec. 28. The Gaels lost four of those six contests to open the season with a 2-4 record. They are just 1-4 in the five games since the season started, losing to Colorado, St. Peter’s, Monmouth and Niagara. Their lone win in that stretch was a 69-66 win against Rider last Friday. On Sunday, Niagara’s Raheem Solomon recorded a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds. A layup with 46.2 seconds left in the game broke a tie and gave Niagara the lead for good.

The Gaels are one of the most experienced teams in college basketball, with every key contributor being an upperclassman. Senior wing E.J. Crawford leads the way with 17.8 points per game and 5.0 rebounds per game. Senior forward Tajuan Agee is the only other player in double figures, scoring 14.5 points per game to go along with a team-high 8.8 rebounds per game. He is also the team’s leading distributor, dishing out 3.1 assists per contest. Senior guard Asante Gist is adding 9.2 points per game and 2.9 assists per game. Junior guard Isaiah Ross has been the biggest weapon on the perimeter, knocking down 20 of 63 from beyond the arc.

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

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Fairfield has been one of the best teams to back in college basketball this season. The Stags are off to a phenomenal ATS start, covering in 12 of their first 16 games. Iona could not be a much different story, going 1-6 ATS in its last seven contests. Overall, the Gaels are just 2-9 ATS on the season. They have some serious turnover issues, with Crawford and Agee combining for 7.9 turnovers per game. I think Iona will figure things out eventually, but it’s tough to predict when that is going to happen. The Gaels are fade material until then.

Prediction: Fairfield +5.5

Full-Game Total Pick

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Iona’s well-documented struggles are also bleeding into the totals market. The Gaels’ poor offensive performances have led to the under hitting in eight of their last 12 games. Fairfield is already a serious under squad, with 14 of its last 19 games going under the total. The Stags play very slow, coming in at No. 345 in KenPom’s adjusted tempo ratings. Their offense is not efficient, ranking No. 308 in adjusted offensive efficiency. It’s tough to see this game going over the number.

Prediction: Under 129
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Written By Blake V.

Blake is a lifelong sports fan and hoops junkie. Prior to joining our team at Winners & Whiners and StatSalt, Blake worked for several newspapers and websites. He enjoys combining his beat writing expertise with the knack for finding the winning edge in a matchup. Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.