Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#7927 Akron vs.
#7928 Ohio U
Tuesday, February 23, 2021 at 2:00pm EST
Written by Doug Gilghrist

The Ohio Bobcats get back on the court for the first time in three weeks when they host the Akron Zips on Tuesday afternoon. The Bobcats defeated the Central Michigan Chippewas in their last outing on February 2 by a score of 83-69. Tuesday’s game will be their first home game since January 26. The Zips are coming off an 88-79 victory over the Ball State Cardinals on Friday. Akron won the first meeting of the season between these two teams by a score of 90-70 on December 22.

Ohio is 9-7 against the spread this season, while the total has gone over in 10 of their 16 games versus Division I opponents. The Bobcats have covered the spread in four straight games, including their 14-point win over Central Michigan in which they were a nine-point favorite. Akron is 11-5 against the spread, while the over-under is 9-7 this season. The Zips covered the spread in their last game, as they were a 4.5-point favorite in their nine-point win.

Zips look for a share of MAC lead

The Akron Zips enter Tuesday’s action just one-half game behind the Toledo Rockets for first place in the MAC. Akron has won four straight games and 10 of their last 11 games, with their only loss in that span coming against Toledo by 15 points. The Zips are ranked 86th in the NET rankings, so it is looking like they will have to win the MAC tournament in order to qualify for the NCAA Tournament this season. They are 1-1 against first-place Toledo this season, winning by one point in overtime on January 16. Akron has won five of their last six road games.

After a lackluster first half on Friday in which the Zips trailed by as many as 13 points in the first half and six points at halftime to Ball State, Akron exploded for 58 points in the second half to take control of the game. The Zips shot 51.7% from the floor and 45.0% from three-point range. Sophomore Ali Ali led the way with a career-high 20 points and Bryan Trimble, Jr. chipped in with 19 points in the win. Camron Reece added 16 points off the bench, while Enrique Freeman and Loren Cristian Jackson scored 12 points apiece for Akron.

“We just picked it up on the defensive end,” Ali said on beaconjournal.com.“Cam Reece came in and gave us energy and we just fed off of him and started to play better.”

Jackson and Trimble, Jr. lead the team in scoring, averaging 20.9 and 13.4 points per game, respectively, this season. The Zips are averaging 79.3 points per game this season, while they are shooting 46.2% from the floor and 35.1% from three-point range. Defensively, Akron is giving up 69.9 points per game, while their opponents are shooting 42.8% from the floor and 30.5% from three-point range.

Bobcats go for fifth straight win after long layoff

It’s been a long time since the Ohio Bobcats have played a basketball game, and even longer since they have played at home. Before taking time off, the Bobcats won four straight games by an average of 11.5 points per game. They are currently in fourth place in the MAC, and a win will clinch a spot in the MAC tournament for the Bobcats. The conference has made a change this season, whereas all 12 teams made the tournament in years past, only the top eight will participate this season. Ohio is 4.5 games ahead of ninth-place Western Michigan right now with five games remaining.

In their last game action, the Bobcats broke open a close game at halftime by outscoring Central Michigan 45-35 in the second half for the victory. Ohio shot 56.7% from the floor in the game, but was just 6-25 from three-point range. They were 9-11 from the foul line and outrebounded the Chippewas 38-28. Six players, including all five starters, scored in double figures in the game. Jason Preston led the way with 17 points, while Dwight Wilson III and Ben Vander Plas added 14 and 13 points, respectively.

All five starters average in double figures the Bobcats, as Preston leads the way with 16.4 points per game. Wilson III and Vander Plas are next, averaging 15.6 and 12.8 points per game, respectively. Ohio is 31st in points per game (80.1) and 22nd in field goal percentage (48.7%), while they are shooting 34.7% from three-point range this season. On the defensive side of the ball, the Bobcats are giving up 73.4 points per game, while their opponents are shooting 44.9% from the floor and 35.7% from three-point range.

Best Bets for this Game

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Full-Game Side Bet

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Akron has played pretty well on the road this season, especially lately, as they have won five of their last six road games straight up, with their only loss coming against first-place Toledo. The Zips defeated Ohio by 20 points in their first meeting this season, and Akron has won seven of the last 10 meetings between these two teams. Both teams have great defenses, but the Zips have the better defense. The Bobcats haven’t played in three weeks, so look for them to start out a little rusty in this game, as Akron will jump on them early and come away with the victory.

Prediction: Akron +2.5

Full-Game Total Pick

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Both teams are averaging over 79 points per game this season. Akron has scored over 80 points in each of their last three games, while Ohio has scored no less than 76 points in their last nine games. The first meeting of the season totaled 160 points. The last three games between these two teams have averaged 154.3 points per game. Both teams are in the top half of college basketball in pace of play this season. These are two of the better shooting teams in the country, so look for a lot of points to be scored in this game.

Prediction: Over 151.5
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Written By Doug Gilghrist , "Doug Gilghrist"

Doug has a Journalism degree from Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania. He has been a passionate sports fan, especially Pittsburgh sports, for over 40 years. In his journalistic career, Doug has covered just about every sport imaginable and is now plying his trade for us here at Winners & Whiners and StatSalt. Doug has always been fascinated by numbers, especially as they relate to sports, so writing for this website is right up his alley.