Find that Cleveland bookie, and tell him (or her), Line Drills sent you. Then email us about the female Cleveland bookies. That's got to make for a good story. Your March 12th MAC picks:
Miami vs. Ohio (-4.5)
At one time the preeminent MAC prognosticators mused that Miami would make a little noise in the MAC Tournament. Clearly the RedHawks read Line Drills. As the eight seed Miami knocked off ninth seeded Kent State 71-64 Monday night in Oxford. Willie Moore led all scorers with 17, and Will Sullivan and Quinten Rollins each chipped in 13. Both teams shot an identical 22 of 49 from with field with the RedHawks winning it from the line, hitting 24 of 31 freebies compared to 14 of 17 for Kent State. Miami tallied 11 steals, five by Felder, en route to forcing 17 Kent State turnovers. We think that qualifies as a "little" noise.
Know that the Kent State game may have been an "upset" where seeding is concerned, but Vegas liked the RedHawks and Vegas was right. Clearly it was the raucous crowd of 780 at Millett Hall that provided the bump that Miami needed to cover the 1.5 point spread. The win marked the third time in five games that Miami has covered, and ran their home record to 5-5 ATS in conference play. That's a statistic that would be relevant in Miami played their home games in Cleveland, which I can assure you they do not. The O/U against Kent State was 135 and the game played to a push. HOW DO YOU DO THAT VEGAS?
As a Ball State fan, I can tell you Ohio dodged a HUGE bullet on Monday, narrowly escaping the icy grip of the Cardinals. Well part of that is true. Ball State shot 4 of 21 from behind the arc, that's pretty icy. Ohio handled the mighty Cardinals 76-64 in a game not nearly as close as the score would indicate. Four Bobcats scored in double figures, led by Nick Kellogg with 17, and Javarez Willis with 15, respectively. Ohio led by as many as 18 in the second half, in what was the final college game for Majok Majok, who I think we can all agree deserved better.
Seeing that lead evaporate had to be maddening for bettors who took the Bobcats and laid the points. Ohio failed to cover the 13.5 point spread despite leading by more than that for the majority of the second half. It was the third time in five games that Ohio failed to cover, as well as the third consecutive Bobcat game that hit the over. Ohio is now 9-10 ATS in conference play, being a considerably more attractive option on the road (7-2), than at home (2-8). For our geographically challenged readers, Ohio also does not play in Cleveland.
The pick: Ohio took both games in conference play, though these two split ATS. The Bobcats covered the 2.5 they were giving in an 82-76 victory on March 8th, and Miami was the winning bet on February 8th, getting 8.5 in an 82-75 loss. If this was six, I'd like Miami and the points. I can stomach 4.5. Take the Bobcats, lay the points.
Northern Illinois vs. Eastern Michigan (-5)
Northern Illinois ended Bowling Green's season and Louis Orr's tenure at BGSU with a 54-51 overtime victory on Monday night. Jordan Threloff scored 13 and ripped down 9 boards, Aaric Armstead went for 12 and 5, and the Huskies racked up 17 steals. Collectively these two teams shot 14-28 from the charity stripe, and if you ask me neither should have advanced. Can we make a rule that you have to hit 60 percent of your free throws to advance? We probably can't do that can we? 8 of 17 for Northern Illinois. 8 of 17! You should be ashamed.
The line on the Bowling Green game was 3. Meaning of course if NIU had managed not to shoot a putrid 47 percent from the line, they would have been a winning bet. It seems petty doesn't it? Lose a bet on the line and you'll get it. Before Monday's push against BGSU, Northern had been 7-0-2 in the last nine ATS. In fact in conference play this year, NIU is a sparkling 12-4-3 ATS. The Huskies have been the closest thing to a sure thing since.....the free throw. Maybe they used a moving backboard Monday night in DeKalb like those old Shaquille O'Neal Reebok commercials. I don't know, I didn't watch.
Eastern Michigan breezed by Central Michigan 72-60. This was a 20 point game with 3:27 left. Karrington Ward scored 20 points connecting on 6 of 9 from behind the arc. Mike Talley scored 11 with 8 assists, and get this, the Eagles hit 8 of their 11 free throws. It's remarkable really, and give the Chips credit. They hit 8 of 10 as well. Eastern Michigan does it with defense, so expect the game with Northern to be a low scoring one. If the Huskies are to knock off the Eagles, they're going to need the free points. Spoiler Alert: They're not going to win anyway.
The line on the Eastern/Central game was 12, so we got a push. That makes 2-2-1 in the last five for the Eagles ATS. In conference games EMU is now 10-8-1 ATS, so we've got a matchup of two of the more bettable MAC teams. Yes, I made that word up. Northern Illinois came out on top for bettors in both games this year. First NIU knocked off EMU 61-59 in double OT on February 20th as a four point dog, then the Huskies covered while getting nine in a 56-52 loss on March 1st.
The Pick: Chalk. EMU is closer to Toledo and Western Michigan than Northern Illinois and Central Michigan. For what it's worth EMU is actually a worse free throw shooting team than NIU, but the Huskies are the worst shooting team in the MAC otherwise. They are the only team shooting south of 40 percent from the field. This could turn into an ugly one that may hit right on five. Take the Eagles, lay the points.