Bowling Green Falcons vs. Akron Zips – NCAAB, February 26, 2021

By Dean McHugh in College Basketball
| February 26, 2021 2:23 pm PDT

The Falcons take on the Zips in this All-Mid-American matchup, and it’s crunch time. Bowling Green has a slim chance of catching Akron, but they have to start with a win here if they are to catch them. The Zips are chasing down Toledo for the top spot in the Conference, and a win tonight would put them within touching distance. Therefore, this is a crucial game that could have great significance on the Conference.

The recent head-to-head record is close, and over the last five games, Akron has won three, and Bowling Green has won two. The Zips edged in front just over a month ago when they comprehensively beat the Falcons 57-69. If the Falcons are to win tonight, they will have to break this formidable record that the Zips have over them at home. The Zips have won the previous 12 home fixtures against the Falcons, making this a near-impossible task for Bowling Green tonight. The last time the Falcons won on the road against the Zips was back in 2009!

Over the previous ten meetings between them, the Zips have averaged five more points than the Falcons. As you will read shortly, this could be a significant piece of information. The points difference has mostly been down to Bowling Greens’ low field goal percentage of under 40%.

Falcons vs. Zips Match Odds

Falcons +4.5-110
Zips -4.5-110
Falcons To Win+165
Zips To Win-184
Over 152.5 Points-110
Under 152.5 Points-110 

Looking at the betting, you can now see why that stat of the Zips averaging five more points than the Falcons was so poignant.

When they last met a little over four weeks ago, things were very different as it was the Falcons giving a lead of 5.5 to the Zips.

Falcons Analysis

After losing six games in a row, which by the way, started with that loss against Akron, the Falcons have returned to winning ways in a big way by winning their previous three games. Their fortunes turned around when they beat the top of the Conference team, Toledo. Given their poor run of form heading into that match, you would have to say that this was a significant upset. They were impeccable at shooting that day as they had a 49% field goal percentage and a success rate of 41% from deep. They were also helped by the inspirational Daeqwon Plowden, who scored a season-high 22 points. The win gave Bowling Green the much-needed confidence they required to make a serious challenge to top the Conference this season.

The Falcons have the best record on the road in the Mid-American Conference this season, having only lost three of their 11 games.

Here are the latest betting trends for Bowling Green:

Bet Type Trend
ATS They have lost six of their previous nine games.
ATS The Falcons have only won one of their last six games against the Zips.
SU Bowling Green is 3-17 in their previous 20 matches against Akron.
SU They have won nine of their last 11 games on the road.
Total The total has gone over in 13 of their previous 20 games played in February.

While these two teams play a different style of offensive basketball, they match up incredibly well as the Falcons offense is ranked 39th and the Zips 40th. The Falcons are averaging an impressive 78 points per game this season. This is despite having a low field goal of only 42%.

They prefer to play a dribbling basketball style, which means that their opponents need to be disciplined against them, which more often than not they haven’t been. This style of play means they can retain possession without the risk of losing the ball, which is highlighted by them making the least amount mod turnovers in the Conference.

They have reveled playing on the road this season, averaging 81 points per game, which is the country’s tenth best record. It will be vital that they fire on all cylinders tonight as they are winless when they have scored fewer than 67 points this season.

Now to the bad news, they can’t defend! Or is it perhaps that they don’t want to defend? Either way, they will need to do better to get past the Zips tonight. Their defensive rebounding has been a particular problem for them. They have also made the least number of blocks in the Conference, so perhaps it’s an aerial issue?

Bowling Green reminded everyone recently that they should never be taken lightly when they beat Toledo, and I don’t think anyone will be doing that again anytime soon.

The Falcons will miss Forward Kulackovskis, who is out with a knee injury.

Zips Analysis

Akron had a run of four wins halted when they were thrashed in a high-scoring clash with Ohio last time out.

They have been near perfect at home this season, winning nine of their ten games. This includes winning the last eight in a row. The only team to have offered a scare during that run was their championship rival, Toledo. That was another end-to-end, high-scoring battled that the Zips finally prevailed in overtime to win 95-94.

Here are the latest betting trends for Akron:

Bet Type Trend
ATS The Zips have won nine of their previous 12 matches.
Total Five of their last six games have gone over the betting total.
SU They have only lost two of their previous 12 matches.
Total All five of their most recent games against Mid-American Conference opponents have gone over the points total.
ATS Akron has only lost one of their previous eight games played on a Friday.

Akron has certainly unzipped many defenses this season, and they have averaged 79 points per game in doing so. They haven’t been outstanding from the three-point range, but they haven’t needed to be, and this hasn’t hindered them too much to date. The Zips have a field goal percentage of 45%, which has served them well this season.

They make a high number of free-throws per game which not only shows they are good at drawing fouls, but it also displays a good mentality under pressure, which could be crucial in such a tight game like this.

Their defense needs some work, and their high-pressing game has not worked for three most nights. However, their defense is better than their opponents tonight, which could be essential given they are so closely matched in attack. Especially given that they have a decent record in the defensive rebounding department, which again could be key against a side that has struggled in the air. They will also need to rebound well as they aren’t making many steals per game.

The Zips have a point per game difference of eight, which is the third-highest in the Conference this season.

Loren Jackson has been a critical figurehead for his team this season, and he has ultimate confidence in his team’s ability. Please take a look at this and see him showing that confidence in his teammates.

Jackson has either made or assisted on 50% of all Akron’s field goals over the last five games. During that time, he has 33 field goals and 33 assists.

However, it could be Sophomore Enrique Freeman that could be the most influential player on display tonight. His aerial game has been superb this season, making many blocks power game. He also had 14 rebounds against the Falcons last time out, which helped them in their victory over them.

Falcons vs. Zips Betting Pick

Pick
  • Zips To Win
    -184

These are two outstanding attacking teams, and there should be plenty of high-scoring, entertaining basketball on display tonight. I like the Falcons, and I think they have to be respected, but I can’t see past Akron’s superb home record against them. It jumps out of the page at you and squashes any arguments for Bowling Green. However, as I have said, I do like the Falcons, so I won’t take them on against the handicap.

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