Tennessee State Tigers vs. Southern Illinois-Edwardsville Cougars – College Basketball, February 04, 2021

By Dean McHugh in College Basketball
| February 3, 2021 3:17 pm PDT

It’s not been a great season for either of these teams so far, as they have both struggled for large parts of it. The Tigers are languishing down in 11th, and their only goal this season will be to avoid coming last. There is the added incentive to finish above their local rivals Tennessee Tech who are one place behind them in last. The Cougars are situated around the middle of the table, and there is little chance that they will improve much on their 7th spot, which they currently occupy. However, very little separates them and their tenth-placed rivals Eastern Illinois, so they will undoubtedly want to keep them at bay.

The recent head-to-head record has been close between them, with them both winning three games apiece from their last six games. Their most recent match just over two weeks ago highlighted how close things are as the Cougars won an extremely tight game 65-67. The Tigers led by two but faltered against the fresher Cougars, who played their first game in over a month due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Let’s look at the betting trends for each team, and then I will provide my Tigers vs. Cougars betting prediction.

Tigers vs. Cougars Odds

Tigers +2.5-110
Cougars -2.5-110
Tigers To Win+132
Cougars To Win-156
Over 132.5-110
Under 132.5-110 

The bookmakers have based the whole market on the two teams’ most recent match, which is crazy. The season is much more than one game, and teams should be judged over a long period and not just one game. However, this should present us with some good betting options.

The Tigers have only won once from the ten games that they entered as the betting underdogs.

Tigers Analysis

As you might expect from looking at their overall record, the Tigers haven’t played well lately, winning just one of their previous seven games.

To win this game, they will have to do something they have failed to do all season, and that is win on the road. They have lost all seven of their previous away fixtures this season. It did seem that an away win was on the cards as they lost by three, four (after overtime), one, and three, but that all went out the window recently as they lost their two most recent away games by 20 and 15 points.

Here are the latest betting trends for Tennessee State:

  • They have only won one of their previous six games against the spread.
  • Their last five games have all gone under the betting total.
  • The Tigers have only won one of their last five games against the Cougars when betting against the spread.
  • Tennessee State has lost their previous ten away games in a row.
  • They have lost five of their last seven games played in February.
  • The Tigers have only won four of their previous 16 games against the spread when playing as the underdog.

Whatever stats you look at, they don’t bode well for the Tigers.

The Tigers have a terrible offense that wouldn’t frighten a pussy cat, let alone a Cougar! They are abysmal shooting from distance, which is an area you would assume they would be better at as they find themselves many points behind often.

They are averaging just 66 points per game, which is the third-lowest average in the Conference. This isn’t being helped by their poor offensive rebounding, which averages only seven rebounds per game. Nor by their wayward passing, which gets more and more desperate as they fall further behind in their games. As you would expect, this leads to a very high number of turnovers also. They had 24 against the Cougars in their most recent game.

Their defense is much better, and if they are to stand any chance here or in any other game, they will have to be on point. They play aggressively and try to draw their opponents into a battle.

Mark Freeman has been the main man for the Tigers this season, and he leads most of their rankings. He is eight points up per game this season on his career averages, highlighting his excellent form.

The Tigers have a clean bill of health going into this game.

Cougars Analysis

The Cougars are making up for lost time as having spent 33 days without any basketball, they have played seven games in 11 days. They have won three and lost four during that period, including their last two in a row. They showed signs of fatigue in their most recent loss to their tenth-placed rivals, Eastern Illinois, as they lost 61-70. The game was relatively close, heading into the last quarter of the match when the Cougars ran out of steam.

They have only played four of their 14 games at home this season, and usually, this would be a bad thing, but given they have only won once at home this season, it has been a blessing in disguise, it would seem. More worryingly is they have lost their last three in a row.

Here are the latest betting trends for SIU Edwardsville:

  • The Cougars have won eight of their previous 12 games against the spread.
  • Nine of their last 11 games have gone under the betting total.
  • Only one of their previous five games against the Tigers has failed to go over the points total.
  • Their last five games at home against the Tigers have all gone under the betting total.
  • The Tigers are 1-6 from their previous seven games played in February.
  • They have enjoyed playing on a Thursday, having won five of their last six games against the spread.
  • However, this hasn’t been the case at home on a Thursday night as they have won just two of their last six against the spread.

The stats highlight how inconsistent the Cougars have been recently, so is it a risk backing such a team as the favorites?

The Cougars have a marginally better offense than that of the Tigers, which is by no means a great compliment. They are reasonably accurate shooters but spend far too much time without the ball chasing the game. This is predominantly down to them being sloppy in possession, which has resulted in the highest number of turnovers in the league.

However, their defense is worse than their opponent’s defense. The one plus is they have been better at home, averaging nine points less against them per game, which is significant.

They have the highest average number of blocks per game in the Conference, which in one sense, is excellent, but on the other hand, it reiterates their lack of possession.

The Cougars lack experience this season, having only three seniors on their roster, and it has indeed shown at times. They have often been naive and have not managed their games well.

They also have no absentees for this game.

Tigers vs. Cougars Betting Pick

Pick
  • Under 132.5
    -110

This game will come down to how well the Cougars offense performs. They have lost all six games when they have scored 63 points or less and won six of seven when they have achieved over that total. Neither team has a great offense, and although the points total is low and doesn’t give much room for errors, I see this going under.

The Cougars are looking tired, and the Tigers are likely to try and make this a fight rather than a basketball match, which could break up the play and not allow either team to get into a rhythm.

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