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Western Michigan vs Akron Picks and Odds (Jan. 18)

Jack Magruder

by Jack Magruder in College Basketball

Jan 18, 2022 · 2:25 AM PST

Akron's Xavier Castaneda driving to the hoop
Akron's Xavier Castaneda plays against Ohio State during an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)
  • Akron is a 13.5-point favorite over Western Michigan on Tuesday
  • Western Michigan has lost 8 of 9, 3-6 ATS
  • Read below for analysis and a betting prediction

Akron (9-5, 2-2 MAC) is a 13.5-point favorite against Western Michigan in a Mid-American Conference game at 6 pm Tuesday on ESPN3. The Zips play three MAC games in the next five days and four in the next eight.

Western Michigan (4-12, 0-5 MAC) has lost six in a row, and its only victory in its last nine was against Aquinas College, an NAIA school from Grand Rapids, Mich. The Broncos also play on three of the next five and four in the next eight days.

Western Michigan vs Akron Odds

Team Moneyline Spread Total
Western Michigan Broncos +740 +13.5 (-104) Over 135.5 (-110)
Akron Zips -1250 -13.5 (-118) Under 135.5 (-110)

Odds from FanDuel Sportsbook on Jan. 17.


Akron is a 13.5-point home favorite over Western Michigan, with the 135.5 total among the lowest the Broncos have seen this season. The -1250 money line for Akron amounts to a 92.6 implied winning probability.  Western Michigan’s +740 money line translates to an 11.9 implied winning percentage.

Neither team is a factor in the 2022 NCAA Tournament odds, though the Zips should pop up in odds to reach the Final Four if they can string together some wins in MAC play.

Zips Clamp Down

Akron leads the Mid-American Conference in scoring defense, giving up only 62.8 points per, which was 38th in NCAA Division I. The Zips are holding opponents to 41.9 shooting from the floor.

Because of their stingy play on the defensive end, the Zips have a plus-10.1 scoring margin, second in the league behind Toledo, even after a 67-55 loss at Kent State in their lasts time out Friday, their second loss in the last three games.

Sophomore forward Ali Ali (13.6 points) and junior guard Xavier Castaneda (13.2 points) lead the balanced Zips’ scoring, but the their most valuable component is sophomore 6’7 forward Enrique Freeman, who is averaging a double-double with 12.4 points and 10.9 rebounds.

Freeman is shooting 66 percent from the field and has eight double-doubles in 14 games. No other MAC player has more than three double-doubles. Freeman had 13 points and seven rebounds against Kent State, and Ali had eight and three.

Western Michigan vs Akron H2H Results

Akron has dominated the series, winning five in a row (3-2 ATS) and 11 of the last 12 (7-5 ATS). The Zips have won the last 10 home games in the series, 7-3 ATS, all as a favorite.

The Zips have been a double-digit home favorite in seven of the previous 10 games in the series and were favored by 9.5 points in another. Akron covered as 11.5-point favorite in an 84-69 victory last season after the Broncos covered the previous three as an underdog of at least 9.5 points.

Akron won the only game between the two last season, 79-68 in Kalamazoo, covering as a 7.5-point favorite.

Broncos Ride Norman Jr.

Duquesne transfer guard Lamar Norman Jr. is second in the MAC in scoring at 19.3 points per game, and he leads the league in three-point attempts (141) and makes (52), good for a 36.9 percentage. He is averaging 9.4 threes per game.

Norman had 26 points and was 6 of 11 from distance in the Broncos’ 70-62 home loss to Miami the last time out Saturday. Norman missed the previous game, a 78-64 home loss to Buffalo, while in quarantine, the only game he has missed this season. He is the only MAC player to have multiple 30-point games, and he has seven 20-point games.

Guard B. Artis White and Norman were in the starting lineup for the first time since Nov. 12 against Miami. White, who averaged 14.3 points and 2.8 threes per game last season, suffered a lower leg injury against Michigan State that day and returned against Buffalo. White has not regained his shooting touch, going 4 for 18 from the field, 2 of 12 from distance.

Recent Betting Trends

Looking at the college basketball betting trends, Western Michigan began its six-game losing streak with blowout losses at Notre Dame (85-52) and Toledo (83-56) in late December, but the Broncos have covered three of their last four, all three as a double-digit underdog. The total has been under in six of the Broncos’ last seven games.

Akron is 6-3 ATS in its last nine games, 5-2 at home. The Broncos are 0-6 in true road games. The Zips have played the seventh-most difficult non-conference schedule in Division I, according to KenPom.

Western Michigan vs Akron Prediction

There is little to like about Western Michigan, whose four wins have come against NCAA Division III Hope College, NAIA Aquinas and in overtime against Purdue Fort Wayne and Southeastern Louisiana at the Florida Gulf Coast Invitational.

Akron should have little trouble here against a team that shoots 42 percent from the field and shoots three-pointers 40 percent of the time.

The pick: Akron -13.5 (-118)

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