Basketball Plays of the Day for December 31: Free NCAAB Picks

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The mascot and cheerleaders of the Niagara Purple Eagles perform during a break. Stephen Dunn/Getty Images North America/Getty Images via AFP

Can Niagara steal a win on the road against Quinnipiac before the New Year is here?

Let’s see what the NCAAB odds tell us about this matchup!

Niagara Purple Eagles vs. Quinnipiac Bobcats

Friday, December 31, 2021 – 02:00 PM EST at People’s United Center

Betting Preview

The Niagara Purple Eagles are coming off a semi-home win against the Albany Great Danes. But that was back on December 18. It’s been two weeks since Niagara has played and now they’ll head out on the road to take on the Quinnipiac Bobcats who haven’t played since December 11.

Quinnipiac hasn’t had any impressive wins this season. If they were to beat Niagara, that would be Quinnipiac’s biggest win of the season. Sure, the Bobcats are on a three-game winning streak but they’ve knocked off teams around 250 in KenPom and worse. Niagara and Quinnipiac are completely opposite offensively speaking.

Betting Analysis

Niagara slows the tempo down while Quinnipiac ramps it up. The Purple Eagles are shooting an effective field goal percentage of 49.3 percent while only turning the ball over 17.6 percent of the time.

Offensive rebounds have been hard but three-point shooting hasn’t been with a 34.2 percent rate from beyond the arc. Inside, Niagara is shooting 48.2 percent but the Purple Eagles have been getting to the line at an above-average rate while shooting 78.4 percent from the line.

Defensively, the Purple Eagles aren’t going to force a ton of turnovers, but they’ve done a terrific job keeping teams off the offensive glass. Opponents have just 25.5 percent offensive rebounds against Niagara this season, which is a top 100 number in the nation. Also, Niagara has defended the three well, holding teams to 31.4 percent from downtown.

With Quinnipiac shooting threes at a high rate this year, the perimeter defense is something that can really be the key factor in winning this game. Quinnipiac is shooting a 50.5 effective field goal percentage while also hitting 51.4 percent from inside and 32.9 percent from outside. The Bobcats have knocked in 73.2 percent foul shots, so between both teams, foul shooting hasn’t been an issue.

However, Quinnipiac does have the worse defense. The Bobcats have allowed teams to shoot over a 50.2 percent effective field goal percentage and while they continue to force turnovers over 20 percent of the time, the Bobcats are also fouling at a high enough rate that it’s below average.

Expert Prediction

Therefore, I’ll roll with Niagara to get the win on the road in Connecticut. The Purple Eagles defend the three better and should get to the line more while limiting offensive rebounds on the defensive end. If Niagara does those three things better than Quinnipiac, the Purple Eagles will win this game and ultimately cover the +2.

You know I love playing it safe, but if you’re looking for a plus-money play, I don’t mind taking Niagara as the short underdog in today’s game for our last NCAAB pick of 2021. For me, personally, this is not an official play.

When I say this, usually the play hits. So just keep that in mind! Happy New Year!

NCAAB Pick: Niagara +2 (-110) at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

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Niagara +2 (-110)
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*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.