Drexel has now won 15 straight games and is coming off of one of the biggest wins in school history, but it must now guard against a letdown vs. a James Madison team that has covered two straight.
A closer game than many people think could be in store in the Colonial Athletic Association Wednesday night when the James Madison Dukes (11-18 overall, 5-8 away) pay a visit to the red-hot Drexel Dragons (23-5 overall, 12-0 home) at the Daskalakis Athletic Center in Philadelphia, PA at 7:00 ET.NCAA Basketball Pick
Drexel has now won 15 consecutive games to go to 23-5, but they have gotten very little national publicity while doing so while playing in a CAA that is only the 13th ranked conference in the country according to the Pomeroy Ratings. Furthermore, Drexel’s non-conference schedule was also weak, as it ranked 230th in the country in SOS.
However, the Dragons finally got a chance to showcase their talents in front of a national audience in one of the BracketBuster games on Saturday on the road vs. a good Cleveland State team, and they responded with an authoritative 69-49 blowout as three-point underdogs on the NCAA Basketball odds in a game that was not even that close.
In what was thought to be a big rise in class for the Dragons, their defense, which ranks an amazing seventh in the country in effective field goal percentage against, simply suffocated the Vikings while limiting them to an unbelievable 17-of-63, 27.0 percent shooting from the floor! Remember, that was the same Cleveland State team that want into Nashville and beat Vanderbilt earlier this season.
The problem we see for the Dragons tonight though is that we do not feel that can come close to matching Saturday’s intensity vs. a weaker James Madison team, and besides, as great as the Drexel defense is, the offense is nothing special, which makes it difficult to cover large double-digit spreads like this.
The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has James Madison as a big +14 underdog for this contest at current odds of -105.
Drexel ranks 68th in the country on offensive efficiency and just 143rd in effective field goal percentage offensively, and prior that they great performance on the road on national television, the Dragon failed to cover the spread in their last two home games, most recently on a narrow 63-61 win over William& Mary here last Tuesday.
Also, for all of you trend geeks out there ( and you know who you are), Drexel falls into a negative situation that has seen home favorites on winning streaks of at least 10 games go just 15-33-1 against the spread this season for a golden 68.7 percent fade. Now we are not usually fans of trends like that, but this contrarian angle actually makes sense because home favorites on double-digit winning streaks are usually overvalued, and we think such is the case here.
James Madison has been competitive as of late, covering its last two games vs. Georgia State in conference and vs. Detroit in the BracketBusters, and the Dukes gave the Dragons all that they can handle the first time these teams met this season, leading for much of the game before Drexel pulled away late for the seven-point win in Virginia.
The Dukes are also 7-3-1 against the spread in the last 11 head-to-head meetings, and given Drexel’s letdown spot and the fact that Madison stayed close earlier this month, look for the Dukes to improve on that head-to-head ATS mark further here.
: James Madison +14 (-105)