Morgan State vs Norfolk State: College Basketball Prediction (1/24/22)
The Norfolk State Spartans will host the Morgan State Bears at the Echols Hall in Norfolk, Virginia. These teams have been opposites in terms of results throughout the season. Norfolk State owns a 13-4 record through 17 games. Morgan State’s only played 15 games thus far, recording a 6-9 record thus far. The Spartans currently lead the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference with a 4-0 record. The Bears haven’t found as much success, recording a 1-2 conference record. Norfolk State’s projected to win the MEAC, while Morgan State’s projected to finish in the middle of the conference. In this article, I’ll outline my favorite bet for Morgan State vs Norfolk State.
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These teams have been opposites in results against the spread (ATS) this season. Morgan State enters this game with a 3-8 ATS record. They’re failing to cover by an average of 7.4 points per game. The Bears are also only covering in 28.6% of their road games this season.
Norfolk State’s been one of the best ATS teams in the NCAA this season. They bring a 10-3-1 ATS record into this game, and they’re covering by an average of 2.5 points per game. The Spartans also own a 2-0-1 home ATS record, and they’re beating the spread by an average of 6.7 points per game in Norfolk this season.
These are two offenses that struggle quite a bit. There is one key difference between the offenses, though. Morgan State ranks outside of the top-300 in two-point percentage, three-point percentage, and free throw percentage. They also rank outside of the top-300 in adjusted offensive efficiency, per KenPom. No matter where the attempts take place, the Bears struggle to score the ball.
Norfolk State’s also struggled with efficiency, ranking 284th in KenPom’s offensive adjusted efficiency this season. With that being said, the Spartans rank in the top-150 of the NCAA in free throw percentage. They’re shooting 72.3% from the line this season. This number is inflated by Joe Bryant, who’s shooting 94% from the line this season, although he also leads the team in free throw attempts by a wide margin.
Another key factor in this game is how frequently Norfolk State should be able to get to the line. They rank 21st in the NCAA in FTA/FGA, while Morgan State is putting their opponents at the line at one of the highest rates in the NCAA.
When you factor in where opponents are scoring points against each of these teams, Morgan State will likely have to rely on their three-point shot, while Norfolk State will see plenty of opportunities at the line. It’s an easy situation to project which offense will find more efficiency.
Another key here is the Spartans’ overall defense compared to the Bears’. Norfolk State has a viable defense for this conference, although they’ll struggle mightily against teams that can hit the three-point shot. Morgan State hasn’t found nearly as much success. They consistently put opponents on the free throw line, and they rank 320th and 279th in three-point and two-point percentage allowed, respectively.
Morgan State does have the potential to turn the ball over, as they rank in the top-20 in defensive turnover percentage. With that being said, they’ve struggled offensively with turnovers, and Norfolk State has the ability to capitalize on that. Furthermore, the Spartans will see plenty of offensive rebounding opportunities in this game, which they don’t allow defensively.
One key factor to note here is that Morgan State’s played a better schedule up until this point. With that being said, their only conference win was in overtime against South Carolina State, while they own losses to Coppin State and Howard. Norfolk State doesn’t necessarily own any elite wins throughout the season, but they have experience against Xavier and Wichita State this season.
I’m backing the team that has consistently been overlooked via Vegas this season. They have significantly more paths to victory, and both of these teams love pushing the pace. There will be plenty of opportunities to turn this into a double-digit game, and the -7.5 spread is a bit too close for how this game should end up.
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