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Mid-Money Madness 3/10: Bets for the NEC, CAA and WCC Championships

Several conference tournaments come to an end today, but not the bets.

San Francisco v Gonzaga Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The Mid-Money Madness picks started off with a blazing start.

We were nearly perfect on March 7, but Sam Merrill’s epic three point shot prevented the Mountain West final from going into overtime and hitting the over.

Later that day there was a heartbreaking push in overtime in an instant-classic between Pepperdine and Saint Mary’s in the WCC Tournament. Ross missed a wide-open game winner at the end of the first OT, and Saint Mary’s dominated in the second overtime. But alas, that’s how sports betting goes sometimes.

Tuesday features a great slate with multiple conference title games on the line.

Here are the picks. All times Eastern.

CAA Championship: Hofstra (-1) vs Northeastern
Total: 134.5
CBS Sports Network, 7:00 p.m.

Amazingly, we get to see a Colonial Conference game that’s not on FloSports.

The CAA Championship game is a rematch of last year, in which the Huskies won 82-74 as a nine-point underdog. Hofstra swept the regular-season series with a win by two at Boston, and they won by four at home. The -1 spread doesn’t make sense. Hofstra has been playing its best basketball, going 10-1 ATS in their last 11 games.

Conversely, Northeastern has been bad against the number, going 4-10 in their last 14. On offense, Northeastern is a one-person show with Jordan Roland (22 PPG). The Huskies have been lackluster on the defensive end all year, ranking 263rd in defensive eFG%. As good as Northeastern is offensively, they do not excel on the offensive glass, which is where a team needs to attack against an undersized Hofstra team.

Hofstra can attack in multiple ways with either Desire Blue or Eli Pemberton. Desure Buie (18.4 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 6.1 APG, 41.4% 3P) and Eli Pemberton (17.4 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 36.6% 3P). On the defense end the Pride forced 16 turnovers in both their wins against Northeastern. Look for Hofstra to win this game and avenge last year’s championship loss.

The pick: Hofstra -(1)

NEC Championship: Saint Francis (PA) (-1.5) vs Robert Morris
Total: 142
ESPN 2, 7 p.m.

Saint Francis is one of the hottest teams in the country coming into the tourney championship winning 10 out of their last 11 games. Its one loss in that span came against this Robert Morris team on the road. They post the 4th best ATS record in the country nationally (21-9) and have covered 5 out of their last six games.

The Red Flash have two first-team NEC members this year, plus the last two NEC players of the year with Keith Braxton and Isaiah Blackmon. Blackmon, this year’s NEC Player of the Year, is averaging 18.9 PPG on 45% shooting. While 2018-2019 NEC player of the year Keith Braxton has dominated the tournament averaging 21 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 5.5 assists per game. The Red Flash will need to beat Robert Morris on its home court to punch their first ticket to the Big Dance in 29 years.

The pick: St.Francis (PA) -1.

America East Tournament Semifinal: Hartford @ Stony Brook (-7.5)
Total: 133.5
ESPN+, 7 p.m.

The Hartford Hawks are two games away from making their first NCAA Tournament. They will have to win two big road games to do it. Head coach John Gallagher has made the Hartford a big surprise in the America East this year; the Hawks finished third after being selected to finish seventh in the preseason.

Hartford will have to play on the road but they are 10-5 ATS in their last 15 on the road. Conversely, Stony Brook is 5-7-1 against the spread at home. The Hartford Hawks are also 11-6 against the spread this season as an underdog. Stony Brook is 1-5 ATS in their last 6.

This a great matchup for Hartford defensively. Stony Brook is one-dimensional offensively; it’s heavily reliant on the three. Right now, 36.6% of the points come from beyond the arc, and they rank 43rd nationally in three-point attempts per game. Stony Brook does not have much of an inside offensive game. On the defensive side, Hartford ranks second nationally in defensive three-point eFG%. It will not be surprising if Hartford wins this game outright. Take the Hawks.

The pick Hartford +7.5

WCC Championship: Gonzaga (-9.) vs. Saint Mary’s
Total: 143.5
ESPN, 9 p.m.

Saint Mary’s has survived an 89-82 double OT thriller against Pepperdine, in which Ford scored 42 points in 50 minutes and sealed the game with a ridiculous, Steph Curry-esque turn-around three. On Monday, the Gaels came back from down 11 in the second half, and Ford hit a jumper with 1.4 seconds left to beat BYU and send his team to its third WCC Championship game in four years.

Meanwhile, Gonzaga escaped San Francisco with an 81-77 win. Gonzaga controlled the entire game, but USF kept things close throughout.

The WCC final is another conference championship game rematch from last year. Last season, Saint Mary’s won a 61-47 beatdown over the Zags to punch its ticket to the tournament. However this year, the motivation is different. Last year Saint Mary’s needed the victory to be assured of an NCAA tournament bid, but that’s not the case this time around. Gonzaga, Saint Mary’s and BYU are basically locks for the NCAA Tournament

The Zags have got the best of Saint Mary’s in their first two matchups, winning by 30 on the road and 10 on senior night. Don’t expect much of a difference in this matchup. Saint Mary’s bigs will not be able to handle Filip Petrusev and Killian Tillie on the interior. Guard Ryan Woolridge is one of the best perimeter defenders in all of college basketball, and he should keep Ford from exploding again. The Zags are too athletic and physical for a finesse team like Saint Mary’s. After playing two intense games to get to the championship, expect the Gaels to play on tired legs. The Zags win this game and secure the one seed in the West.

The Pick: Gonzaga -9