American Eagles (4-10) vs Bucknell Bison (3-14)

Sunday, January 16, 2022 at 2:00 pm

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American returns four starters and a plethora of talented guards to run head coach Mike Brennan's Princeton-style offense. American's backcourt is led by graduate student Stacy Beckton, Jr., who is averaging a team-high 13.3 points per game. Beckton, a two-time Patriot League All-Defensive team selection, had the league's fourth-best three-point shooting percentage last season (45.2%) and gives Brennan a proven leader on the floor. Returning freshman Colin Smalls has done an excellent job taking over at the point following the departure of Jamir Harris to Seton Hall. Smalls is one of four players averaging at least 9.6 points per game and leads the team in assists per game (2.9). American's frontcourt is anchored by returning freshman Johnny O'Neil, who was last year's Patriot League Rookie of the Year and finished with the third-most blocks in the conference. O'Neil is third on the team in scoring at 9.8 points per game and leads the Eagles in rebounding (5.3 RPG). Returning freshman Matt Rogers is averaging 9.9 points (63.7% FG%) and 4.5 rebounds per game. Junior forward Connor Nelson provides additional depth in the frontcourt, contributing 7.0 points and 3.6 rebounds across 25.2 minutes per game. My math model favors American by 2.19 points in this game and the Eagles won and covered both meetings last season. Bucknell is a money-burning 3-7 ATS in its last ten games overall, 2-6 ATS in its last eight road affairs and 2-6 ATS in its previous eight clashes with .399 or worse opposition. More importantly, the Bison are 0-11 straight-up away from home this season where they are allowing 82.5 points per game on 47.2% shooting from the field. American is shooting 47.3% from the field and 40.4% from beyond the arc at home this season and should have success exploiting a Bucknell defense that has been 9.2 points per game worse than average in 2021-22. Finally, Bucknell is on the road for the eighth time in its past eleven games, whereas the Eagles are home for their third straight contest. Take American and invest with confidence.

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Jeff’s Pick American Eagles: +0 -110

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