Edwards likes Hofstra +8 at Rutgers

Hofstra's Aaron Estrada is the Colonial's two-time Player of the Year. He averaged 20.3 points, 5.4 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 1.4 steals per game for the Pride this season.

Hofstra (24-9 straight up, 17-16 against the spread) has won 18 of its last 21 games and is on a 16-4 ATS run in its last 20 contests. The Pride lost by two on New Year’s Eve, got beat at Towson (where the Tigers have won eight in a row since losing 76-74 in overtime vs. Charleston as three-point home underdogs) and fell in overtime to UNC-Wilmington at the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament.

The OT loss to the Seahawks ended a 12-game winning streak for Speedy Claxton’s squad. Nine of those 12 wins had been by margins of 14 points or more.

Hofstra owns quality wins over three NCAA Tournament-bound opponents. The Pride won 83-77 at Princeton as a two-point road underdog, beat Iona 83-78 as a three-point home underdog and won 85-81 at Charleston as a nine-point road underdog. Claxton’s team also won 85-76 at San Jose St. (#93 at KenPom) as a 2.5-point road ‘chalk.’  

Rutgers had the best metrics of any team left out of the NCAA Tournament field, as the Scarlet Knights are No. 35 at KenPom and No. 40 in the NET Rankings. However, RU lost seven of its last 10 games, going 3-6-1 ATS during this stretch.

Steve Pikiell’s team has struggled mightily to get buckets in nine of its last 11 games. Other than scoring 75 points in a loss at Minnesota and 72 in a loss at Nebraska, RU’s scoring outputs in its nine other recent games have been 65, 62, 53, 59, 45, 58, 60, 60 and 61 points.

Hofstra plays excellent defense, ranking No. 21 nationally in field-goal percentage defense (40.2%), No. 29 at defending the 3-point line (30.7%) and No. 58 in scoring ‘D’ (65.6 PPG). The Pride are sound offensively, too, ranking No. 26 in the country in FG percentage (48.0%) and No. 76 in 3-point accuracy (36.1%).

On the flip side, Rutgers ranks No. 274 nationally in scoring (68.2 PPG), No. 276 in FG percentage (43.0%), No. 307 in 3-point accuracy (31.9%) and No. 241 in FT percentage (70.1%).

Hofstra has the two-time Colonial Player of the Year in Aaron Estrada, a transfer from Oregon who has thrived in Claxton’s program. Estrada averaged 20.3 points, 5.4 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 1.4 steals per game this year. He buried 48.4 percent of his FGAs, 36.4 percent of his treys and 80.7 percent of his FTAs.

The Pick: Hofstra +8 (South Point and Westgate SuperBook) at Rutgers.

Bonus Play: Rutgers’ Team Total ‘Under’ 71.5 points (-104 price at FanDuel).

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