Idaho State may be just 4-13, but the Bengals are 2-3 in Big Sky Conference play, leaving them tied with Portland State. The Vikings have one of the least efficient defenses in the land so take the points Monday.
In a game with what looks like a skewed line in the Big Sky Conference Monday night, the Idaho State Bengals (4-13 overall, 2-8 away) pay a visit to the Portland State Vikings (8-9 overall, 5-1 home) from the Stott Center in Portland, OR at 10:05 ET.
Now we get that Idaho State was just 2-10 in non-conference play and that its only notable performance early in the season was losing to Oklahoma out of the Big 12 by only four points. However, the Bengals are a more respectable 2-3 inside the Big Sky, which actually leaves them tied in the conference standings with tonight’s opponents from Portland State.
The Vikings went 6-6 out of conference, but before getting excited, consider that they beat two non-rated teams and that the highest ranked team on the Pomeroy Ratings that they defeated was 247th ranked Louisiana Tech. Yes, Portland State can score points, but its defense ranks 311th in points allowed at 74.4 points per game, which allows opposing teams to hang around
That alone makes Portland State a dicey proposition giving double-digits points, so we will snatch up these big points with the Bengals on the NCAA Basketball odds Monday night.
The point spread at Bookmaker Sportsbook has Idaho State as a big +10 underdog in this contest at current odds of -110.
Portland State does rank a surprising 84th in the country in offensive efficiency, and it ranks an amazing 16th in two-point percentage at a blistering 54.2 percent. Then again, the Vikings’ schedule must be taken into account and they have faced a schedule that is ranked 219th in SOS according to Pomeroy. Even with that easy slate, the Vikings have not done a good job of protecting the ball, ranking only 213th in turnover percentage at a high 21.4 percent.
But what really sticks out is just how bad the Portland State defense has been vs. a weak schedule. There are currently 345 teams in NCAA Basketball Division I and the Vikings rank 325th in adjusted defensive efficiency at 1.14 points per possession, 289th in two-point defense at 51.6 percent and 247th in three-point defense at 36.3 percent.
Idaho State is playing its third straight road game, which could be a minor reason why this line is a tad inflated. However, after losing to Wyoming in the first game of this trip, the Bengals traveled to Sacramento State on Saturday night and pulled off a 68-67 upset win as five-point underdogs. Of the Bengals’ four wins this year, Saturday’s victory was their second road conference win, suggesting that the talent level in this conference does not vary much.
As case in point, these teams split their two meetings last season, and it was the road underdog that won outright on each occasion. Furthermore, while Idaho State may not be a good team, one thing that it does well is force turnovers, ranking a respectable 62nd in the country in defensive turnover percentage at 23.2 percent. The Bengals should be able to force a lot of turnovers here vs. a Portland State offense which, as mentioned, has been loose with the basketball.
Add this all up and we will take Idaho State getting this many points.
NCAA Basketball Pick: Idaho State +10 (-110)