Boise State to Ride Past UNLV is the NCAA Basketball Pick

LT Profits Sports Group

Tuesday, January 13, 2015 7:09 PM GMT

Each day LT Profits Sports seeks an overlay side that has a better chance of cashing than its spread, offering long term value. Here is their Side Value Play for Tuesday.

 

The home team appears to have the edge in Mountain West Conference action Tuesday night when the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels (10-6, 0-3 away) pay a visit to those Boise State Broncos (10-6, 5-1 home) at Taco Bell Arena in Boise, ID at 11:00 ET in a game televised nationally on ESPNU.

The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Boise State as a home favorite for this contest with the current line at -5½ with odds of -106.


Neither Team Has Done Much in Conference
UNLV made national headlines during non-conference play when it upset the then third ranked Arizona Wildcats, but the Runnin’ Rebels have not had the same success inside the Mountain West as they opened up with two conference losses to Wyoming on the road and to Nevada at home before finally breaking into the win column on Saturday, but that was vs. a San Jose State team ranked 347th out of 351 Division I teams on the Pomeroy Ratings.

Even at 1-2, the Rebels are still one game ahead of Boise State in the conference as the Broncos have yet to be winning NCAA Basketball picks in their three Mountain West games. In fact Boise State has now lost four straight games overall after ending non-conference play with a loss to Loyola-Chicago, and among the three conference losses was the Broncos’ first home loss of the season to Utah State following a 5-0 start here at Taco Bell.


Trying to Avoid 0-4 Conference Hole
This appears to be a much bigger game for Boise State as it does not want to get buried in an early 0-4 hole, and the Broncos do have the talent to respond to this challenge despite the conference record, especially at home. The Broncos are experienced with three senior starters and another returning starter in junior Mikey Thompson.

That experience has led to a very efficient and relatively mistake-free offense, as the Broncos are 54th in the country in effective field goal percentage and an excellent 19th in offensive turnover percentage at just 16.1 percent vs. a national average of 19.7 percent. Boise State should be able to run its offense fairly unencumbered here as UNLV applies virtually no pressure defensively, ranking 329th in defensive turnover percentage at 16.0 percent.


Not Many Second Chances
Perhaps the upset of Arizona led to some unrealistic conference expectations for UNLV, as it appears the 1-2 Mountain West mark is closer to the Runnin’ Rebels true ability this season than the shocking and anomalous win over the Wildcats was. After all, the Rebels are on the opposite side of the spectrum that Boise State is on in regards to experience, with UNLV currently starting three freshmen and a sophomore!

That youth has led to a poor 21.7 offensive turnover rate in the three Mountain West games, so Boise should win the turnover battle here also. And when the Rebels are not turning the ball over, they have only a 48.4 percent effective field goal percentage for the season without getting many second opportunities, ranking 304th in offensive rebounding percentage at 26.5 percent vs. a national average of 31.3 percent.

And second chances on offense should be even scarcer for UNLV in this game because Boise State is 24th in defensive rebounding percentage, allowing opponents to collect their own misses just 26.2 percent of the time.


Free Throw Edge to Boise State
Finally, the Broncos also figure to have the edge on the foul line this game. And that is not only because UNLV is 296th in the country in free throw shooting at just 64.6 percent but also because the Rebels do not give themselves enough opportunities from the charity stripe, also ranking just 263rd in FTA/FGA ratio.

When you add up the Broncos probably being better than their record, being at home and being the team more likely to be in desperation mode, Boise State gets our call against the spread as moderate home favorites over UNLV on Tuesday.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Boise State -5½ (-106)