Boston U. the NCAA Basketball Pick in Patriot League Play

LT Profits Sports Group

Monday, February 9, 2015 2:16 PM GMT

Monday, Feb. 9, 2015 2:16 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 Monday.

 



The Patriot League receives some national TV attention Monday night and the underdogs could home some nice line value when those Boston University Terriers (9-13, 3-8 away) pay a visit to the Lafayette Leopards (14-8, 7-3 home) at the Kirby Sports Center in Easton, PA at 7:00 ET in a game televised nationally on CBS Sports Network.

The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Boston U. as a road underdog for this contest with the current line at +8½ with odds of -115.


Just Missed NCAA Tournament Bid Last Season
Boston U. comes off of a 24-11 season where it won the regular season Patriot League title, but then lost to American University in the championship game of the Patriot League Tournament, allowing the Eagles to get the NCAA Tournament bid while the Terriers settled for the NIT, where they lost to Illinois by just four points 66-62 in the opening round.

BU has already surpassed its loss total for all of last year overall but it improved to 5-6 inside the Patriot with a 62-59 win over Navy in its last game last Wednesday.

Lafayette has also been off since Wednesday when it was the winning NCAA Basketball pick for the third straight game 84-74 in overtime vs. Bucknell. While that makes the Leopards 14-8 overall, they are only one game ahead of Boston in the conference standings at 6-5. They have also already matched their conference win total of last season, when they went 6-12 in the Patriot League and 11-20 overall.


Lafayette Just 1½ Out of First Place
At 6-5, the Leopards are fourth in the conference but only 1½ games behind the perennial Patriot League kingpins from Bucknell as well as Colgate, as those two teams are tied at 8-4. With that said, it does not mean that Lafayette is not a flawed team. Sure, the Leopards are 35th in the country in offensive efficiency and 18th in effective field goal percentage at a nice 55.2 percent, but it is their defense that makes it risky to give this many points with them.

You see, the Leopards are averaging 74.3 points per game overall and a robust 78.1 points here at home, but they are also allowing 72.6 overall and 73.7 here in Easton, with that average home winning margin of +4.4 points only being about half of this point spread.

Lafayette is 324th in the country in defensive efficiency, 288th in effective field goal percentage allowed at a bad 51.9 percent and also 288th in defensive turnover percentage at 17.3 percent vs. a national average of 19.4 percent. That latter stat takes on more significance when you consider that Boston U. does not play at a fast pace ranking 210th in tempo rating, so the Terriers can be as methodical as usual here without much pressure, enabling them to shorten this game somewhat.


Terriers has Offense to Take Advantage
Now, while that aforementioned slow Boston U. pace skews its offensive numbers a bit, which is why the Terriers only rank 166th nationally with their 67.9 points per game, the fact of the matter is that they are actually a very good 57th in effective field goal percentage at 52.1 percent and they are in the top 100 in adjusted offensive efficiency in 87th grading out at 105.8 points per 100 possessions, safely above the national average of 101.5 points.

Thus the Terriers should be able to keep pace regardless of the tempo of this game. Obviously their typical slow pace would be ideal for a team getting 8½ points, but even if the pace is a bit quicker, Boston U. seems equipped to pick up its scoring if necessary given the combination of its good percentage rankings and the shoddy Lafayette defense.

And the Terriers are also a good three-point shooting team ranking 57th nationally at 37.3 percent, and that success should continue vs. a 259th ranked Lafayette three-point defense allowing a 36.1 success rate beyond the arc.


Boston U. Now Has the Revenge
Boston University swept both regular season meetings from Lafayette last season and then beat the Leopards for the third time in the Patriot League Tournament in a 91-54 blowout. Lafayette did not forget that and went into Boston on January 10th of this year and nipped the Terriers 63-62 for some emotional triple revenge. Now, the shoe is on the other foot and the Terriers are looking to return the favor on Lafayette’s court.

Whether or not the Terriers get that outright revenge is debatable, but we do expect a fight to the finish and a close game throughout so take the rather generous points with Boston University at Lafayette on Monday.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Boston University +8½ (-115)

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