Boston U. is the NCAA Basketball Pick in Patriot League

LT Profits Sports Group

Thursday, March 5, 2015 4:19 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 Thursday.

 

The road underdogs have a legitimate chance to be the team advancing Thursday night in the opening quarterfinal round of the Patriot League Tournament as those fifth seeded Boston U. Terriers (13-16, 5-9 away) pay a visit to the fourth seeded Lafayette Leopards (17-12, 9-5 home) at the Kirby Sports Center in Easton, PA, which is Lafayette’s home floor, at 7:00 ET in a game available on the Patriot League Network.

The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Boston U. as a road underdog for this contest with the current line at +4½ with odds of -106.


Boston U. Just Missed Winning Conference Last Year
Boston University just missed winning this tournament last season after winning the regular season Patriot League title at 15-3 while finishing 24-11 overall, but the Terriers were defeated in the championship game of this tournament by American, allowing the Eagles to get the automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament. The Terriers did not play as well during the regular season this year finishing 13-16 and 9-9 in conference, but this team does not lack talent.

Lafayette actually finished tied with BU on the conference standings at 9-9 while going 17-12 and these teams split their regular season meetings, but the Leopards were awarded the fourth seed by virtue of splitting with top seeded Bucknell while the Terriers were swept by the Bison, thus netting Lafayette this home game. The Leopards ended the season by being the winning NCAA Basketball picks in three of their last four games.


Road Teams Won Both Meetings
That closing 3-1 stretch for Lafayette began right after a three-game losing streak that started with Boston U. coming here to Easton and winning rather easily 74-60 on February 9th, competing a regular season sweep by the road teams in this series. BU had the more impressive win though as Lafayette narrowly escaped from Boston with a 63-62 triumph back in January.

The Terriers do not play at a fast pace, so the fact that they rank 164th in the country in points scored with 68.0 per game is misleading. More importantly, Boston is 44th in the land in effective shooting percentage at 52.9 percent while shooting well from all points of the floor, ranking 66th in three-point shooting at 36.9 percent and 57th in two-point shooting at 51.7 percent.

The Terriers also know how to get to the foul line ranking an excellent 20th in FTA/FGA ratio at 45.6 percent vs. a national average of 37.2 percent, and although they only shoot a disappointing 69.6 percent from the charity stripe, just the volume of their free throw attempts is never a bad thing for an underdog.


Lafayette Can Score but Defense Could be Costly
Now, Lafayette has actually shot the ball better from the field while averaging 73.8 points than Boston U. has, ranking 44th in effective field goal percentage at 52.9 percent, ninth in three-point shooting at 40.3 percent and 40th in two-point shooting at 52.0 percent. The Leopards even shoot 75.9 percent from the foul line, although they do not get there nearly enough ranking 313th in FTA/FGA ratio at just 31.4 percent.

However the Achilles Heel of the Leopards is defense and that was apparent when the Terriers shot 51.8 percent (29-for-56) in their last visit here. Lafayette is 337th out of 351 Division I teams in defensive efficiency and 315th in effective field goal percentage allowed at 53.1 percent.

The Leopards are especially weak on the interior defensively ranking 302nd in two-point defense at 51.5 percent and Boston U. made an incredible 70.4 percent of its two-point shots (19-for-27) in that last meeting!


Terriers are Perfect ATS This Season
Now the Patriot League is not a lined league so these teams are not on the betting board very often. However, on the rare occasions that they were the Terriers went a perfect 4-0 ATS this year while Lafayette was 0-1 ATS, with that spread loss coming in the loss to Boston U.

Look for Boston University to remain perfect ATS during the 2014-15 season here with an outright upset far from impossible as it visits Lafayette in the quarterfinals of the Patriot League Tournament on Thursday.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Boston University +4½ (-106)