Denver Pioneers are the NCAA Basketball Pick Saturday

LT Profits Sports Group

Saturday, February 14, 2015 3:18 PM UTC

Saturday, Feb. 14, 2015 3:18 PM UTC

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 Saturday.


The home team has the potential to run up the score Saturday evening while playing in high altitude when the IUPUI Jaguars (8-17, 4-10 away) pay a visit to those Denver Pioneers (10-14, 9-5 home) at Magness Arena in Denver, CO at 6:00 ET with live streaming available at

The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Denver as a decided home favorite for this contest with the current line at -8 with odds of -109.

Denver Different Team at Home
The Summit League is the conference that sent North Dakota State to the NCAA Tournament last season, which promptly upset Oklahoma in the second round before losing to San Diego State. And the Bison top the league again this season at 10-2 in conference while the two combatants in this game are only tied for sixth at 4-7.

Still, Denver is a different team here at home where it uses the high altitude to its advantage. The Pioneers may be just 10-14 overall but they are 9-5 at Magness Arena despite being the losing NCAA Basketball pick here Thursday, but that was certainly a good effort taking those Summit kingpins from North Dakota State to overtime before falling 73-69.

The Jaguars on the other hand are trending in the wrong direction as that have lost four straight games both straight up at ATS, no longer being a favorite of wiseguys like they were when they were sitting at 12-7 ATS.

One of Best Shooting Teams in Country
There is certainly nothing wrong with the Denver offense, especially when playing here at home. The Pioneers are ranked ninth in the entire country in shooting percentage at 49.1 percent and they are an even better fourth in effective filed goal percentage at 57.4 percent, thanks to ranking sixth in two-point shooting at 55.8 percent and 18th in three-point shooting at 39.8 percent.

Furthermore Denver shoots a blazing 53.2 percent overall here at home including 42.0 percent from beyond the three-point arc. Granted the Pioneers are one of the most methodical teams in the nation ranking 349th out of 351 Division I teams in adjusted tempo rating, but they almost always work to find the best possible shots.

The reason that Denver does not have a better record is because of a weak defense that is ranked 318th in defensive efficiency and 325th in effective field goal percentage allowed. However, this is one game where the Pioneers have a good chance to substantially outscore their opponent because the Jaguars seem too inept offensively to take advantage of the Denver defense.

How will IUPUI Keep Pace?
IUPUI is one of the original members of the Summit League, which began play in the 2007-08 season, but after going 15-3 inside the league in that inaugural season it has been mostly downhill since then with the Jaguars bottoming out at 1-13 inside the Summit and 6-26 overall last season. At least they have already topped that overall win total this year at 8-17 and they have quadrupled their conference wins, although their 4-3 Summit start is now just a memory.

IUPUI has come crashing down to earth those last four games and this is a team that has graded out poorly on both ends of the court all along, currently ranking 325th in offensive efficiency and 268th in effective field goal percentage at just 46.3 percent. Granted the Jaguars are a respectable 138th in defensive efficiency but they are 285th in effective field goal percentage allowed at 51.8 percent.

That defensive efficiency gets a boost from IUPUI being such a good defensive rebounding team, but that becomes almost moot here with Denver hitting such a high percentage of its shots and the Jaguars’ defense allowing such a high percentage.

Thus the Jaguars may have to rely on their offense to stay close here, and as bad as Denver’s defense has been, we still do not like those prospects, especially with IUPUI shooting just 41.4 percent and averaging 58.6 points on the road.

Burning Money in Conference
Now the Jaguars made there supporters some coin during the non-conference portion of their schedule, but they cooled off considerably ATS once Summit League play began and going back further IUPUI is only 11-27 ATS in its last 38 conference games.

We expect more of the same here with Denver basically getting whatever it wants offensively and IUPUI being unable to keep up in the altitude on Saturday.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Denver -8 (-109)

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