Drake Bulldogs ATS at Bradley is the NCAA Basketball Pick

LT Profits Sports Group

Wednesday, January 28, 2015 3:04 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 Wednesday.

 

There may actually be some value Wednesday night in a matchup of two bottom-feeders in the Missouri Valley Conference when those underdog Drake Bulldogs (4-16, 0-7 away) pay a visit to the Bradley Braves (7-14, 7-4 home) at Carver Arena in Peoria, IL at 8:00 ET in a game available on ESPN Full Court and ESPN3.

The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Drake as a decided road underdog for this contest with the current line at +8 with odds of -112.


Bottom Two Teams in Missouri Valley
This is a matchup of literally the bottom two teams in the Missouri Valley Conference standings, with 4-16 Drake dead last out of 10 teams with a 1-7 conference mark and 7-14 Bradley in a three-way tie for seventh but technically ninth after tiebreakers at 2-6. Bradley had been the losing NCAA Basketball pick in five straight games before finally notching its second conference win, and just barely 61-59 over Missouri State here at home on Saturday.

Drake was off to an 0-5 start inside the MVC before beating Indiana State 84-78 back home in Des Moines, but unfortunately the Bulldogs were unable to get any momentum from that victory as they have since lost two straight, most recently getting crushed 74-40 Sunday, although that was at the hands of one of the better teams in the entire country in Wichita State on the road.


Slow Pace Makes Spread Look Huge
Now we are by no means claiming that Drake is some kind of powerhouse as they are averaging just 58.2 points per game overall while allowing 69.5 after all. However, Bradley is not exactly a juggernaut either and frankly we do not feel that the Braves should be favored by this many points over anyone, especially since Drake’s win over an Indiana State team that is 6-3 in the conference was probably the best win overall for either of these teams.

Another reason why this spread seems huge as that this should be a very slow-paced game, making every point even more of a premium. Drake is 336th in the country at adjusted tempo rating at 60.5 possessions per game, and slowing the pace made them competitive in the three games before running into Wichita State, a period that included the one win over the Sycamores and close competitive losses to Loyola-Chicago and Illinois State.


Free Throws Should Favor Drake
That slow pace suits Bradley just fine also as the Braves are 286th in the country with their adjusted tempo of 63.1 possessions per game. And even with that slow pace, Bradley is only 302nd in offensive efficiency and 329th in effective field goal percentage at just 43.6 percent, which is why it is not really much better than Drake offensively averaging 58.7 points per game.

In fact the Braves have already scored less than 50 points seven times this season, and that stat alone should make anyone think twice about giving eight points with this team.

On top of that, even though Drake is on the road the Bulldogs figure to have the advantage at the foul line here, and that is never a bad thing for a decided underdog. And the reason for that is not only because Drake is 18th in the country in free throw shooting at 74.7 percent, but also because they figure to have a lot more attempts.

You see, Drake is just above average in FTA/FGA ratio at 37.9 percent vs. a national average of 37.4 percent, but Bradley commits more fouls than most teams in the country and thus ranks 341st out of 351 Division I teams in FTA/FGA ratio allowed at an alarming 53.1 percent.


Drake Won Three of Last Four Meetings
Finally Drake is 3-1 straight up in the last four head-to-head meetings and none of those games had a posted point spread this big.

Add this all up and the Bulldogs seem like overlays at this number so take the points with Drake at Bradley on Wednesday.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Drake +8 (-112)