Drake the Surprising NCAA Basketball Pick vs. Indiana St.

LT Profits Sports Group

Saturday, January 17, 2015 4:17 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 Saturday.

 

A team with a winless record inside the Missouri Valley Conference actually has a chance for a cover or even an upset at home Saturday over a team that is undefeated in the conference when the Indiana State Sycamores (9-8, 3-2 away) pay a visit to those Drake Bulldogs (3-14, 3-4 home) at the Knapp Center in Des Moines, IA at 3:05 ET with live video available at godrakebulldogs.com.

The point spread at Bet365 has Drake as a home underdog for this contest with the current line at +3½ with odds of -110.


5-0 Conference Record vs. 0-5 Conference Record
This may seem like a mismatch if just looking at the records of these two teams. After all, Indiana State is a perfect 5-0 in Missouri Valley play to move to one game over .500 after going just 4-8 in non-conference play. Most recently the Sycamores won in overtime 71-70 at home over Illinois State on Wednesday.

On the flip side, Drake has been the losing NCAA Basketball pick in all five of its conference games, although the Bulldogs were competitive on the road in their latest game at Loyola-Chicago falling by just a 50-47 count. The winless MVC mark drop Drake to a dismal 3-14 overall, although all three wins have come here at home.

Keep in mind however that very few conferences have traditionally had as strong a home court advantage as the Missouri Valley.


Indiana State Trustworthy as Road Favorite?
Indiana State comes off of a 23-11 season that included a 12-6 conference mark before having its season end with a loss to conference kingpin Wichita State in the Missouri Valley Tournament. However, despite the 5-0 start in conference to this season, this Sycamores’ team appears to have many more issues offensively that last year and it is rather fortunate to have that unblemished MVC mark thus far.

After all, that close call vs. Illinois State at home Wednesday was not the first for Indiana State as four of its five conference wins have been by one, two, three and four points respectively, with only a 15-point win over Missouri State being a handy victory! And the reason that the Sycamores have not been winning by bigger margins and have in fact been fortunate to be winning at all has been the offense.

Indiana State is 238th in the country on offensive efficiency and 192nd in effective filed goal percentage at 48.4 percent, but that has only been part of the problem. The Sycamores are not getting the second chances necessary to make up for the low shooting percentage, ranking 328th in offensive rebounding percentage at 25.1 percent vs. a national average of 31.2 percent, and on top of all that they have been loose with the ball ranking 256th on offensive turnover percentage.

None of this exudes any confidence in trusting this squad giving points on the road.


Drake Slows the Pace
Now you cannot sugarcoat the fact that Drake is not a good basketball team, as averaging just 57.8 points per game while allowing 69.1 will get you to a 3-14 record. However one thing that the Bulldogs do well is slow the pace to limit possessions, ranking 338th out of 351 Division I teams in adjusted tempo rating at 60.8 possessions per game.

And they nearly stole a win on the road vs. a team ranked considerably higher than Indiana State on Wednesday, slowing the game to a crawl at 105th ranked Loyola-Chicago and losing by just three points on an extremely plodding 54-possession game. They now return home to face a Sycamores’ team ranked 195th on Pomeroy, further proof that the 5-0 conference mark is misleading.


Bad Track Record vs. Losing Teams
Finally, for whatever reason, Indiana State has been at its worst recently vs. lesser teams, going a mere 7-20 ATS in its last 27 games vs. teams with losing records.

Look for yet another slow paced Drake game here that should allow the Bulldogs to hang in, and they could easily pull an upset if Indiana State continues to struggle offensively on Saturday.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Drake +3½ (-110)