East Carolina Looks Like The Wise NCAA Basketball Pick At South Florida

LT Profits Sports Group

Wednesday, March 2, 2016 3:42 PM UTC

Wednesday, Mar. 2, 2016 3:42 PM UTC

Just because a game involves two also-rans, it does not mean there in no value and such is the case in the AAC when East Carolina looks like a valuable underdog vs. South Florida.


In a matchup of a pair of AAC doormats, the road underdogs appear to hold some value Wednesday night when those East Carolina Pirates (11-18, 13-9-2 ATS) turn up as dogs as they pay a visit to the awful South Florida Bulls (7-22, 13-11 ATS) at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa, FL at 9:00 ET in a game televised nationally on ESPNU.

The point spread at 5 Dimes has East Carolina as a small road underdog for this contest with the current line at +2½ on the NCAA Basketball odds board at odds of -105.


Should USF Ever be Favored?
The South Florida Bulls have been winning NCAA Basketball picks just seven times all season sitting at 7-22 overall and they are 4-12 in AAC play after getting destroyed here at home 81-51 by Connecticut in their last game, so to say that the Bulls make tepid favorites would be an understatement. Granted South Florida won its previous two games before the Connecticut loss including an upset of these Pirates, but now being favored presents a different mindset.

East Carolina is actually dead last in the AAC, one game worse than South Florida with a 3-13 conference mark. However, the Pirates have continued to fight hard despite not winning games on the court as they are 4-1 ATS in their last five games including a nice road cover at nationally ranked SMU in a 74-63 loss. In fact, this current streak leaves East Carolina over .500 at 13-11 ATS for the season.


Revenge in Mind for Pirates
As mentioned, the only ATS loss the last five games for the Pirates came when they were badly upset at home 69-52 by South Florida on February 16th, so they should be motivated by revenge as they have demonstrated in their other recent games that they are a better team than they showed that night and may have just taken the Bulls lightly. That may not have been lost on potential sharp bettors, as East Carolina was quickly bet down from an opener of +3½ here.

This is not to say that the Pirates are juggernauts or anything like that, but their winning ATS record probably suggests that they have been underrated and are most likely better than the 3-13 conference mark. At the very least, the 207th overall ranking on the Pomeroy Ratings for East Carolina is 20 spots higher than 227th ranked South Florida, and an earlier road win at Memphis in conference by the Pirates could be the best win all year for either of these teams.


One of Worst Shooting Teams in Country
Besides, can you really trust a favored Bulls’ team that is literally one of the very worst shooting teams in the entire country as a favorite over anyone? South Florida is 285th nationally in offensive efficiency and 317th in effective field goal percentage at 45.6 percent, a percentage hampered by ranking 344th out of 351 NCAA Basketball Division I teams in three-point shooting at a dismal 28.3 percent.

South Florida is a young team led by freshman Jahmal McMurray, and while that may bode well for the Bulls for the next couple of years, the youth has led to a lot of sloppy play this year as besides the poor shooting the Bulls are also 341st in the country in offensive turnover percentage at 22.1 percent vs. a national average of 18.2 percent.

So, when you combine poor shooting and sloppy ball-handling, the end result for South Florida has been only 63.4 points per game to rank 335th in the country in scoring. So we must ask again, could USF be trusted as a favorite over anybody?


What Home Court Advantage?
Finally, South Florida has not enjoyed much of a home court advantage in recent years in Tampa with so many other things to do in the area, as the Bulls are just 16-35-1 ATS in their last 52 home games. That includes South Florida going 6-17 ATS in their last 23 home games vs. teams with losing road records while East Carolina is 5-0 ATS in its last five road games and 13-6-1 ATS in its last 20 games vs. teams with a winning percentage below .400.

All in all, East Carolina has continued to play hard without getting many wins inside the AAC, and the Pirates now finally get a chance to emerge triumphant vs. a South Florida team that cannot be trusted as a favorite in Tampa on Wednesday.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: East Carolina +2½ 
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

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