East Tennessee State is the NCAA Basketball Pick

LT Profits Sports Group

Saturday, January 24, 2015 2:49 PM UTC

Saturday, Jan. 24, 2015 2:49 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.


We believe we have found good underdog value in the Southern Conference Saturday night when those East Tennessee State Buccaneers (12-6, 5-4 away) pay a visit to the Wofford Terriers (15-5, 9-0 home) at Benjamin Johnson Arena in Spartanburg, SC at 7:00 ET.

The point spread at Bet365 has East Tennessee State as a road underdog for this contest with the current line at +7 with odds of -110.

Wofford Tied for Southern Lead
In addition to a fine 15-5 overall mark, home standing Wofford enters this contest tied with Chattanooga atop the Southern Conference standings at 6-1. The Terriers did not really have a bad loss while going 9-4 in non-conference play, with the four defeats coming to the likes of Duke, West Virginia, Stanford and William & Mary, but the conference loss was a shocking one however vs. The Citadel, which is ranked 316th overall on the Pomeroy Ratings.

East Tennessee State is not out of the running for the conference title either with a 6-3 Southern mark, and its three non-conference losses also came vs. good competition as the losing NCAA Basketball picks vs. VCU, Tennessee and Valparaiso. The Buccaneers come off of a handy 70-59 win over The Citadel on Thursday, the same Citadel squad that upset Wofford earlier.

Free Throws Could Make the Difference
These teams are actually very close in most areas offensively except free throw shooting, and those points from the charity stripe could very well determine the outcome of this contest, or at the very least propel East Tennessee State to an underdog cover against the spread.

The Buccaneers are 84th in the country in offensive efficiency, which is respectable for a Southern Conference school, mainly due to ranking 11th in the entire nation in three-point shooting at 40.3 percent! That three-point barrage also has ETSU ranked 53rd in effective field goal percentage at 52.3 percent.

As mentioned though, free throw shooting can be the most important part of the Buccaneers’ arsenal tonight. That is not because they have a tremendous free throw percentage, although it is certainly not bad at 72.5 percent to rank 64th in the land, but rather because they figure to have a big advantage in free throw attempts in this game.

That is because ETSU is 49th in the country in FTA/FGA ratio at 43.3 percent vs. a national average of 37.4 percent, and Wofford has been very foul prone this season ranking 275th in FTA/FGA ratio allowed at a generous 42.9 percent!

Wofford a Perimeter Team
Wofford is primarily a perimeter shooting team, and do not expect the Terriers to change that style any time soon after winning the Southern Conference last season to advance to the NCAA Tournament where they lost almost covered ATS vs. Michigan in a 57-40 loss as 15-point underdogs.

And there is no reason to change their style with the Terriers ranked 29th in three-point shooting right now at 39.0 percent, helping offset a mediocre 47.8 percent two-point field goal percentage. The problem in this game however is that this is one of the few times where Wofford does not have a decided three-point advantage over a Southern Conference opponent, so the weaker aspects of its offense could become more magnified.

And that includes foul shooting as besides not driving to the basket enough to draw fouls, as evidenced by ranking 289th in FTA/FGA ratio at just 32.1 percent, the Terriers do not shoot well from the line when they do get there at just 67.2 percent, 227th in the nation.

Perfect 8-0 at Home, But…
Granted Wofford is 8-0 at home this season, but only five of those games have been lined games with the other three wins being over sub-division teams, and East Tennessee State is probably its biggest home challenge to date.

Because of that step up in competition for Wofford and the expected free throw advantage East Tennessee State figures to enjoy, we recommend taking these points with the Buccaneers on the road on Saturday.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: East Tennessee State +7 (-110)

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