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 Monday.
There could be an inflated spread Monday night due to the name recognition of the favorite when the underrated Eastern Washington Eagles (3-1, 0-1 away) pay a visit to those Indiana Hoosiers (4-0, 4-0 home) at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, IN at 7:30 ET in a game televised nationally on ESPNews.
The point spread at Bet365 has Eastern Washington as a double-digit underdog for this contest with the current line at +13 with odds of -110.
Taking Advantage of Home Cooking
The Hoosiers open up their non-conference schedule with eight straight home games and they have taken advantage thus far at the midway point of that home stand going 4-0. Still, three of the wins came vs. teams ranked 279th or worse on the Pomeroy Ratings with two of those opponents ranked well into the 300s, and while the fourth win came vs. SMU, the Hoosiers caught the Mustangs following a cross-country flight after playing at Gonzaga three days earlier.
Eastern Washington opened the season 3-0 with three home wins also vs. soft competition, but then ironically the Eagles validated their record while being the losing NCAA Basketball picks at SMU on Saturday, as they hung with the Mustangs in their building from start to finish in a 77-68 loss, with that nine-point margin covering the 15-point spread.
Young Hoosiers Lost More Talent
Indiana has lost a lot of talent the last few season as first the Hoosiers lost Cody Zeller and Victor Oladipo from the team that won the Big Ten Championship and reached the Sweet 16 two years ago and then lost standouts Will Sheehy (11.4 points, 4.0 rebounds per game) and Noah Vonleh (11.3 points, 9.0 rebounds) from last season’s already disappointing 17-15 team.
But that is not all as Coach Tom Crean also suspended three players prior to the season, two for failed drug tests and one for his role in an automobile accident. Granted the Hoosiers return one of the best offensive players in the Big Ten in junior Yogi Ferrell but he does not have mush support with Indiana currently lacking in depth, looking dangerously weak in the frontcourt and being extremely young without a single senior in the current rotation.
In fact, six of the top eight Indiana leaders in minutes played thus far are either freshman or sophomores with Hanner Mosquera-Perea being the only other junior in that group besides Yogi, and Mosquera-Perea is more of a role player. The Hoosiers have gotten away with that so far but now Eastern Washington will be the second-highest ranked team they will gave faced (151st) and the Eagles did not have a long flight before facing Indiana like SMU did.
And to put this point spread in perspective, consider that Indiana only beat 342nd ranked Lamar by 13 points on Saturday while never leading by more than 14 points in the second half, with the Cardinals even pulling to within seven points, so it was not as if the Hoosiers coasted to that win.
Eagles Can Both Score and Defend
Eastern Washington comes out of the Big Sky Conference, a conference that sent Weber State to the NCAA Tournament last season where the Wildcats gave top-seeded Arizona all it can handle in the second round. And while Weber is the preseason favorite to repeat as Big Sky Champion, these Eagles from Eastern Washington are the consensus second choice.
Sure the Eagles finished just 15-16 last season, but they closed out the year well going 7-4 straight up in their last 11 games with three of the four losses being by five points or less including a season ending four-point loss to that excellent Weber State team. They return their top four scorers from that team, all of whom averaged double-digits, most notably the first team All-Big Sky Tyler Harvey, who led the entire conference with his 21.8 points per game.
Well, the Eagles are averaging a whopping 81.0 points so far while ranking 13th in the country in field goal percentage at 53.9 percent overall. Just as importantly though, the Eastern Washington defense is allowing just 55.8 points per game on 35.0 percent shooting.
Bettor Friendly Eastern Washington
Finally, Eastern Washington has been a nice under-the-radar team for bettors as the Eagles are now 10-2 ATS in their last 12 games going back to last season, including the cover at a tough venue in SMU on Saturday.
Yes Bloomington is probably an even tougher venue, but with Indiana so young this season and Eastern Washington quite talented on both ends of the floor, take the big points with the Eagles on Monday.
NCAA Basketball Pick: Eastern Washington +13 (-110)