Florida State ATS is the NCAA Basketball Pick at Clemson

LT Profits Sports Group

Monday, January 19, 2015 2:17 PM UTC

Monday, Jan. 19, 2015 2:17 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 Monday.


There is a potential barnburner that could go down to the final possession in the ACC Monday night when the Florida State Seminoles (9-9, 0-4 away) pay a visit to the Clemson Tigers (10-7, 7-3 home) at Littlejohn Coliseum in Clemson, SC at 9:00 ET in a game televised nationally on ESPNU.

The point spread at Bet365 has Florida State as a road underdog for this contest with the current line at +5 with odds of -110.

Wrong Side of NCAA Bubble Last Season
Florida State comes off of a 22-14 season last year, but the Seminoles landed on the wrong side of the NCAA Tournament bubble after going only 9-9 in ACC play and then getting knocked out by Virginia in the ACC Tournament, settling for an NIT bid where they advanced to the Final Four in New York before losing to the subsequent NIT Champions from Minnesota.

Similarly, Clemson was also snubbed by the NCAA Tournament in a 23-13 campaign last season, it also settled for an NIT bid and it also advanced to the Final Four of that tournament in New York. Also like the Seminoles, the Tigers were the losing NCAA Basketball picks that round on the opposite side of the bracket to the other NIT finalists from SMU.

Both teams have sub-.500 records inside the ACC so far this season though with Florida State at just 1-4 and Clemson at 2-3, although the Tigers do come off of a nice win over Syracuse 66-53 here at Littlejohn on Saturday.

Not Enough Offense to Give This Many Points?
Yes beating the Orange Saturday was a nice win, but besides a possible letdown, are the Tigers good enough to duplicate that performance? We would be very leery of giving more than a couple of points with a team that shoots the ball as poorly as the Tigers do, as they are averaging just 61.9 points on a dreadful 39.6 percent shooting vs. Division I teams this season.

And remember that before the start of ACC play, Clemson faced a schedule ranked just 293rd in the country in non-conference SOS according to the Pomeroy Ratings, so it was not as if the Tigers struggled vs. elite defenses out of conference. Clemson did beat two teams ranked in the Pomeroy Top 60, but they only beat 59th ranked LSU 64-61 and 41st ranked Arkansas 68-65 in overtime, so it is not as if they lit up the scoreboard in those wins.

Clemson is just 238th in the country in effective field goal percentage at 47.2 percent, and they have been weak from all points of the floor making only 48.6 percent of their two-point attempts and a poor 29.7 percent of their three-pointers.

Usually Play Low Scoring Games vs. Each Other
These teams played a couple of snoozers last season with Florida State getting the road win here in Clemson 56-41 and the Tigers returning the favor 53-49 down in Tallahassee, and those types of game give inherent value to the underdogs. This game does not figure to be much different in our opinion, and if there is one team that might score more points than expected, we think that would actually be Florida State.

That is because the Seminoles are at least competent offensively with an effective field goal percentage of an even 50.0 percent, and they have actually be quite good closer to the basket ranking 27th in the country in two-point shooting at 53.5 percent. Granted the Noles are worse than the Tigers from beyond the arc at 26.9 percent, but look for them to drive to the basket here early and often.

And one nice side effect of that is the Seminoles have been excellent at drawing fouls ranking an outstanding 10th in the country on FTA/FGA ratio at 49.1 percent, blowing away the national average of 37.4 percent. Florida State would have better than a 9-9 record overall if it actually did a better job of making those free throws, as the Noles are 277th in foul shooting at 65.6 percent.

Still, just the expected sheer volume of opportunities to score points with the clock stopped is not a bad thing when getting points like this.

Underdogs Have Prospered
Finally, with the visiting teams sweeping both meetings straight up as underdogs last season, the underdogs are now 4-1 ATS in the last five head-to-head encounters, which makes sense considering these teams are usually involved in tight, low-scoring affairs. In fact, the one time that the favorite covered in this span, FSU still won by only four points as a two-point favorite!

This point spread is a touch higher than those four points and we look for yet another typically tight game between these teams, so take the points with Florida State on the road at Clemson on Monday.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Florida State +5 (-110)

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