Georgia Southern is the NCAA Basketball Pick Saturday

LT Profits Sports Group

Saturday, January 10, 2015 2:40 PM GMT

Saturday, Jan. 10, 2015 2:40 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.

 

The road favorites could be undervalued Saturday in Sun Belt Conference action when those Georgia Southern Eagles (9-3, 3-3 away) pay a visit to the South Alabama Jaguars (4-10, 3-3 home) at the Mitchell Center in Mobile, AL at 5:05 ET with live audio available at gseagles.com.

The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Georgia Southern as a moderate road favorite for this contest with the current line at -3½ with odds of -116.


One of Best vs. Very Worst in Sun Belt?
Georgia Southern was one of the Sun Belt favorites prior to the season along with defending conference champion Georgia State and LA Lafayette, and the Eagles have lived up to the billing for the most part at 9-3 overall and 2-1 in conference. Granted they were upset at UT Arlington 62-61 in the Sun Belt opener, but they have bounced back with two straight wins with the most recent coming on the road 73-61 at Arkansas State on Thursday.

South Alabama is 4-10, although they are on a small streak right now as after going 2-8 in non-conference play with both wins coming in non-lined games vs. a couple of sub-division schools in Carroll MT and Spring Hill and then starting 0-2 in Sun Belt play, the Jaguars have rather surprisingly been the winning NCAA Basketball picks the last two games in conference. Still, they are easily the lowest ranked Sun Belt team on the Pomeroy Ratings at 303rd overall.

Comparatively, Georgia Southern is ranked 145th on Pomeroy.


Winning with Defense
Georgia Southern has been winning with defense ranking a respectable 32nd in the country in points against at just 58.9 per game and 34th in field goal percentage allowed at 38.2 percent. There is no reason why that stiff defense should not continue here despite South Alabama putting up 104 points in regulation time last game!

You see, the Eagles are 85th in the country in defensive efficiency overall while allowing an effective field goal percentage of 47.8 percent, and looking at Sun Belt games only the Eagles are second in the conference in efficiency while allowing a tiny 42.3 percent effective field goal percentage in those games.

Granted the offense is a legitimate concern but the Eagles can make up for that by dominating the boards on both ends, as they are a good 56th in the country in offensive rebounding percentage at 35.5 percent vs. a national average of 31.2 percent while South Alabama is 205th in defensive rebounding percentage. The same is also true at the other end with the Jaguars 159th in offensive rebounding percentage and the Eagles 62nd on the defensive glass.


Don’t Expect 100 Points Again
Now as mentioned the Jaguars did not have a win over a Division I school this season until two games ago, when they upset Arkansas-Little Rock on the road. They then followed the up with another win with an NBA-like score of 104-95 over Appalachian State at home!

Before getting too excited, consider that South Alabama was actually the favorite in that game vs. perhaps the second worst team in the conference and that all of those points came vs. a terrible Appalachian defense ranked 299th in efficiency. South Alabama shot an outrageous 61.2 percent in that contest going 30-for-49 from the field including going 10-for-17, 59.8 percent from three-point land, which are two feats the Jags may not duplicate the rest of the year!

To give you an idea of just how anomalous that game was, South Alabama is 251st in the country in offensive efficiency, 240th in effective field goal percentage at 46.9 percent and 223rd in three-point shooting at 32.1 percent. When you combine the slim likelihood of USA repeating that shooting effort with now facing perhaps the best defense in the Sun Belt, we feel the Jaguars will struggle immensely to score this time around.


Bad Recent History vs. Winning Teams
South Alabama has yet to beat a winning team this season and it is a poor 15-36-2 ATS in its last 53 games vs. teams with a winning records the last few seasons. That is a bad omen with Georgia Southern being the stiffest conference test the Jaguars are facing so far, and we are not so sure their two conference wins are that meaningful to begin with given the competition.

In a nutshell Georgia Southern is the far superior team here, South Alabama comes off of a once-in-a-lifetime shooting effort vs. a poor defense and the Jaguars are now stepping up to face a stiff defense. We do not think that being home will help USA here as we expect the Eagles to come away with a handy road victory on Saturday.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Georgia Southern -3½ (-116)

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