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 Friday.
The preseason favorites to win the Sun Belt Conference due to great guard play can be expected to bounce back from a bad outing on the road vs. a ranked opponent when it takes the court again Friday night as those Georgia State Panthers (1-1, 0-1 away) pay a visit to the Colorado State Rams (1-0, 1-0 home) at Moby Arena in Fort Collins, CO at 9:00 ET in a game available on the Mountain West Network.
The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Georgia State as a road underdog for this contest with the current line at +6½ with odds of -110.
Defending Sun Belt Champs Could be Better
Georgia State is the defending Sun Belt Conference regular season champion after going a stellar 17-1 in league play last season, but the Panthers were upset 82-81 in overtime by UL Lafayette in the Sun Belt Tournament Championship Game and were forced to settle for an NIT bid, where they lost at Clemson just two nights after the disappointment vs. ULL.
The good news is Georgia State returns its excellent backcourt of defending Sun Belt Player of the Year R.J. Hunter and also scoring guard Ryan Harrow, and they added great depth on the back end with the transfer of Kevin Ware from Louisville!
Colorado State meanwhile skipped to 16-16 last season and did not even make any post-season tournament after reaching the NCAA Tournament in a 26-win campaign in Coach Larry Eustachy’s first year at the school two years ago, and even more disappointing was the Rams being the winning NCAA Basketball picks just seven times in 18 Mountain West games last year. They lost the versatile Jon Octeus, who averaged 13.4 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists.
Lost at Iowa State
As if Georgia did not already feel good about itself coming into this season, the Panthers opened up the year with a 115-55 demolition of Tennessee-Temple while shooting 62.5 percent overall (40-64), 61.9 percent beyond the three-point arc (13-21), recording 27 assists vs. 10 turnovers and holding TTU to 36.4 percent shooting! However, that was vs. a Division II foe and the Panthers got a reality check in an 81-58 loss at 14th ranked Iowa State on Monday.
It could very well be that the Panthers were a bit overconfident entering that contest though as the transfer Ware did practically nothing scoring four points on 1-of-6 shooting from the floor after a 12-point, five-assist, six-rebound effort in his Panther debut. Georgia State is obviously not as good as it looked vs. a totally outclassed Tennessee-Temple team but it is also not as bad as it looked vs. the Cyclones.
Great guard play will win you a lot of games in college basketball and the Panthers still have a plethora of that, so look for a strong bounce-back outing this evening.
More Turnovers than Usual
One thing that Colorado State did well last season despite the disappointing campaign was not turn the ball over much, as they were an outstanding sixth in the country in turnover percentage at 14.1 percent vs. a national average of 18.3 percent. Well, the Rams have played just one game so far this year where they beat Montana 83-66, but the disconcerting aspect of that victory were the 17 turnovers, which accounted for 23.7 percent of their possessions.
The Rams got away with playing the 6-foot-5 Daniel Bejarano at the point guard spot last year despite it not being his natural position, but the ball-handling was much sloppier in the season opener and a replay of that would make the advantage that Georgia State seems to possess in the backcourt that much bigger.
Underdogs Ranked 10 Spot Higher on Pomeroy
Finally, for whatever it is worth at this infant stage of the season, the underdogs from Georgia State are ranked 80th in the country early on, which is actually 10 spots higher than the 90th ranked favorites from Colorado State. For those of you wondering, the Pomeroy projections have the Rams winning this contest, but by only four points.
That seems reasonable to us although an outright stunner would not surprise us the least bit, so take the seemingly generous points with Georgia State on the road at Fort Collins on Friday.
NCAA Basketball Pick: Georgia State +6½ (-110)