Illinois-Chicago to Cover ATS is the NCAA Basketball Pick

LT Profits Sports Group

Tuesday, January 20, 2015 3:16 PM UTC

Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015 3:16 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 Tuesday.


The favorite may be getting too much respect from the oddsmakers in Horizon League action Tuesday night when the potentially undervalued Illinois-Chicago Flames (5-14, 0-7 away) pay a visit to those Green Bay Phoenix (15-4, 8-0 home) at the Resch Center in Green Bay, WI at 8:00 ET in a game available on MASN.

The point spread at Bet365 has Illinois-Chicago as a huge road underdog for this contest with the current line at +17 with odds of -110.

Undefeated at Home vs. Winless on Road
This may seem like a blowout on the surface, but as in many times when it come to betting, looks can be deceiving!

Green Bay is 15-4 overall and 4-1 inside the Horizon League after getting by Detroit 70-64 on the road on Saturday, just barely covering the spread as a five-point favorite. Furthermore the Phoenix are a perfect 8-0 here at the Resch Center this year with two of those wins coming inside the Horizon.

Conversely, Illinois-Chicago has been the losing NCAA Basketball pick on seven of its last nine games with one of the two wins coming vs. a subdivision school called Judson College, dropping the Flames to 5-14 overall and 0-7 on the road. UIC did get off on the right foot inside the conference beating Youngstown State 77-71 at home, but it has since lost three straight Horizon games.

4-1 ATS Run for UIC
And yet, despite what we just said, we simply feel that this is too many points for Green Bay to be giving in this spot. After all, while Chicago has not had much success on the court, it has been a favorite of the betting population lately going 4-1 ATS in the last five games, including a narrow 69-68 loss to Detroit at home when it last played last Wednesday.

What the Flames lack in talent, they almost always make up for with hustle under Coach Howard Moore, such as last season when they went just 6-25 straight up overall and yet finished 15-14 ATS. Furthermore the pesky Flames have been the most dangerous as double-digit conference underdogs like they are tonight, going 17-11-1, 60.7 percent the last 29 times they have been in this circumstance.

As for how UIC will keep pace in this game, consider that they are above average in offensive turnover percentage (18.2 percent vs. national average of 19.6 percent) and offensive rebounding percentage (31.8 vs. 31.2), so they can milk some clock here and extend possessions. Furthermore the Flames are an excellent 19th in the country in free throw shooting at 75.4 percent, which is an area where they can really make up some ground.

Green Bay Weak Beyond the Arc and on the Line
Now the Phoenix are legitimately the best team in the Horizon League this season, or at least the highest ranked on the Pomeroy Ratings at 53rd in the country with 69th ranked Valparaiso being the only other conference team ranked in the Pomeroy 100. However, Green Bay is not a team without flaws.

And one of those flaws happens to be one of the strengths of Illinois-Chicago, with that being foul shooting. The Phoenix are a horrific 341st out of 351 Division I teams in free throw shooting at a mere 61.6 percent, and that in itself seems like a good reason to be leery of giving this many points as Green Bay would have a hard time padding a late lead from the line.

Yet another weakness for the Phoenix is three-point shooting as they are 300th from beyond the arc at 29.9 percent, so virtually the entire Phoenix offense comes from hitting an excellent 51.9 percent of their two-point attempts. Granted UIC is weak defensively but the Flames could still sag its defense inside the lane here and basically dare Green Bay to hit some shots beyond the arc.

Green Bay is still 15-4 despite those weaknesses, but their average winning margin is not as good as it can be because of them at +9.7 points per game. While that is still a nice figure, it would not be good enough to cover this lofty number.

Flames Have Played Phoenix Tough
Finally, do not forget that Illinois-Chicago is a perfect 5-0 ATS vs. Green Bay over the last two seasons despite the Phoenix winning four of those games straight up, and the biggest winning margin for Green Bay in this span is 11 points, still less than this point spread.

Put this all together and while Green Bay will more than likely emerge victorious in this game, do not expect a cakewalk with Illinois-Chicago hanging inside this large spread on Tuesday.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Illinois-Chicago +17 (-110)

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