Morgan State the NCAA Basketball Pick in Monday MEAC Action

LT Profits Sports Group

Monday, February 2, 2015 2:38 PM GMT

Monday, Feb. 2, 2015 2:38 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 Monday.

 

The MEAC gets some national TV exposure and the underdogs appear to hold inherent value in a matchup of bottom-tier teams from the conference when those Morgan State Bears (4-17, 1-13 away) pay a visit to the Coppin State Eagles (3-18, 2-3 home) at the Physical Education Complex in Baltimore, MD at 7:00 ET in a game televised nationally on ESPNU.

The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Morgan State as a road underdog for this contest with the current line at +5½ with odds of -112.


Total of Four Conference Wins Combined
The MEAC is a conference that sent a 28-6 North Carolina Central team to the NCAA Tournament last season, where those Eagles were promptly eliminated by Iowa State in the second round. NC Central again tops the conference at a perfect 8-0 this season while the two participants in this contest are both in the bottom third of this 13-team league.

Favored Coppin State is 11th in the conference at 2-6 as well as just 3-18 overall, as these Eagles were the losing NCAA Basketball picks in 12 straight games to fall to 1-16 overall before splitting their last four games. Morgan State is one-half game ahead of the Eagles in 10th at 2-5 in conference and 4-17 overall, although the Bears easily have the best win for either team with a Pomeroy Top 100 victory over 87th ranked UC Irvine during non-conference play.


Offensive Rebounds and Turnovers Should Favor Morgan
Besides a 3-18 team probably never deserving to be favored by this much even at home, a strong case can be made that underdog Morgan State could be the better team here. Granted the Bears are not as good as the club that went 11-5 inside the MEAC last season when they finished 15-16 overall, but they still appear to have important edges here in the offensive rebound and turnover departments.

Morgan State should dominate the second-chance opportunities in this contest as the Bears are a very respectable 62nd in the country in offensive rebounding percentage at 35.1 percent vs. a national average of 31.2 percent, and that figure has gone up to 36.3 percent vs. MEAC opponents. Meanwhile Coppin State figured to offer little resistance ranking 344th in defensive rebounding percentage overall and dead last in 13th in that category inside the conference.

And then there is the turnover story where the Bears have the lowest offensive turnover percentage in the conference at 16.0 percent vs. a national average of 19.5 percent. The bigger edge may be on the other side though where the Eagles are 197th nationally in offensive turnover percentage and the Bears are an excellent 22nd defensively, forcing turnovers 23.3 percent of the time!


Favored Coppin State Struggles on Both Ends
Meanwhile it is hard to find even one redeeming quality in Coppin State other than ranking 81st in defensive turnover percentage, which has not prevented the Eagles from allowing a miserable 83.0 points per game, which is ranked 350th in the nation out of 351 Division I teams!

The Eagles are ranked 294th in defensive efficiency even with the good turnover rate, as they are a terrible 346th in effective field goal percentage allowed at 55.9 percent, ranking 339th in three-point defense and 337th in two-point defense. Sure Coppin State played a tough non-conference schedule but the Eagles have not been good vs. MEAC opponents either, allowing a 50.6 percent effective field goal percentage inside the conference while ranking 12th in three-point defense.

And the news is not good offensively either, in fact being worse with the Eagles being below the national average in just about every component. Most notable they are 280th in offensive efficiency and 303rd in effective field goal percentage at just 44.9 percent. And the two wins inside the MEAC are the only two Coppin wins this season vs. Division I teams, as the lone non-conference triumph came vs. some sub-division school called Goldey Beacom.


Six Straight Wins Head-to-Head
Finally, underdog Morgan State has won the last six head-to-head meetings in this series straight up including three wins here on the road in Baltimore and one in the MEAC Tournament last season in Norfolk.

That head-to-head dominance by Morgan State could easily continue in this game when looking at the profiles of these two teams, but we recommend playing it safe and taking the seemingly generous points with the Bears when they visit Coppin State on Monday.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Morgan State +5½ (-112)

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