NCAA Basketball Pick on Lafayette ATS vs. 1-Seed Villanova

LT Profits Sports Group

Thursday, March 19, 2015 3:36 PM UTC

Thursday, Mar. 19, 2015 3:36 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 Thursday.


The 16-seed seems capable of hanging with the 1-seed Thursday evening when those Lafayette Leopards (20-12, 9-7 away/neutral) take on the top seeded Villanova Wildcats (32-2, 17-2 away/neutral) in the East Region of the Round of 64 from the CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh, PA at 6:50 ET in a game televised nationally on TBS.

The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Lafayette as a prohibitive underdog for this contest with the current line at +23 with odds of -110.

16-Seed Has Never Beaten 1-Seed Straight Up
In case you have not heard by now, a 16-seed has never beaten a 1-seed straight up since the seeding process began, but that does not mean the 16s have not held their own ATS wise. In fact, the two sides are dead even at 27-27-2 ATS in these matchups over the last 14 NCAA Tournaments as the 16-seeds have gone 6-2 ATS the last two years including three single-digit losses.

Which brings us to this matchup between a Villanova team that has been the winning NCAA Basketball pick in 15 straight games including winning the Big East Conference Championship to earn its 1-seed with a 32-2 overall mark and 16th seeded Lafayette, the champion of the Patriot League. And with this point spread set at Villanova -23, the Leopards do not even need to lose by single-digits to cover this humongous number.

One of Best Three-Point Shooting Teams in Country
As great a team as the Wildcats are this season, they seem overvalued here vs. a Lafayette team that is one of the best three-point shooting teams in the entire country. In fact, the Leopards are second in the land in three-point shooting at a hearty 41.4 percent, which is a key reason why they are ranked 39th in offensive efficiency and seventh in effective field goal percentage at 56.3 percent.

Granted the competition may be a concern with the Patriot League ranked just 23rd as a whole among all conferences according to the Pomeroy Ratings, but the Leopards already proved that they can make their three-point shots vs. one of the best defenses in the country, as they visited Kansas in Lawrence during the non-conference portion of their schedule and went 12-for-26, 45.2 percent from beyond the arc!

Pace May Make Covering Difficult
Then there is also the matter of the expected pace of this contest as neither one of these teams is exactly known for its tempo. Lafayette is ranked 162nd in the nation in adjusted tempo rating and you may be surprised to learn that Villanova has played even slower ranking 185th in tempo rating. That in itself is a good reason not to want to give 23 points, but it even gets compounded further if Lafayette makes its three-point baskets at close to its normal clip.

That would make it extremely difficult for this contest to have enough possessions to offset that three-point shooting at this huge number.

Now granted the Wildcats are still averaging 76.3 points per game to rank 23rd in the country despite not playing run-and-gun basketball, but Lafayette is not far behind in 34th with 74.2 points per game thanks to its adept three-point shooting.

Probably Not Many Villanova Foul Shots Either
Finally, one thing we have not touched on is that Lafayette does not commit many fouls, ranking 14th in the land in FTA/FGA ratio allowed at 27.6 percent vs. a national average of 37.1 percent. That means that Villanova should not be able to extend its lead with as many free throws as it would normally get, unless of course Lafayette gets into a late-game situation where it needs to start fouling.

But if that happens, it would mean that this game is close enough that covering this spread is not in jeopardy. So with all this in mind, take the shipload of points with 16th seeded Lafayette vs. top seeded Villanova in the East Region on Thursday.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Lafayette +23 (-110)

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