NCAA Basketball Pick on Monmouth to Win Handily

LT Profits Sports Group

Sunday, January 18, 2015 2:59 PM UTC

Sunday, Jan. 18, 2015 2:59 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 Sunday.


Look for a relatively safe win by the home team Sunday in MAAC action when the Fairfield Stags (6-11, 2-4 away) pay a visit to those Monmouth Hawks (8-9, 3-5 home) at the Multipurpose Activity Center in West Long Branch, NJ at 4:30 ET in a game available on ESPN3.

The point spread at Bet365 has Monmouth as a decided favorite for this contest with the current line at -7½ with odds of -110.

Both Teams Under .500 Overall
Neither of these teams has been overwhelming when looking at their overall numbers, although both are over .500 inside the MAAC. Monmouth is 8-9 overall but in three of those losses they were losing NCAA Basketball picks to teams ranked in the top 30 in the Pomeroy Ratings and all of those were true road games at West Virginia, Maryland and SMU. And rather impressively the Hawks covered the spread in all three of those tough losses vs. top opponents!

Fairfield is 6-11 and struggled to get by a 1-16 Marist team Friday before prevailing in a non-covering 60-54 win. Granted the Stags show one loss at Duke but that was their only game so far vs. a team ranked higher than 90th on Pomeroy. Of their six wins, the highest ranked Pomeroy team that Stags have beaten was 188th ranked Quinnipiac, which was part of their 4-3 MAAC mark.

Monmouth One Game Back in MAAC Standings
Monmouth is 5-2 and just one game behind 6-1 Iona in the conference, but the Hawks would be tied for first if not for an unexpected loss to St. Peter’s Wednesday 62-61 in double overtime here at home. At least Monmouth has had three days off to recuperate from those two extra sessions, while Fairfield has had just one day off since the win over Marist Friday, and it seems like less than that with this being an afternoon game.

Monmouth will not win many beauty contests offensively ranking 259th in the country in offensive efficiency, but this is one of the better defensive teams in the MAAC. To be fair though, the offense has been better in conference play where the Hawks grade out to 99.3 points per 100 possessions in adjusted efficiency, as nice bump over their overall efficiency rating of 96.9, so they seem to have benefitted from those tough road non-conference games.

But any success Monmouth has starts with defense, as they are a respectable 133rd in the country and second inside the MACC in defensive efficiency. That are allowing just a 46.2 percent effective field goal percentage overall and are an excellent 38th in the nation in defensive turnover percentage at 22.4 percent vs. a national average of 19.6 percent.

Fairfield Struggling on Both Ends
Fairfield on the other hand grades out poorly on both ends of the court and its 4-3 conference mark has been helped by three wins vs. the lesser teams in the conference other than the relatively good win at Quinnipiac in overtime. The reality is that it is not a fluke that the Stags are being outscored by -6.1 points in all their games this season despite facing a schedule ranked 292nd in SOS according to Pomeroy.

We do not see how the Stags can generate much offense vs. a good Monmouth defense here as Fairfield is 318th in the country in offensive efficiency and 289th in effective field goal percentage at a mere 45.2 percent. The Stags do not get many second chances to make up for that weak shooting either, ranking 316th in offensive rebounding percentage at 25.9 percent vs. a national average of 31.2 percent.

And the Stags have not really improved in MAAC play despite the 4-3 record, ranking ninth in offensive efficiency, eighth in effective field goal percentage and ninth in offensive rebounding percentage inside the conference.

Moreover, the news has not been any better for the Stags on the defensive end where they are 182nd in efficiency and 225th in effective field goal percentage allowed at a generous 50.1 percent.

Nice Bounce-Back Ability
Granted the Monmouth home loss to St. Peter’s was a bit disturbing, but the Hawks have been very resilient while gong 6-1 ATS in their last seven games when coming off of a straight up loss, and the three days to prepare for this game is an added bonus.

In the end, look for the better Monmouth team to respond to that last loss with a rather emphatic win at home over Fairfield on Sunday.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Monmouth -7½ (-110)

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