NCAA Basketball Pick on Montana State at South Dakota

LT Profits Sports Group

Thursday, December 18, 2014 3:31 PM UTC

Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014 3:31 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 favorite seems overvalued in one of the NCAA Basketball matchups Thursday night when the Montana State Bobcats (3-6, 0-5 away) pay a visit to those South Dakota Coyotes (3-8, 1-1 home) at the DakotaDome in Vermillion, SD at 8:30 ET in a game available on Midco Sports Network.

The point spread at Bet365 has Montana State as a big underdog for this contest with the current line at +9½ with odds of -110.

Both Teams with New Coaches
Montana State was a mediocre 14-17 overall and 9-11 in Big Sky Conference play last season, leading to a coaching change as they hired Brian Fish, who was most recently an assistant coach under Dana Altman at Oregon for a Ducks’ team reached the third round of the NCAA Tournament last season before losing to the eventual Final Four participants from Wisconsin.

South Dakota comes off of a 12-18 season that ended with being the losing NCAA Basketball Pick in the opening round of the Summit League Tournament after going 6-8 in conference play during the regular season, so they too tapped an assistant coach from a major program by hiring Craig Smith from Nebraska, who assisted Tim Miles in leading the Cornhuskers to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 16 seasons.

Princeton Style Offense Can Give USD Fits
Montana State is 3-6 in its first season under Fish but two of those wins came in the last three games and they covered the spread in the lone loss in this span is a 70-61 defeat at Wyoming as a 21-point underdog. Granted the Bobcats are 0-5 straight up in true road games, but three of those losses came vs. teams in the Pomeroy Top 100 including UCLA and Kentucky, with the latter being the current +220 favorite to win the National Championship!

The Bobcats face no such foe here with South Dakota ranked 25th on Pomeroy and Fish has them playing a Princeton style offense that the Coyotes are not accustomed to seeing. In fact, South Dakota has faced this style of offense once this season and that was vs. Wayne State of Division II. The Coyotes struggled for about 30 minutes of that game before pulling away late and now they are facing that offense again but with better Division 1 athletes.

Three Straight Coyotes; Losses
South Dakota enters this contest on a three-game losing streak, and although the Coyotes played well in an overtime loss at Creighton and also lost to a respectable UNLV team ranked 119th on Pomeroy, the third loss came here at home to 231st ranked Youngstown State. That loss to Youngstown was also the only time that South Dakota has been favored this season until now, and the end result was not totally surprising given the Coyotes’ lack of defense.

That leaky defense always makes it dicey to give any points with this team, let alone the nearly double-digits they are being asked to give here. South Dakota is ranked 313th in the country in defensive efficiency while applying practically no pressure, ranking 293rd in defensive turnover percentage at 17.4 percent vs. a national average of 20.1 percent.

Unreliable Favorites
In a nutshell, the Coyotes are simply very unreliable as decided favorite as they are just 6-15 ATS the last 21 times that they have been favored by any amount including 3-10 ATS when favored by three points or more! They have only been favored by eight points or more three times during this span going 1-2 ATS with both losses being straight up, losing outright twice in the same month of January, 2013 to Nebraska-Omaha (as -14 favorites) and UMKC (-8).

Thus this is rarified air for a South Dakota team that has not been favored by this much in two seasons, and given Montana State runs an offense the Coyotes rarely see, we recommend taking the points with the Bobcats in the DakotaDome on Thursday.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Montana State +9½ (-110)

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