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 visitors are making some nice strides in just their fourth season at the Division I level and they get our betting call as moderate underdogs Monday night when those Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks (3-3, 1-3 away) pay a visit to the Air Force Falcons (4-3, 3-0 home) at Clune Arena in Colorado Springs, CO at 9:00 ET in a game available on the Mountain West Network.
The point spread at CRIS has Nebraska-Omaha as a road underdog for this contest with the current line at +4 with odds of -115.
Program on the Rise
Nebraska-Omaha is officially in its fourth season in Division I, but it is really just its third season facing a full-fledged Division I schedule since joining the Summit League for the 2012-13 season after being an independent its first year at this level. And the Mavericks already had a winning season in their second year in the Summit going 17-15 overall last season and even winning a game in the CIT over North Dakota.
UNO is looking to go over .500 in the early going tonight following a 3-3 start.
Air Force last has a winning season two years ago at 18-14 under Coach Dave Pilipovich, but the Falcons slipped to 12-18 last season including just 6-12 inside the Mountain West Conference, a year that ended with being a first-round losing NCAA Basketball pick in the Mountain West Tournament to the Fresno State Bulldogs, a team that eventually reached the final round of the CBI.
Won on Road at Marquette
UNO may be 3-3 straight up, but it is 3-1 ATS in its four lined games including what could be the biggest win in the brief history of the program to this point, as the Mavericks went into Milwaukee and shocked Marquette 97-89 on the road as 17-point underdogs. After opening the year with two non-lined games, the Mavs got off to a 3-0 ATS start before finally failing to cover in an 84-68 loss at Kansas State when they last played last Tuesday.
But remember, that was vs. a Kansas State team that had lost by just four points to Arizona a couple of weeks ago and that is ranked 76th in the country on the Pomeroy Ratings. UNO faces no such foe here with Air Force ranked 186th overall. Additionally, one of the other Maverick covers came on the road at 62nd ranked Nebraska where they lost 80-67 as 14½-point underdogs.
One area where Omaha should have an advantage in this game is three-point shooting, where the Mavericks are respectable 89th in the country at 36.8 percent and are facing an Air Force team ranked a terrible 253rd in three-point defense at 36.0 percent. That three-point differential could become more important if this game is played at Air Force’s preferred slow pace, although the Mavericks would also benefit if they quicken that pace, taking Air Force out of its comfort zone.
Falcons Have Beaten Three Nobodies at Home
You see, this game is an extreme battle of tempos, as UNO is second in the land in Tempo Rating while Air Force is 299th, as the Falcons have always been methodical under Pilipovich. This is one case where they could be at a disadvantage regardless of the pace though, as if the Falcons are successful in slowing the game to a crawl, they may not have enough possessions to offset the Mavericks’ three-point shooting unless Air Force tightens up its perimeter defense.
Now, Air Force is 3-0 at home but it is hard to gauge just how meaningful that is considering two of those home wins were vs. Division II competition and the third was vs. a Grambling State team ranked dead last among the country’s 351 Division I teams overall on Pomeroy. In fact the entire 4-3 record for Air Force is questionable with the fourth win coming vs. 317th ranked Citadel on a neutral floor in West Point in the All-Military Classic.
ATS Road Success
Finally the Mavericks have been undervalued at the Division I level for a couple of years now, especially on the road as they are a spiffy 13-6 ATS in their last 19 road contests. They are now at the stage where they could begin turning those ATS road covers into straight up wins on the court.
And tonight could very well be one of those times, although we still recommend taking the points with Nebraska-Omaha when it visits the Air Force Academy on Monday.
NCAA Basketball Pick: Nebraska-Omaha +4 (-115)