NCAA Basketball Pick on Niagara to Cover ATS at Monmouth

LT Profits Sports Group

Friday, January 23, 2015 2:17 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 Friday.

 

The underdogs should be able to hang within the double-digit spread in Friday night MAAC action when those Niagara Purple Eagles (3-14, 1-6 away) pay a visit to the Monmouth Hawks (10-9, 4-5 home) at the Multipurpose Activity Center in West Long Branch, NJ at 7:00 ET in a game available on ESPN3.

The point spread at Bet365 has Niagara as a double-digit underdog for this contest with the current line at +10½ with odds of -110.


Second Place in the MAAC
Monmouth comes off of a non-conference 71-56 win at Pennsylvania out of the Ivy League, but the 10-9 Hawks are second in the MACC standings at 6-2, just one-half game behind the 7-2 Iona Gaels. Monmouth defeated Fairfield 77-70 in its last conference game prior to that win over the Quakers on Wednesday.

Niagara has had more time to prepare for this game having not played since Sunday, but the Purple Eagles were the losing NCAA Basketball picks for the sixth straight time overall and fifth straight time in the conference in that game 74-70 vs. Siena at home, dropping them to 3-14 overall and 2-6 in conference play. This from a team that started the MAAC season 2-1 with wins over St. Peter’s and Manhattan.


Not a Great Home Team
The Hawks could be overlays here because they have not had much of a home court advantage going just 4-5 straight up in their own building in West Long Branch, and both of their MAAC losses have come here at home to Quinnipiac and St. Peter’s, the same St. Peter’s team that Niagara defeated early in its conference schedule. Oddly, Monmouth has been at its best on the road where it is now 6-4 overall and 4-0 in conference play.

Furthermore Monmouth is not the type of team that has been blowing teams out inside the conference with just one MAAC win being by double-digits, mainly because the Hawks are not a good shooting team and they are poor rebounders.

Monmouth is 231st in the country in offensive efficiency and 189th in effective field goal percentage at 48.6 percent, and the Hawks are not giving themselves the second chances necessary to make up for that low percentage ranking just 293rd in offensive rebounding percentage at 27.3 percent vs. a national average of 31.2 percent.

And the news is not any better on the defensive glass where the Hawks are 296th in defensive rebounding percentage allowing opponents to grab their own missed shots 34.2 percent of the time.


Second Chances Could Keep Niagara Close
Now the Purple Eagles are certainly slumping, but their last four conference losses have all been by 10 points or less including throwing a scare into first place Iona in a narrow 80-79 loss last Friday.

Niagara is not a tremendous rebounding team but at is practically at the national average in both offensive rebounding percentage (31.1 percent) and defensive rebounding percentage (31. percent), so that should be good enough to have an advantage in second chances this game given how Monmouth has struggled on the glass.

And do not expect the Eagles to go right back up with most of those second opportunities either, as they would be better served by kicking things out and extending possessions, knowing that their best chance to keep pace with the Hawks here is to shorten the game. Monmouth is 274th in the country in rebounding margin at -3.4 per game, and that is a key reason why most Hawks’ games have been decided by single-digits.


Free Throws are Another Key
Finally, Monmouth may have the better free throw percentage between these teams at 73.3 percent vs. 65.9 percent for Niagara, but the Golden Eagles do the better job of getting to the foul line more often ranking a respectable 77th nationally in FTA/FGA ratio at 41.6 percent vs. a national average of 37.4 percent. That ability to get so many chances to score with the clock stopped is never a bad thing for a double-digit underdog like this.

With all of that in mind we recommend taking the double-digit points with Niagara when it visits Monmouth in Friday night MAAC action.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Niagara +10½ (-110)