NCAA Basketball Pick on Rider Broncs to Buck Marist

LT Profits Sports Group

Friday, January 2, 2015 3:27 PM UTC

Friday, Jan. 2, 2015 3:27 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 Friday.


Although road favorites are almost never safe plays, this home underdog Friday night is one of the worst teams in the country as the Rider Broncs (7-6, 3-3 away) pay a visit to those Marist Red Foxes (1-11, 0-3 home) at the McCann Center in Poughkeepsie, NY at 7:00 ET.

The point spread at Bet365 has Rider as a road favorite for this contest with the current line at -5½ with odds of -110.

Only Win vs. Fresno State
Not only is Marist 1-11, somehow beating Fresno State on a neutral court in Florida the night before Thanksgiving with the Bulldogs probably disinterested, but the Red Foxes have not even been competitive in many of their games while going 2-8 ATS in lined games and even losing two unlined games outright at Bucknell and to Army at home, ranking 337th in the nation in scoring and 244th in points against. Marist is also 0-2 inside the MAAC already.

Rider meanwhile has gone over the .500 by being the winning NCAA Basketball picks in three straight games since losing an early conference game at Iona to a Gaels’ team that is the only MAAC team ranked in the Pomeroy Top 100 at 77th overall, and the Broncs have one MAAC win already vs. Siena at home. They should be well prepared for this MAAC season having taken on the likes of Kansas, Michigan State and Georgia Tech during non-conference play.

Third Coach in Three Years
The Red Foxes are playing under their third head coach in three years in Mike Maker, and having to learn their third system in three years has seemingly been too much for Marist to handle to this point. Of course it also hurts that their star Khallid Hart, the 2013-14 MAAC Rookie of the Year, remains out with a foot injury after averaging 24.5 points in only two games thus far this season.

Without Hart for the vast majority of the year, the Red Foxes are ranked 338th out of 351 Division I teams in offensive efficiency and 278th in effective field goal percentage at 45.0 percent. It has not helped that the Marist shooting woes have been compounded by being extremely loose with the basketball, ranking 335th in the country in offensive turnover percentage at 24.5 percent vs. a national average of 20.0 percent.

On the other end of the court the Marist defense has been vulnerable on the interior ranking 265h in two-point defense while generously allowing opponents to make 50.9 percent of those shots, making for a nightmarish matchup against a strong Rider inside game.

Size Matters
The Broncs come off of a disappointing 14-17 season last year including going 9-11 inside the MAAC, but improvement is expected this season with the addition of seven-foot center Matt Lopez, a transfer from Utah State, and he may be able to dominate in this contest given the struggles of the Marist defense near the basket.

Lopez is averaging 11.1 points overall this season and has been coming on as of late as he has recorded back-to-back double-doubles, first recording 12 points and 12 rebounds in a 62-48 home win over Morgan State and then following up with another 12 points and 13 rebounds in a 76-71 road win at Wagner when the Broncs last played on Monday.

Rider as a team is making exactly 50.0 percent of its two-point attempts this season with Lopez leading the way at a blistering 63.9 percent with most of that coming within a few feet of the basket, and there is no reason why the Broncs cannot feed Lopez continuously here vs. the out-sized Red Foxes.

And the Broncs are also strong in the backcourt with Teddy Okereafor leading the team with his 11.6 points while also adding 4.7 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game, and fellow guard Jimmie Taylor adding an average of 10.2 points and coming off of a career-high 25 points in the win at Wagner.

Not Much Home Advantage
Finally the Red Foxes have not enjoyed much of a home court advantage going 0-3 straight up in Poughkeepsie so far this season and 1-5 ATS in their last six games here going back to last year, and Rider has certainly not minded visiting upstate New York going 6-1 ATS in the last seven visits here.

Marist seems almost helpless on offense without Hart and it has nobody on defense that can handle the size of Lopez, so even playing on the road expect a fairly handy Rider victory over the Red Foxes on Friday.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Rider -5½ (-110)

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