NCAA Basketball Pick: Tennessee-Martin +6½ over SIU Edwardsville

LT Profits Sports Group

Saturday, January 26, 2013 5:00 AM UTC

Saturday, Jan. 26, 2013 5:00 AM UTC

In an Ohio Valley Conference battle between two bad teams, neither club deserves to be a decided favorite over the other, so Tennessee-Martin has value vs. SIU Edwardsville.

Just because an Ohio Valley Conference game pits two bad teams against each other, it does not mean that we cannot benefit when the Tennessee-Martin Skyhawks (4-16, 0-11 away) pay a visit to the SIU Edwardsville Cougars (7-10, 6-2 home) at the Vadalabene Center in Edwardsville, IL at 8:3o ET.

The point spread at 5 Dimes has Tennessee-Martin as a decided road underdog for this contest with the current line at +6½ with odds of -107.

Now we get that Tennessee-Martin is winless on the road, but this is simply too many points for a team like SIU Edwardsville to be giving. Sure, the Cougars have managed to go 3-4 in Ohio Valley play, but most of those games have been struggles and two of the wins were by four points or less.

That is because Edwardsville is weak in both sides of the ball, ranking 276th in the country in offensive efficiency and 233rd in defensive efficiency. The Cougars rank 161st in effective field goal percentage for and 235th in effective field goal percentage against, and for good measure they are not a good foul shooting team either, ranking 302nd at 64.1 percent. Those kinds of numbers do not exactly ooze confidence as a decided favorite like this.

Even worse, the Cougars have faced a schedule ranked 254th in SOS according to the Pomeroy Ratings and the non-conference portion of their slate had an SOS ranked 200th, so it is not as if they have struggled vs. stiff competition. Besides its four conference losses, Edwardsville also lost to a Texas Pan American team ranked 323rd by Pomeroy, as well as to 303rd ranked Northern Illinois and 186th ranked Southern Illinois.

Now, we are fully aware that Tennessee-Martin has one conference win in two years, but the Skyhawks are a better rebounding team than Edwardsville and they are a much better foul shooting team, and considering the line and the competition here, UTM could cover this number just based on those two factors alone!

The Skyhawks have actually won two of the three head-to-head meetings between these teams straight up, and the one Edwardsville win in the series came by four points last season, a final margin that would not be good enough to cover this spread.

Finally, after Murray State and Belmont, the rest of the teams in the Ohio Valley Conference are all just about equally bad, and that is why bigger underdogs usually have good value in conference games. In fact, Ohio Valley road underdogs of more than 6½ points are 57-31-3, 64.8 percent ATS in conference games since 2010.

NCAA Basketball Pick: Tennessee-Martin +6½ (-107)

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