NCAA Basketball Pick: Tennessee-Martin +8½ over Tennessee Tech

LT Profits Sports Group

Thursday, February 21, 2013 5:00 AM GMT

In a matchup between two bottom tier Ohio Valley Conference teams, neither team deserves to be favored by this much so Tennessee Martin offers value as a big dog vs. Tennessee Tech.

The big underdog seems to hold some value in an ugly Ohio Valley Conference matchup as the Tennessee-Martin Skyhawks (7-18, 1-11 away) pay a visit to the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles (9-16, 6-4 home) at the Eblen Center in Cookeville, TN at 8:00 ET.

The point spread at 5 Dimes is has Tennessee-Martin as a decided underdog for this contest with the current line at +8½ with odds of -106.

Both of these teams are toward the bottom of their divisions in the Ohio Valley Conference. Tennessee Tech is dead last in the East Division with a 3-10 conference mark while Tennessee-Martin is at least showing signs of life lately while escaping the West Division basement, as the Skyhawks are now fifth at 4-9.

To say it is dicey to give this many points with a team like Tennessee Tech seems like a huge understatement. The Golden Eagles have lost seven of their last nine games, and while losing to Belmont and Murray State is certainly excusable, the other five defeats include losses to the likes of SIU Edwardsville and SE Missouri State, so it is not as if facing Tennessee-Martin is a huge drop in class.

Taking things back further, Tennessee Tech has gone 3-12 since a non-conference win over Wisconsin-Milwaukee way back in December 15th, and the simple reason is that the Golden Eagles have been atrocious on both sides of the ball, ranking 277th in efficiency and 283rd in effective field goal percentage offensively and ranking 256th in efficiency and 295th in effective field goal percentage allowed defensively.

As if that was not bad enough, the Golden Eagles are one of the most turnover prone teams in the country, ranking 337th out of 347 Division I schools in offensive turnover percentage at an ugly 24.4 percent compared to a national average of 20.3 percent.

Now we are not saying that Tennessee-Martin is a world-beater by any means, but the Skyhawks are not the team giving 8½ points here. Besides, after beginning the season at 1-7 in Ohio Valley Conference play, Martin has gone a respectable 3-2 in the last five games, and if you are a fan of the transitive property, the Skyhawks swept both meetings from the SIU Edwardsville team that recently defeated Tennessee Tech.

Finally, it is not as if Tennessee Tech has some big home court advantage as the Purple Eagles are only 3-7-2 ATS in their last 12 home games. No matter how you slice it, Tennessee-Martin looks like an overlay catching this many points in a potentially sloppy affair on Thursday.

[gameodds]14/221582/19-238-93-92-1096/us[/gameodds]

NCAA Basketball Pick: Tennessee-Martin +8½ (-106)