NCAA Basketball Pick on Tennessee St. to Cover vs. MTSU

LT Profits Sports Group

Sunday, December 21, 2014 2:35 PM UTC

Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014 2:35 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 Sunday.


The large underdog could hold value in a Tennessee in-state rivalry game on Sunday when those Tennessee State Tigers (2-9, 0-6 away), pays a visit to the Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders (6-5, 4-1 home) at the Murphy Center in Murfreesboro, TN at 3:00 ET in a game available on MASN.

The point spread at Bet365 has Tennessee State as a huge underdog for this contest with the current line at +15 with odds of -110.

Large Disparity in Records
Now, rivalry aside, this line makes sense if you simply look at the records of these two teams. After all, not only is Tennessee State 2-9 while being the losing NCAA Basketball picks in eight straight games, but the Tigers have yet to beat a Division I team with their two victories both coming vs. tiny sub-division schools in Reinhardt and Fisk.

Meanwhile Middle Tennessee has a winning 6-5 record as it wraps up a very busy week playing its third game in six days. The Blue Raiders rebounded from their 68-44 loss to Oklahoma State in Stillwater on Tuesday by defeating Tennessee-Chattanooga 68-58 back here at home on Friday. At least MTSU can take a breath following this contest as it will then have a full week off before its next game next Monday, December 29th at Auburn.

Possible “Breather” Alert
And that scheduling situation could make it very easy for the Blue Raiders to look past this game and look forward to going home for the holidays, especially with Tennessee State being the lowest ranked Division I team on the Pomeroy Ratings they will have faced to this point. And while Middle Tennessee should prevail on the court, it is not as if the Blue Raiders are so great that they can be expected to romp home without their best effort.

After all, Middle Tennessee only averages 59.6 points per game one a mere 39.4 percent shooting overall, helping place the Blue Raiders 229th in the county in offensive efficiency and 286th in effective field goal percentage at a horrific 44.6 percent. Worst of all, much of the Raiders’ problems have come closer to the basket as they are just 330th in two-point shooting at 40.0 percent compared to a quite good 36.5 percent shooting from three-point land.

And it is not as if Middle Tennessee makes up for that poor shooting much with a ton of second chances, as the Blue Raiders are just barely above average in offensive rebounding percentage at 31.8 percent vs. a national average of 31.5 percent.

Tough Schedule Has Not Helped Tennessee State
Now, Tennessee State has certainly been bad, but it has not helped that this team from the Ohio Valley Conference has faced a schedule ranked 59th in SOS either, as only one of the losses during the current eight-game losing streak has come at home. After all, it is not as if the Tigers had much of a chance facing the likes of the Virginia Cavaliers and Vanderbilt Commodores in true road games.

The good news is that Tennessee State actually covered ATS in its last two lined games, and one thing that the Tigers have done well is defend the perimeter as they are a respectable 85th in the land in three-point defense at 30.7 percent. As we mentioned, Middle Tennessee is a good three-point shooting team but has been a poor two-point shooting team, so Tennessee State could keep this score respectable if it continues to defend the three well.

And the underdog Tigers may be the team playing with more emotion in this rivalry game with MTSU possibly overconfident and looking forward to its week off during Christmas season.

Surprising ATS Success on the Road
Finally, you may be surprised to learn that Tennessee State is a remarkable 12-3 ATS in its last 15 lined road games, as what the Tigers lack in natural talent they usually make up for by almost always giving a maximum effort.

Look for more of the same here as while Middle Tennessee State will in all likelihood emerge victorious on the court, expect Tennessee State to slide in under the large point spread in Murfreesboro on Sunday.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Tennessee State +15 (-110)

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