Niagara to Cover ATS is the NCAA Basketball Pick Sunday

LT Profits Sports Group

Sunday, February 1, 2015 3:19 PM UTC

Sunday, Feb. 1, 2015 3:19 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.


While most people are focused on the Super Bowl on Sunday, there could be hidden value on a home underdog in NCAA Basketball MAAC action when the Quinnipiac Bobcats (11-9, 4-4 away) pay a visit to those Niagara Purple Eagles (3-17, 2-8 home) at the Gallagher Center in Niagara, NY at 2:00 ET in a game with live audio only available at

The point spread at Bet365 has Niagara as a decided home underdog for this contest with the current line at +6 with odds of -110.

Both Teams Come Off Friday Losses
Although Quinnipiac is two games over .500 overall, it is just in a sixth place tie inside the MAAC with a 5-6 conference mark. The Bobcats have already matched their total losses in the MAAC from last season when they went a nice 14-6 during their first season in the conference. They had appeared to turn things around with a three-game winning streak after a 2-5 conference start, but that win streak was snapped 63-57 at Canisius Friday.

Niagara had a rapid decline after winning 19 games two years ago, as it went just 7-26 overall and 3-17 in the conference last season and it is 2-9 in the MAAC this year while being the losing NCAA Basketball picks the last nine games in a row. The most recent defeat may have been the most disconcerting as it came here at home 65-61 to a Marist team that is now 3-18.

Too Many Points on the Road?
Still, even given that, we do not feel that Quinnipiac has done enough this season to merit this much favoritism on the road. Yes, the Bobcats have been one of the best rebounding teams in the entire country, in fact ranking third in the nation in offensive rebounding percentage, but then again that have also gotten a lot of practice from missing so many shots!

You see, Quinnipiac is only ranked 198th in offensive efficiency despite that lofty ranking in offensive rebounds, and the reason is quite obvious as the Bobcats are 338th out of 351 Division I teams in effective field goal percentage at a mere 43.0 percent. And they are weak from all points of the floor too, ranking 330th in three-point shooting (28.7 percent) and 321st in two-point shooting (42.9 percent).

Besides rebounding, the Bobcats have tried to stay afloat with defense, and they do rank a good 44th in effective field goal percentage allowed at 44.9 percent. However, one thing that Quinnipiac does not do is force turnovers, ranking dead last among the 251 Division I teams in defensive turnover percentage at 13.9 percent. To give you an idea of just how bad that is, the national average is 19.5 percent.

Youthful Eagles
Niagara is one of the youngest teams in the entire country, in fact the fifth youngest according to the Pomeroy Ratings with average experience of just 0.71 years per player, and junior Rayvon Harris is the only starter right now that is not either a freshman or a sophomore. And yes, starting five underclassmen is a key reason for the Purple Eagles’ struggles this season, but the news is not entirely bad.

Sure the home loss to Marist was a low point, but last three home losses for Niagara have all been by four points or less, which would be good enough to cover this spread, and that includes a tough one-point loss to the MAAC kingpins from Iona. Remember also that the Eagles have settled their pace this year in their second season under Coach Chris Casey, going from ninth in the country in adjusted tempo rating last year to 120th this season.

Remember that Quinnipiac does not force many turnovers, so being able to slow the pace on occasion is a good thing here as Niagara could shorten this game at least a bit while not under much pressure, making the underdog points even more valuable.

0-5 All Time vs. Bobcats
Yes, Niagara is 0-5 straight up all time vs. Quinnipiac with these schools not meeting for the first time until 2010, but the Purple Eagles did escape with the ATS cover losing just 90-88 when the teams met here in Niagara last season.

Do not be surprised if this game is just as close, maybe even an upset, making the points worth taking with Niagara at home vs. the Bobcats on Sunday.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Niagara +6 (-110)

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