Niagara is the NCAA Basketball Pick as Dog at Marist

LT Profits Sports Group

Friday, February 6, 2015 3:03 PM GMT

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.

 



An unexpected three-game winning streak may have a still weak team overvalued as a favorite in Friday night MAAC action when the Niagara Purple Eagles (4-17, 1-7 away) pay a visit to those Marist Red Foxes (4-18, 1-6 home) at the McCann Center in Poughkeepsie, NY at 7:00 ET with live audio only available at goredfoxes.com.

The point spread at Bet365 has Niagara as a road underdog for this contest with the current line at +4½ with odds of -110.


Two Bottom Dwellers in MAAC
This is not exactly a marquee matchup as these teams are tied for dead last in the MAAC with identical 3-9 conference marks. Niagara did snap a nine-game losing streak with a 105-100 double overtime upset of Quinnipiac on Sunday in which they shot 47.8 percent overall but went 12-22, 54.5 percent from beyond the three-point arc and also had a season-high 22 assists, granted over two extra sessions.

Marist has suddenly won three straight games since being the losing NCAA Basketball picks in 14 games in a row and beginning the season 1-18 overall including 0-9 in MAAC play! The last two of those wins came on the road, first over these Purple Eagles in Niagara last Friday and then at Canisius on Sunday as the Red Foxes swept their Western New York road trip.


Red Foxes Suddenly Favored?
However, is that enough to suddenly make Marist a moderate favorite like it is here? After all, the 0-9 start inside the MAAC was probably not much of a fluke for a team that grades out poorly on both ends of the court, but rather it is the current winning streak that looks like an anomaly that could be serving to give good line value to Niagara in this spot.

Offensively, Marist is 303rd in the nation in offensive efficiency and 265th in effective field goal percentage at 46.4 percent. Furthermore the Red Foxes are dead last in the MAAC in offensive efficiency during conference play. And they do not give themselves the second chances necessary to make up for their poor shooting either, ranking 348th out of 351 Division I teams in offensive rebounding percentage at 20.6 percent vs. a national average of 31.1 percent.

The news is not any better defensively were Marist is ranked 278th in efficiency, 194th in effective field goal percentage allowed at 49.2 percent and 328th in defensive rebounding percentage. And this is the team that is favored in this game!


Purple Eagles Primed for Revenge?
Yes the Purple Eagles lost at home to Marist last Friday, but they look like they should be able to get their revenge here as seemingly the better team on paper, and the encouraging win over a decent Quinnipiac team to snap the nine-game losing streak could have lifted a big weight off of the Eagles’ collective shoulders.

Now we get that Niagara is not the best shooting team in the world either but the Purple Eagles should dominate the glass vs. the worst rebounding team in the MAAC as they are averaging 11.8 offensive rebounds per game and are slightly above the national average in offensive rebounding percentage at 31.5 percent. Those additional second chances are a big help in a contest between two bad-shooting teams and is a nice trait in an underdog.

Furthermore, prior to the losing streak, Niagara had conference wins over Manhattan and St. Peter’s, both of whom are ranked considerably higher on the Pomeroy Ratings than 311th ranked Marist.


Niagara Boasts MAAC Rookie of the Week
Finally, the young Purple Eagles may currently have the fourth youngest team in the country according to Pomeroy with an average experience of just 0.69 years per player, but one of them was just named MAAC Men's Basketball Rookie of the Week in Dominique Reid, who may be the hottest player on the court tonight after his double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds on Sunday.

Look for the Purple Eagles to ride Reid while avenging last week’s loss to the Red Foxes, making underdog Niagara our selection at Marist on Friday.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Niagara +4½ (-110)