Notre Dame in a Rout is the NCAA Basketball Pick

LT Profits Sports Group

Thursday, January 22, 2015 2:46 PM UTC

Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015 2:46 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 Thursday.


Things could potentially get ugly fairly quickly Thursday night when the favored Notre Dame Fighting Irish (17-2, 2-0 away) pay a visit to the struggling Virginia Tech Hokies (8-9, 7-3 home) at Cassell Coliseum in Blacksburg, VA at 7:00 ET in a game available on ESPN3.

The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Notre Dame as a decided road favorite for this contest with the current line at -9 with odds of -116.

Now Ranked in Top 10
The Irish have now moved up to eighth in the AP poll and 16th on the Pomeroy Ratings overall with their 17-2 record, losing only to Providence by one point an to a Virginia team ranked second both in the polls and on Pomeroy by only six points. Notre Dame has won two straight since that loss to the Cavaliers, erasing a 12-point second half deficit while beating the Miami Hurricanes on Saturday to improve to 5-1 in the ACC.

Virginia Tech was actually 8-4 at one point, but it is now on a five-game losing streak to drop to one game under .500, including being the losing NCAA Basketball pick in all four ACC matchups. The only reason that the Hokies are not dead last in the conference this very second is because Georgia Tech and Boston College are both 0-5, but Virginia Tech figures to be in a three-way basement tie at the end of this night.

One of Best Offenses in Country
Notre Dame has one of the best offenses in the country and it has been able to score points on some very good defenses, including a huge 71-70 road win at North Carolina where it became apparent the Irish will be major players this season in their second year in the ACC after being longtime members of the Big East.

The Irish are second in the country in offensive efficiency behind only the Wisconsin Badgers, as they lead the land on effective field goal percentage at a spectacular 60.7 percent, thanks to leading in two point shooting at 61.0 percent and ranking 13th in three-pointers at 40.1 percent, while also ranking second in offensive turnover percentage at 14.0 percent vs. a national average of 19.6 points. That has led to a 1.7 assist-to-turnover ratio that ranks second in the nation.

Now the defense may be behind the offense, but it has certainly been good enough ranking 67th in effective field goal percentage allowed at 45.7 percent and 50th in two-point defense at only 43.3 percent.

Shorthanded Hokies
We are not sure how Virginia Tech can slow the Notre Dame offense down with a defense ranked 201st in efficiency and 129th in effective field goal percentage allowed, and to make matters worse the Hokies are prone to surrendering second chances while ranking 344th out of 351 Division I teams in defensive rebounding percentage, as if the Notre Dame offense needed any help!

Conversely the Hokies do not figure to get many second chances themselves ranking 252nd in offensive rebounding percentage while Notre Dame is above average on the defensive end, yielding offensive rebounds 29.8 percent of the time vs. a national average of 31.2 percent.

Now normally, Virginia Tech would have a chance to hang in this game with three-point shooting, expect leading scorer Justin Bibbs is out for this game with a concussion. Bibbs leads the team with 13.6 points per game while shooting a blistering 47.5 percent from beyond the three-point arc. The Hokies lost their first game without Bibbs by 15 points to North Carolina on Sunday.

And the Hokies are further shorthanded due to the suspension of leading rebounder Joey Van Zegeren, who is also leads the team in field goal percentage at 60.0 percent, almost all from close range, while also being an excellent defender with 1.4 blocks per game.

Perfect All Time
Finally, while we get that it really has nothing to do with this game, it is still a fun fact that Virginia Tech had never beaten Notre Dame with the Irish going 4-0 all time, most recently winning last season in their first year in the ACC.

Look for Notre Dame to remain perfect all time in this head-to-head series and in emphatic double-digit fashion too with the Hokies missing so much for this game when the Irish visit Virginia Tech at Blacksburg on Thursday.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Notre Dame -9 (-116)

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