Penn Quakers the NCAA Basketball Pick in Friday Ivy Action

LT Profits Sports Group

Friday, February 27, 2015 3:48 PM UTC

Friday, Feb. 27, 2015 3:48 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 Friday.


It is time for some Friday night Ivy League action, and the underdogs seem to hold value in a battle of conference also-rans when those Pennsylvania Quakers (7-16, 4-8 away) pay a visit to the Brown Bears (12-15, 8-5 home) at the Pizzitola Sports Center in Providence, RI at 7:00 ET in a game available on MASN.

The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Penn as a road underdog for this contest with the current line at +5½ with odds of -117.

Bottom Two Teams in the Conference
This is a matchup of the bottom two teams in the Ivy League with Brown dead last with a 2-7 conference mark and Brown second to last at 3-7. That is not very surprising either, considering that neither of these teams shoots the ball well and both teams have been turnover prone.

Penn is ranked 297th in the country in offensive efficiency and 345th out of 351 Division I teams in offensive turnover percentage at 24.7 percent vs. a national average of 19.3 percent, while Brown is 271st in offensive efficiency and 324th in offensive turnover percentage at 22.0 percent.

Just about the only difference between the two offenses is that Brown does a better job at the free throw line, not only while ranking 85th in the country in foul shooting at 71.5 percent but also by getting there often, ranking a terrific 26th in FTA/FGA ratio. That is something that the Penn defense needs to be cognizant of by not fouling very often, and if the Quakers can do that, we feel they become solid NCAA Basketball picks as decided underdogs in this spot.

Brown Romped at Penn Two Weeks Ago
Brown went into Pennsylvania and beat the Quakers surprisingly easily 71-55 the first time these teams met this year two weeks ago. The Bears then split their two games last week both here at home while not covering the spread either time, first getting blown out by Columbia 76-59 on Friday and then nipping Cornell 57-56 Saturday.

But getting back to that first meeting two weeks ago, Brown shot 44.9 percent overall in the contest including going a blistering 9-for-17, 52.9 percent from beyond the three-point arc. Keep in mind though that the Bears are a team shooting just 41.3 percent from the field overall this season while ranking 321st in the country in three-point shooting at 29.8 percent. Thus that shooting performance in the first meeting was anomalous, especially from three-point land.

The Bears do not figure to repeat that performance again here, and it is not as if their shooting has been any better when playing at the comforts of home this season either. In fact, they have shot worse when playing in Providence, sitting at just 41.2 percent overall at home including a mere 26.6 percent on three-point attempts!

Penn Has Actually Shot Better
Penn once sat at 2-2 in Ivy League play and was on a nice streak with three wins in four games overall including a non-conference win over St. Joseph’s in a Pennsylvania Big Five matchup, but it has been downhill ever since with five straight losses all in conference including the aforementioned home blowout loss to Brown.

Still, the Quakers have a realistic chance to snap their losing streak here, or at the very least take this game right down to the wire, which is more important from a gambling perspective getting these points. You see, beside the fact that Brown’s shooting performance in the first meeting was an aberration as mentioned earlier you may be surprised to learn that Penn has actually been the better shooting of these two teams despite ranking so low in offensive efficiency.

In fact, Penn’s effective field goal percentage of 48.5 percent is not really that far off of the national average of 49.0 percent while ranking 193rd in the country. Comparatively, Brown is just 283rd in effective field goal percentage at a significantly lower 46.3 percent.

Road Team Dominance in Series
Finally, Brown’s earlier win in Penn continued the dominance of the road teams in this head-to-head series as they are now 9-2 ATS in the last 11 meetings. That should not come as a surprise though with these teams being almost mirror images of each other, as that would give natural value to the underdogs and seven of those nine road teams that covered were dogs.

Expect more of the same tonight, as while Penn may or may not get its outright revenge for the earlier home loss to Brown, take the points in what should be a close game throughout in Providence on Friday.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Pennsylvania +5½ (-117)

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