Pittsburgh to Cover NCAA Basketball Odds at Indiana

LT Profits Sports Group

Tuesday, December 2, 2014 6:50 PM UTC

Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2014 6:50 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 Tuesday.


The road underdogs appear to hold value in one of the matchups in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge Tuesday night when the Pittsburgh Panthers of the ACC (4-2, 0-0 away) pay a visit to the Indiana Hoosiers of the Big Ten (5-1, 5-1 home) at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, IN at 7:00 ET in a game televised nationally on ESPN2.

The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Pittsburgh as a modest road underdog for this contest with the current line at +3 with odds of -104.

First True Road Game for Either Team
Pittsburgh is the first one of these teams to play a true road game in this spot despite both clubs being six games into their seasons, although at least the Panthers have played four games on neutral floors and their 70-47 blowout of Kansas State in the third-place game of the Maui Invitational in Hawaii last Wednesday was probably the most impressive win for either team so far in the early going.

Indiana has yet to leave the comforts of Bloomington this season as this marks the seventh game of a season opening eight-game home stand. That makes the 5-1 record for the Hoosiers a bit fraudulent as the best win that have had was over an SMU team that was coming off of a cross-country flight after playing a few days earlier at Gonzaga. Perhaps a more telling sign as to where Indiana stands was being the losing NCAA Basketball pick vs. Eastern Washington.

Efficient Offense vs. Tougher Schedule
It seems that Pittsburgh is a favorite of the computer ratings every year and, well, here we go again! The Panthers are ranked 37th overall on the Pomeroy Ratings thanks to ranking 15th in offensive efficiency, an efficiency rating comprised of ranking 51st in effective field goal percentage at 53.6 percent and 27th in offensive rebounding percentage at 39.7 percent vs. a national average of 31.6 percent.

And the Panthers figure to excel in both of those areas again tonight as Indiana is only 269th in effective field goal percentage allowed at 52.3 percent and the Hoosiers are below average in defensive rebounding percentage at 30.7 percent, meaning that Pittsburgh should get an ample amount of second chance opportunities.

Yes Bloomington can be a difficult place to play, but remember that the Panthers accumulated their stats vs. the likes of San Diego State and Kansas State while Indiana has faced a schedule ranked 343rd out of 351 Division I teams in SOS.

2-4 ATS Record vs. Weaker Schedule
And despite that weak slate and all of their games being played at Bloomington so far, the Hoosiers are still now just 2-4 ATS after only beating UNC-Greensboro by single-digits 87-79 as 21-point favorites on Friday, so perhaps playing at Assembly Hall is not as imposing as it once was. That was especially true while allowing Eastern Washington to shoot 32-for-62, 51.6 percent from the field in the shocking 88-86 home loss. Indiana is also 64th overall on Pomeroy.

While we have already addressed Indiana’s defensive struggles, one thing that the Hoosiers can still do is shoot the basketball as they are eighth in the country in effective field goal percentage at 59.7 percent. The main reason for that is ranking 11th in three-point shooting at 43.6 percent, but Indiana may now face some resistance in that regard for the first time this year from a Pittsburgh team that is ranked 20th in the land in three-point defense at a mere 24.7 percent.

Not Good vs. ACC
Finally, the Hoosiers have generally brought the Big Ten down in these ACC/Big Ten Challenges as Indiana is 3-9 straight up and 4-8 ATS in its last 12 meetings vs. ACC schools regardless of the time of year.

Considering that Pittsburgh seems to be the more proven squad at this early stage of the season, look for those Indiana struggles vs. the ACC to continue even while playing at home in Bloomington on Tuesday.

NCAA Basketball Pick: Pittsburgh +3 (-104)

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