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.
Look for the favorites from the major conference to struggle against the big point spread Sunday night when the undefeated Portland State Vikings (4-0, 2-0 away) pay a visit to those Oregon Ducks (3-2, 3-0 home) at Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene, OR at 8:00 ET in a game available on the Pac-12 Network.
The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Portland State as a double-digit underdog for this contest with the current line at +15 with odds of -102.
Perfect Overall and on Road
Not only is Portland State undefeated at 4-0, but it is also 2-0 on the road including a season opening road win at another Pac-12 venue 76-68 at USC! The Vikings come out of the Big Sky Conference, a conference that has made some waves during this non-conference portion of the schedule with some big road wins vs. major conference, as besides the Vikings’ conquest of USC, Eastern Washington won at Indiana.
Additionally, Northern Arizona covered the spread easily in a narrow 80-74 loss at Mississippi.
Oregon began the year with three wins here at home vs. relatively soft competition, but the Ducks were then the losing NCAA Basketball Picks twice in two days when stepping up in class in the Legends Classic in Brooklyn, first losing to Michigan 70-63 and then to VCU 77-63. The expectation before this season was that this game would serve as a breather after those two tough games, especially with Mississippi coming up in a week.
Vikings Shoot Threes and Protect the Ball Well
However, Portland State apparently has other plans and there is really nothing fluky about the way they are playing basketball right now after opening a four-game road trip with a 63-55 win at CS Northridge on Wednesday in a game where they shot 7-for-14, 50.0 percent from beyond the three-point arc.
That good perimeter shooting is nothing new for the Vikings, as they ranked in the top 100 nationally in three-point shooting last season at 36.1 percent and have taken things to a whole new level this year ranking second in the entire country at 47.8 percent beyond the arc! That makes them dangerous underdogs here vs. an Oregon team ranked 304th in three-point defense at 39.4 percent.
Portland State also figures to win the turnover battle here as the Vikings are second in the land in offensive turnover percentage at a mere 11.8 percent vs. a national average of 20.3 percent, and the Oregon defense has not been adept at forcing turnovers, ranking just 229th in defensive turnover percentage at 18.9 percent. Furthermore Portland State is 14th defensively, turning teams over 26.0 percent of the time.
Favorable Duck Schedule
The Ducks are entering a favorable part of their schedule where they play 10 of their next 11 games at home, and they have a nine-game straight up winning streak at Eugene stretching back to last year. However Oregon beat Toledo by just 10 points 78-68 the last time it was home before trekking to Brooklyn, so covering 15 points vs. a competitive unbeaten team may be a bit of a tall order here.
The Ducks are averaging 78.8 points, but that is a bit misleading as they scored 107 points vs. little Coppin State to open the season and rank only 141st in the nation in shooting percentage. Leading scorer Joseph Young has been a microcosm of those shooting difficulties, as while he is averaging 21.4 points, he is doing so while shooting just 40.5 percent from the field, which is well down from the 48.0 percent he shot last season while averaging 18.9 points.
That helped propel Oregon to an NCAA Tournament bid where it beat BYU in its first game before losing to the eventual Final Four participants from Wisconsin in the third round.
Fare Well vs. Pac-12
Finally, when Portland State beat USC opening night, it was not the first time the Vikings played well vs. teams from the Pac-12 as they are now 4-1 ATS in their last five games from that major conference. Moreover, Portland State is 5-1 ATS in its last six games vs. teams with winning records overall.
Oregon may have its hands full here much more so than what it expected when scheduling this contest, so take the big points with Portland State in Eugene on Sunday.
NCAA Basketball Pick: Portland State +15 (-102)