Quinnipiac the NCAA Basketball Pick in MAAC Opener

LT Profits Sports Group

Friday, December 5, 2014 2:43 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.

 

There is a very early conference opener on tap Friday night when the Quinnipiac Bobcats (3-2, 1-0 away) pay a visit to the Siena Saints (2-3, 0-1 home) as both teams open up their MAAC seasons from the Times Union Center in Albany, NY at 7:00 ET in a game available on Time Warner Sports.

The point spread at Bet365 has Quinnipiac as a road underdog for this contest with the current line at +5 with odds of -110.


Conference Title Contenders
Quinnipiac joined the MAAC last season and the Bobcats certainly made an immediate impression by finishing fourth in the conference at 14-6 in their inaugural conference season as well as 20-12 overall, earning a trip to the CIT where they were nipped 69-68 on the road at Yale in the opening round.

The Bobcats now look to take the next stop and win the conference in just their second season after losing to the eventual conference champions from Manhattan in the MAAC Tournament semifinals back in March.

Siena was the poster child for the MAAC for a couple of years when it posted upsets in the NCAA Tournament in consecutive seasons over Vanderbilt and Ohio State, but that latter win came five years ago and this team is not on that level. The Saints were just 11-9 inside the MAAC last year and were the losing NCAA Basketball picks in the first round of the conference tournament although they did then go on to win one of the post-season tournaments in the CBI.


Rebounding Edge Major Key
The key to Quinnipiac’s success last season was exceptional rebounding, as the Bobcats not only led the MAAC but also the entire country in offensive rebounding percentage at 42.3 percent, smashing the national average of 31.4 percent! Well, they are at it again this season as they are second in the nation in offensive rebounding at an even better 45.1 percent, and they have not been shabby on the other end either ranking 29th in defensive rebounding percentage.

In fact the Bobcats are just six points from being 5-0 right now, as after opening the season by avenging their CIT loss to Yale 88-85 in double overtime, that outing may have taken a bit out of them early as they were then nipped 60-58 at home by a decent La Salle team in their second game. The second Quinnipiac loss was just 54-50 to Hartford, and the Eagles have won their only true road game prior to this MAAC opener at Albany.

Quinnipiac should dominate the offensive glass here as besides its aforementioned prowess in that regard, Siena is only 318th in the land in defensive rebounding percentage, so the Bobcats figure to have a huge edge in second chance opportunities that is never a bad thing when backing an underdog.


Defending CBI Champions
Siena won that CBI title by knocking off the Fresno State Bulldogs in the maximum three games of the best-of-three final series of that tournament. Granted winning that minor tournament probably does not equate to the one NCAA Tournament win the Saints posted in both 2008 and 2009, but at least it could have served as a nice springboard for this season.

Siena is very experienced and in fact one of the more experienced team in the land as the Saints lost a grand total of just 11.0 points per game from the CBI Champion squad! However that makes the 2-3 start this year that much more disappointing, especially losing to a Fordham team currently ranked 249th overall on the Pomeroy Ratings on Monday.

Quinnipiac actually represents a rather large rise in class over Fordham as at 125th on Pomeroy, the Bobcats are the second highest rated team in the MAAC right now behind only 79th ranked Iona. Also besides their struggles on the defensive glass the Saints have also been lax defensively, which is not a good trait in a five-point favorite. Siena is 276th in the country in effective field goal percentage allowed at 54.2 percent.


Road Teams Swept Last Season
The road teams prevailed in both meetings between these teams in their first season as conference mates last year, with Siena winning 72-70 down in Connecticut and Quinnipiac prevailing 103-95 in overtime here at the Times Union Center in upstate New York.

This contest does not figure to be quite that high scoring but Quinnipiac is certainly capable of prevailing again, making the points worth taking at Siena on Friday.

NCAA Basketball Pick: Quinnipiac +5 (-110)