Rutgers is the NCAA Basketball Pick ATS Despite Slump

LT Profits Sports Group

Sunday, February 22, 2015 3:04 PM UTC

Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015 3:04 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 Sunday.


Although the home team has lost 10 games in a row, it already showed that its can hang with the road favorites in hostile territory earlier this season and now it can do so again Sunday at home when the Indiana Hoosiers (18-9, 2-5 away) pay a visit to those Rutgers Scarlet Knights (10-17, 6-8 home) at the Louis Brown Athletic Center in Piscataway, NJ at 5:15 ET in a game televised nationally on Big Ten Network.

The point spread at Bet365 has Rutgers as a decided home underdog for this contest with the current line at +7 with odds of -115.

Neither Team Playing Very Well
Rutgers enters this contest on a 10-game losing streak and Knights Coach Eddie Jordan sent a very strong message by benching four starters in the second half of an ugly 81-47 loss at Iowa Thursday. Jordan has already gone on record saying that he would not hesitate using that same tactic in this contest, only sooner if he does not like what he sees in the first five minutes, so expect a maximum effort from Rutgers in front of the home folks.

Besides, while it is understandable that Indiana is a road favorite here, we are not so sure that the Hoosiers merit quite this much road favoritism given that they are not exactly setting the world on fire themselves being the losing NCAA Basketball picks in five of their last eight games to drop to 18-9 on the season, and the three wins during this spam all came back at home. Indiana comes off of a 67-63 home loss to Purdue as the Boilermakers completed a season sweep.

Knights Hung Tough in Bloomington
As bad as the Scarlet Knights have looked during the 10-game skid, they have already proven that they can compete with the Hoosiers when they give their best effort, which can be expected here after Thursday’s events. Remember that Rutgers went into one of the tougher road venues in the nation at Assembly Hall in Bloomington earlier and gave Indiana all that it wanted before losing by just a 72-64 score and covering the point spread as an 11½-point underdog.

While Indiana can score points on anyone, the Hoosiers are weak defensively this season ranking 256th in the country in defensive efficiency and 245th in effective field goal percentage allowed at an alarming 50.7 percent, and the Scarlet Knights were able to take advantage in that first meeting, especially from beyond the three-point arc where they went 7-for-17, 41.2 percent, which practically matched Indiana as the Hoosiers were 8-for-19, 42.1 percent from downtown.

Myles Mack led the way that day with 24 points including going 4-for-7 from three-point land, and Mack is capable of more of the same here as he leads Rutgers in both points and assists offensively as well as in steals defensively.

Hoosiers Have Not Been Great on Road
Now the second loss of the season to Purdue by Indiana Thursday was just its second home loss of the season (15-2), making the earlier performance by Rutgers in Bloomington seem that much better, but the Hoosiers have had their difficulties while going just 2-5 in true road games this year. In fact, they are on a four-game road losing streak entering this game, which again seems to make giving this many points treacherous.

Sure, Indiana is third in the entire country in three-point shooting overall at 41.4 percent, but that percentage drops to 37.2 percent on the road, where the Hoosiers are shooting only 42.1 percent overall, a far cry from the 47.7 percent that are shooting over all their games this season. And remember also that Indiana’s home numbers are padded as it began the season by playing its first eight games of the year in Bloomington mostly against outclassed non-conference rivals.

In fact the Indiana schedule ranked 319th in the country in non-conference SOS according to the Pomeroy Ratings, so the Hoosiers’ rather shaky road numbers this year could actually be a closer indication of their true ability.

First Visit to New Jersey Inside Big Ten
Finally, looking outside the numbers, it should be a nice atmosphere in Piscataway this evening as a storied program with Indiana’s great history makes its first ever trip to New Jersey as a Big Ten rival!

When you add that up with the Scarlet Knights likely responding to Coach Johnson’s benching of the starters for most of the second half last game and Indiana’s checkered road record, look for Rutgers to give the Hoosiers all that they can handle for the second time this season and cover as decided home underdogs on Sunday.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Rutgers +7 (-115)

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