Take Loyola-Maryland ATS Over Boston U As Your NCAA Basketball Pick

LT Profits Sports Group

Monday, January 18, 2016 6:12 PM UTC

Monday, Jan. 18, 2016 6:12 PM UTC

It's Monday, meaning that there is Patriot League action with Loyola (MD) seemingly offering nice underdog value vs. Boston U for our NCAA basketball picks.

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Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Loyola-Maryland +7
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle


It could be a much closer game than the point spread suggests in Monday night Patriot League action when the Loyola-Maryland Greyhounds (4-12, 1-0 ATS) pay a visit to the Boston University Terriers (9-0, 1-0 ATS) at Case Gym in Boston, MA at 7:30 ET in a game televised nationally on CBS Sports Network.

The point spread at 5Dimes NCAA basketball odds board has Loyola-Maryland as a decided underdog for this contest with the current line at +7 with odds of -103.


Three of Four Wins Were in Conference
Boston U. opened up as an eight-point favorite in this contest, but Loyola has taken some sharp early money with the line drop to the current +7 at 5 Dimes. The Greyhounds may be off to just a 4-12 start overall, but keep in mind that they went 1-10 vs. a good non-conference schedule ranked 67th in SOS according to the Pomeroy Ratings, including four games vs. the Pomeroy Top 100. Loyola-Maryland has since posted a 3-2 record in conference play.

Boston University went 7-6 out of conference, but that was vs. a non-conference SOS ranked just 230th as the Terriers faced only one Pomeroy 100 team. That soft opening slate may have affected them as they then began 0-3 inside the Patriot League before being the winning NCAA basketball picks in their last two games to improve to 2-3 in the conference and even up their overall mark at 9-9.


No Defensive Pressure
The Terriers do not grade out particularly on either end of the court ranking 222nd in offensive efficiency and 244th in defensive efficiency, and as mentioned that is despite not facing a difficult schedule so far outside of one Pomeroy 100 game at Kentucky.

Boston U. is actually a good 88th in effective field goal percentage, but that has gotten offset by excessive sloppiness as the Terriers are 278th in offensive turnover percentage at 20.1 percent vs. a national average of 18.5 percent, and they also hardly get any second chances ranking 291st in offensive rebounding percentage at 25.6 percent vs. a national average of 30.1 percent.

As if that was not enough of a reason to avoid giving seven points with this team, consider also that the defense has applied virtually no pressure ranking 237th in defensive turnover percentage at 17.6 percent. As a result, even with the new 30-second shot clock, opponents’ possessions have averaged 18.0 seconds thus far.


Greyhounds Can Shorten Game
That plays right into the hands of Loyola-Maryland, as the Greyhounds are naturally methodical on offense averaging 18.5 seconds per possession. Thus we feel that Loyola should have no trouble shortening this game by milking clock while playing at its usual plodding pace here, which is a positive trait for a decided underdog.

Sure that pace has resulted in the Greyhounds averaging only 68.2 points per game, but another factor in that average was the good non-conference schedule. That is not to say that the Greyhounds are a good shooting team, because they are not, but something they have done well is get to the foul line often, especially since the start of conference play as they have a high 42.4 percent FTA/FGA ratio vs. Patriot League foes.

And that is certainly a good thing with Loyola ranking a good 84th in the land in free throw shooting at 72.1 percent.


Loyola Defense Shining Through in Conference
Finally, a quick glance at the Loyola defensive numbers would lead one to assume that the Greyhounds are defensively challenged, ranking 272nd in the nation in points against at 75.9 per game. However, after allowing 80.5 points per game during the 1-10 non-conference start, they are allowing just 65.6 points per game inside the Patriot League, ranking third in the conference during league play in defensive efficiency and leading in effective field goal percentage against!

With this in mind, look for the stiff defense by Loyola-Maryland to continue vs. another conference opponent, leading to a nice ATS cover as a decided underdog when visiting Boston University on Monday night.

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