Tennessee Tech is the NCAA Basketball Pick as Underdog

LT Profits Sports Group

Monday, February 16, 2015 3:50 PM GMT

Monday, Feb. 16, 2015 3:50 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 Monday.

 

This in-state rivalry game Monday night may be more important to the underdogs when those Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles (12-14, 2-11 away) pay a visit to the East Tennessee State Buccaneers (15-10, 9-4 home) at the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center in Johnson City, TN at 7:00 ET with live streaming available at socondigitalnetwork.com.

The point spread at Bet365 has Tennessee Tech as a road underdog for this contest with the current line at +6 with odds of -110.


Late Non-Conference Affair
It is rare that a non-conference game takes place this late in the season with many teams having just a few conference games left, and East Tennessee State is seemingly in the worst spot here. You see, ETSU is 15-10 overall and in fourth place in the Southern Conference at 8-7, and other than bragging rights in the state of Tennessee, this game does not mean much to the Buccaneers with a date with a Chattanooga team second in the Southern at 11-3 up next.

Meanwhile Tennessee Tech is just fourth in the East Division of the Ohio Valley Conference at 4-9, so it can afford taking this state rivalry contest more seriously. The Golden Eagles had been the winning NCAA Basketball picks in two straight games, buy they failed to make it three straight as they fell 82-68 at Jacksonville State on Saturday to fall to 12-14 overall.


Big Southern Conference Battle Next for ETSU
And besides possibly looking ahead to that big game with Chattanooga, we are not so sure the Buccaneers deserve this much home favoritism to begin with. Even with a winning 8-7 conference record, East Tennessee State is ranked 214th overall on the Pomeroy Ratings and some leaky defense makes it hard to back ETSU as a rather decided favorite.

In fact, the 72.4 points per game the Buccaneers are allowing overall is a shade worse than the 72.0 points they are averaging offensively. The Bucs are 264th in the country in defensive efficiency and 289th in effective field goal percentage allowed at 51.9 percent. East Tennessee is especially weak at interior defense ranking 274th in two-point defense at 50.6 percent, and much of that has to do with ranking 340th out of 351 Division I teams in average height.

Yes the Bucs grade out better offensively where they are 160th in efficiency and 92nd in effective field goal percentage at 50.8 percent, but they do not figure to get many second opportunities in this game, as ETSU is only 233rd in offensive rebounding percentage at 29.3 percent vs. a national average of 31.1 percent, while Tennessee Tech is a good 95th in defensive rebounding percentage allowing opponents to grab their own missed shots only 29.2 percent of the time.


Golden Eagles are CIT or CBI Dreaming
Tennessee Tech has had some good seasons inside the Ohio Valley in recent years, but that is not the case this year barring a hot run in the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament. However, at 12-14 overall, the Golden Eagles need all the wins they can get to get over .500, which might earn them an invite to a minor post-season tournament such as the CIT or CBI.

And it is not as if East Tennessee State has some humongous talent advantage as Tennessee Tech is ranked 255th overall on Pomeroy, 190th in offensive efficiency and 287th in defensive efficiency, all fairly comparable to the Buccaneers’ rankings. And the underdog Golden Eagles figure to have the rebounding advantage on both ends of the court.

That is because besides the aforementioned edge Tech should have on ETSU’s offensive glass, the Eagles are an excellent 36th in offensive rebounding percentage themselves at a nice 36.0 percent while East Tennessee State is 267th in defensive rebounding percentage. Thus the Golden Eagles could successfully use their height advantage on both boards.


Money-Burning Buccaneers
Finally, few teams in the entire country have burned betting tickets more than East Tennessee State has. That is because ETSU is 7-19-1 ATS in its last 27 games overall, as well as 8-20 ATS in its last 28 home games!

With the talent gap between these schools not really that big and with this game probably meaning a bit more to a Tennessee Tech team that would take any kind of win even if it is non-conference, look for the ATS struggles of East Tennessee State to continue at home with a Golden Eagles’ cover on Monday.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Tennessee Tech +6 (-110)

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