Toledo Rockets to Fly High is the NCAA Basketball Pick

LT Profits Sports Group

Friday, January 9, 2015 2:45 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.

 

It is a Friday night MAC cross-divisional showdown when the Akron Zips (10-4, 0-2 away) of the East Division pay a visit to the Toledo Rockets (8-6, 5-2 home) of the West Division at Savage Arena in Toledo, OH at 7:00 ET in a game televised nationally on ESPNU.

The point spread at Bet365 has Toledo as a home favorite for this contest with the current line at -6 with odds of -110.


Different Results in MAC Openers
After going a spiffy 9-4 during non-conference play including nice win over South Carolina on a neutral floor in Charleston,. Akron opened up MAC play with its 10th win of the young season downing Western Michigan authoritatively back home 72-52 on Tuesday, thanks to 48.2 percent shooting including making a blistering 60.7 percent (17-for-28) of its two-point attempts.

Toledo fell to 8-6 after being the losing NCAA Basketball pick here at home 65-62 to Central Michigan, also on Tuesday. Despite both the overall and conference records of these teams, it is Toledo that enters this game ranked higher on the Pomeroy Ratings, in fact ranking in the Top 100 at 95th while Akron is ranked 129th despite its double-digit wins.


Solid on Both Ends of Court
One reason for the higher ranking is that the Rockets faced the more daunting schedule, losing to the likes of Duke, VCU and Oregon all on the road during non-conference play, even covering the point spreads at Duke and VCU! And the Central Michigan team that Toledo lost to in the MAC opener is a fellow Pomeroy 100 team at number 90. Yet despite that tough slate Toledo grades out solidly on both ends of the court.

Now the Rockets are not a team that will blow you away in any one category, but they are not really weak in any area either. Toledo is ranked 70th in offensive efficiency while ranking 60th in effective field goal percentage at 51.9 percent, thanks to hitting a very good 38.0 percent of its three-point shots and 49.4 percent of its two-pointers.

Toledo is also 138th in adjusted defensive efficiency, but it is still above average yielding 99.1 points per 100 possessions (adjusted) vs. a national average of 100.4 points. And keep in mind the type of schedule that the Rockets accumulated those figures against.


Have Not Beaten Much
Conversely, besides the win vs. a South Carolina team ranked 29th on Pomeroy, none of the other nine Akron wins have come to a team ranked higher than 152nd, including the opening MAC home win over 160th ranked Western Michigan. On the other hand, three of the four Zips’ losses have come to teams ranked 110th or worse in Penn State, Middle Tennessee State and North Dakota State, with only a defeat to the Miami Hurricanes considered a “good” loss.

And despite that relatively weak slate, it is much easier to find flaws in the Akron profile than in Toledo. For starters, the Zips do not figure to match that uncommon shooting performance vs. WMU here as this is a team that is still shooting only 41.8 percent from the field overall, ranking 183rd in effective field goal percentage and 252nd in two-point percentage at 45.2 percent, making the 60.7 percent from close range Tuesday even more anomalous.

And perhaps the most important mismatch in this game is the aforementioned good Toledo three-point shooting vs. an Akron team ranked 271st in three-point defense allowing a 36.4 percent success rate.


Unproven on Road
Finally, this is only the third true road game for the Zips so far and they are winless in their first two road tests vs. two teams (Penn State and North Dakota State) ranked lower than Toledo on Pomeroy. And Akron does not have a good recent track record away from home, now standing at 2-9 ATS in its last 11 road games going back to last season.

Thus, while Toledo being favored by six points may seem “fishy” at initial glance looking at the records of these teams, the line make more sense after closer inspection and we are expecting the Rockets to make enough three-pointers to win rather safely hosting Akron on Friday.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Toledo -6 (-110)