Tourney Underdog Value: Two Diamonds In The Rough For Thursday

Ross Benjamin

Thursday, March 17, 2016 1:41 PM GMT

Our analyst shares his top two NCAA Tournament underdog plays on Thursday’s card. He’s been a stellar 21-9 (70%) with his NCAA basketball underdog picks over the past fourteen betting days.

Arkansas-Little Rock vs. Purdue 4:30 PM ET
Little Rock won’t be in awe of the moment. They’ve had success this season versus power conference teams. They defeated a very good San Diego State team on the road by 6, and also won at Tulsa by 4. They possess an outstanding 29-4 overall record. Their worse loss was by 12 at Texas Tech, and its three conference defeats came by a combined 13 points.

A prerequisite of mine when it comes to underdog value in the NCAA Tournament, involves having a very good defensive team. Little Rock certainly fits that team profile. They’re #2 nationally in scoring defense, allowing a paltry 59.6 points per contest. In addition, Little Rock is #9 in field goal percentage defense. They’ve held opponents to a mere 38.8% shooting this season.

I’ve often alluded to the fact, that the great equalizer for a college basketball underdog is an ability to knock down a high percentage of three point shots. Once again Little Rock fits that bill. They’re #18 nationally in that category by making 38.8% of its three point attempts.

There’s not much for me to poke holes at when assessing Purdue. They’re efficient on both ends of the floor, and are an excellent rebounding team. However, I see this as a dangerous spot for the Boilermakers, and I fully expect this game to be much closer than many would anticipate.

The current (9:45 AM ET) NCAA Tournament odds provide me with a best combination of number and price for this wager.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Arkansas-Little Rock +9
Best Line Offered: at Bovada

 

UT-Chattanooga vs. Indiana 7:10 PM ET
Chattanooga proved earlier this season they can play with, and also succeed, when playing against teams from high profile conferences. After all, they won on the road versus Georgia, Illinois, and Dayton. The Moccasins enter the NCAA Tournament with an excellent 29-5 overall record, and they won’t be an easy out for the Hoosiers on Thursday.

Indiana is the Big Ten regular season champion to many experts surprise. However, they were eliminated of the conference tournament in an upset loss to Michigan. The Hoosiers were 17-0 on their home floor this season, and were also an extremely profitable 12-5 ATS in those contests. However, they went a mediocre 8-7 in away and neutral site games, in addition to going a dismal 5-10 ATS in those contests.

Indiana is a superb three point shooting team at 41.5% for the season, and that’s 5th best in the country. Contrarily, Chattanooga has allowed its opponent to convert on only 29.0% of their three point shots over its previous five games. That’s hardly a fluke considering they’re a very good 32.4% in that category on the season.

I really like the underdog value in this contest, and one of my Thursday NCAA Tournament picks will be further proof of just that.

[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":2999601, "sportsbooksIds":[1096,93,19,92,238,169], "LineTypeId":1, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]
NCAA Basketball Pick: UT-Chattanooga +12
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes