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 Thursday.
Perhaps the most surprising undefeated team in the country gets an acid test Thursday night, but the points may still be worth taking when those unbeaten TCU Horned Frogs (7-0, 0-0 away) pay a visit to the Mississippi Rebels (5-1, 2-1 home) as part for the SEC/Big 12 Challenge from C. M. Tad Smith Coliseum in Oxford, MS at 9:00 ET in a game televised nationally on ESPNU.
The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has TCU as a road underdog for this contest with the current line at +5½ with odds of -105.
Yet to Leave Texas
TCU comes off of a season where it went 0-18 in Big 12 play after starting the season 9-3 out of conference, and while the Horned Frogs are now very experienced, nobody could have expected this 7-0 non-conference start. It bears mentioning however that TCU has yet to leave the state of Texas, winning its first five games at home before winning two games in a tournament in Corpus Christi this past Thursday and Friday.
Mississippi did not have the best start this season as it was the losing NCAA Basketball pick here at home to a Charleston Southern team ranked 192nd on the Pomeroy Ratings to open the year, although to their credit the Rebels did regroup by winning their last five games including beating two good teams in Creighton and Cincinnati in the Emerald Coast Classic in Florida on Friday and Saturday.
TCU figured to improve a bit over last season, not that there was any other direction to go but up, as besides returning four starters including leading scorer Kyan Anderson, the Horned Frogs added a quality transfer in Trey Zeigler after he averaged 15.6 points at Central Michigan and they also got 6-foot-8 junior forward Devonta Abron back after he sat out all of last year. Additionally they added some frontcourt depth with Chris Washburn transferring in from UTEP.
But the biggest reason for the TCU turnaround has been the play of the defense, as that unit is ranked 18th in the country in points against at 54.7 per game and an amazing ninth in effective field goal percentage allowed at 38.6 percent. Granted the schedule has not been daunting but the Horned Frogs do come off of their best win vs. tonight’s opponent’s in-state SEC rival, beating Mississippi State 61-52 at Corpus Christi while holding the Bulldogs to 36.5 percent shooting.
If that defense continues and TCU can take it on the road, the Horned Frogs should usually provide value as decided underdogs like they are tonight.
Consistency Not Ole Miss Forte
Granted Ole Miss is 5-1, but consistency has not been a strong suit. Such was also the case last year, when the Rebels went 19-14 in a season that included losses to 208th ranked Mississippi State and 121st ranked Texas A&M, and it has already been the case this year for a team that was able to beat Creighton and yet lost to the likes of Charleston Southern at home.
The Rebels lost leading scorer Marshall Henderson from last season’s squad after he ranked third in the country with this astounding 129 three-point baskets, and his departure has been obvious as Mississippi is 287th in the country after six games in three-point shooting at just 28.4 percent, and that does not figure to change tonight the way TCU is playing defense right now.
In fact Ole Miss is just 160th in effective field goal percentage overall, which makes it tough to give this many points to a good defensive team.
Road ATS Success Last Season
Finally, as awful as the Horned Frogs were on the court last season, they actually went 7-3 ATS over their last 10 road games. Giving all out effort was never a problem under Coach Trent Johnson and now the added experience and infusion of some nice transfers has resulted in that hustle producing better results.
The Horned Frogs may or may not remain undefeated in their first true road test of the season, but their defense should be enough to allow them to cover this point spread in any event in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge in Mississippi on Thursday.
NCAA Basketball Pick: TCU +5½ (-105)