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Free Sports Picks: Austin Peay Looks for Upset in Ohio Valley Tournament

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Oskeim Sports previews Friday’s Ohio Valley Conference Tournament game between Austin Peay and Belmont. Oskeim recommends grabbing the points with the Governors as one of his free sports picks for March 8.

Austin Peay applies to a very good 147-91-8 ATS (61.8%) contrarian system of mine that invests on certain college basketball teams with a sub.-500 against-the-spread record over their last eight games., provided they are matched up against an opponent off two or more consecutive against-the-spread wins.

The Governors are a profitable 15-5 ATS in their last 20 neutral site games and came within four points of taking down Belmont earlier this season.

Austin Peay owns quality wins over Troy (79-74), Liberty (75-66) and Jacksonville State (74-71) while taking Murray State to the wire last month. The Governors possess a potent attack that is averaging 82.7 points per game on 47.4% shooting from the field and 38.3% from beyond the arc against teams that would combine to allow 77.3 points per game to a mediocre offense.

The Governors are averaging 86.6 points (39.2% 3-PT%) over their last five contests and finished the regular season with a 47.5% field goal percentage and a 40.0% three-point field goal percentage in conference play.

There is no question that Belmont is the class of the Ohio Valley Conference but the Bruins cannot afford to lose at this stage of the conference tournament if they want to feel comfortable on Selection Sunday.

The pressure is squarely on the Bruins in this game and they have failed to cover the Vegas number in four of their last five neutral-site affairs. Let’s also note that the Bruins are allowing foes to shoot 40.2% from three-point territory in their last five games.

Meanwhile, Austin Peay enters off a convincing 95-81 win over Morehead State and fatigue should not be a factor in light of the fact that the Governors had four days of rest prior to Thursday’s win.

The win snapped a three-game losing streak for the Governors against the Eagles in the OVC Tournament and marked their first win against Morehead State in Ohio Valley Conference Tournament since 1987. Senior Chris Porter-Bunton had one of his best games in an Austin Peay uniform, finishing with career-highs in scoring (27) and field goals (10).

The Governors dominated the boards (46-26 margin) and both Terry Taylor and Jabari McGhee finished with their sixth and 12th double-doubles of the season, respectively. Winning the rebounding battle against Belmont tonight is of paramount importance and head coach Matt Figger understands that fact.

“In tournament play, you’ve got to win the rebounding battle,” Figger said after Thursday’s win. “We were impressive on the glass, especially the offensive glass. That’s been our MO; in the second half, when we weren’t shooting very well, we were relentless on the offensive glass.”

The Governors are averaging over 11 offensive rebounds per game, whereas Belmont is pulling down fewer than 8 offensive boards per game in 2018-19. I also like the fact that Austin Peay finished the regular season with a 71.2% free throw percentage and continued that success Thursday night, tying a season-high in free throws made (27).

Grab the inflated number with Austin Peay as one of Oskeim Sports’ free sports picks for Friday, March 8.

Oskeim Sports’ Free Sports Picks for March 8:

  • Austin Peay (+8.5) over Belmont