Texas State has been improving over the last 4-6 weeks, winning five of its last seven games. The Bobcats own upset wins over Texas-Arlington (81-73; 8.5-point underdogs), Troy (75-71; 6-point underdogs) and Coastal Carolina (52-50; 3-point underdogs). The road team has also covered the point spread in six consecutive meetings in this series.
The Bobcats are a profitable 7-2 ATS in their last nine games following a loss and 9-4 ATS in their last thirteen games versus teams with a winning record, whereas Georgia State is just 9-20-1 ATS in its last 30 Sun Belt Conference affairs, 4-10-1 ATS in its last fifteen games as a home favorite and 6-16 ATS in its last 22 games versus .501 or greater opposition.
Texas State’s improvement has been predicated upon better play at the defensive end of the floor. The Bobcats are allowing 62.8 points per game to teams that would combine to average 70.8 points per game against a mediocre defense. Texas State is limiting Sun Belt Conference foes to just 63.7 points per game, while yielding 61.6 points in its last five games overall.
The Bobcats’ defense, which is 8.0 points per game better than average, is certainly good enough to slow down a pedestrian Georgia State attack that is 1.3 points per game better than average this season (75.1 points per game against teams that would combine to allow 73.8 points per game). The Panthers are averaging just 71.4 points over their last five games.
The problem for Texas State resides at the offensive end of the floor where the Bobcats are 7.6 points per game worse than average (66.9 points per game against teams that would combine to allow 74.5 points per game). The Bobcats are also averaging a mere 62.8 points in their last five Sun Belt Conference games overall.
Neither team can make free throws as Texas State is shooting 64.4% from the charity stripe, while the Panthers are making 64.6% of their foul shots. However, Texas State takes excellent care of the ball, ranking 31st in the nation in turnovers per game (11.3) and 30th in turnover margin (2.9).
The difference in this game will be Texas State’s 16th-ranked scoring defense versus Georgia State’s middling offense. The Panthers are also coming off a heartbreaking 68-67 loss to Texas-Arlington on a last-second basket. Losers of three straight (1-2 ATS), I don’t see how the Panthers will have the requisite focus to cover the inflated spread in this game.
Take the Texas State Bobcats plus the points as Oskeim Sports’ Free Sun Belt Conference Sports Pick for Monday, February 20.
Oskeim Sports’ Free Sun Belt Conference Sports Pick: Texas State (+7.5)