Back this 8-Pt. Favorite with your NCAA Basketball Pick Tonight

Darin Zank

Monday, December 15, 2014 6:56 PM GMT

San Francisco is 5-4 this season but just 2-4 against the spread; Cal Poly SLO is 3-4 straight up but just 1-4 ATS. These two teams haven't done much to inspire betting confidence so far.

Mustangs-Dons Betting Odds
Most NCAA Basketball odds opened this game with San Francisco favored by nine points, but dropped that spread to -8 in the early betting.

Those willing to take a chance could get +340 on the moneyline on a Cal Poly victory at 5Dimes.

 

Cal Poly Slo Mustangs vs. San Francisco Dons: The Match-Up
San Francisco returned three starters this season from a team that went 21-12 and made the NIT last year. But the two starters they lost combined to average 28 points and 10 boards per game last year, so there was a production hole to be filled.

San Francisco opened this season 3-0, with an 88-73 win and cover over Hawaii, then lost back-to-back games to Florida Gulf Coast and Evansville, going 0-2 ATS as a pick 'em and a one-point dog. The Dons then beat Montana 76-57, covering as nine-point favorites, but lost at Colorado 72-55 as 11-point underdogs. They then defeated Houston Baptist 85-54 but last time out, last Thursday, lost at home to Eastern Washington 81-76, losing straight up as five-point favorites.

The Dons outshot the Eagles from the floor 48 percent to 42 percent, but shot just 16-for-30 from the free-throw line and committed 15 turnovers.

On the dogged side of this match-up Cal Poly returned just two starters from a team that went 14-20, but won the Big West tournament to make its first-ever trip to the NCAA tournament. However, the three guys they lost combined to average 27 points and 12 boards per game last season, so as with USF there were holes to fill.

Cal Poly opened this season with a 65-49 loss to Nevada, whiffing on the cover as a three-point dog. The Mustangs then beat San Francisco State 65-44 and Delaware 78-60, covering as an eight-point favorite. Cal Poly then lost at Cal 72-52, and at St. Mary's 82-56, losing ATS both times out as 13-point dogs. And last time out, Saturday night, the Mustangs lost at Fresno State 63-57, coming up short on the spread as four-point underdogs.

Cal Poly shot just 30 percent from the floor Saturday, making just three of 19 shots from beyond the arc, while allowing the Bulldogs to shoot 48 percent. The Mustangs trailed by 10 points with two minutes to go, got to within four with about 40 seconds left, but missed a couple of shots to come up just short of the back-door cover.

Last time out San Francisco started a senior, three juniors and a sophomore, while Cal Poly started two seniors, two juniors and a sophomore.

These teams don't have much a history with each other; the last time they met came back in 2009, a 73-62 San Francisco victory.

 

By the Numbers
On the season Cal Poly is shooting just 36 percent from the floor, 26 percent from 3-point range and 72 percent from the FT line. But the Mustangs are also limiting opponents to just 39 percent FG shooting.

Also, Cal Poly is only turning the ball over a little more than six times per game, which is best in all of D-1 college basketball.

San Francisco is shooing 48 percent from the floor, 38 percent from long range but a miserable 57 percent from the line. The Dons are also holding foes to just 39 percent FG shooting.

 

Mustangs-Dons Betting Trends
Cal Poly games have averaged just 121 points this season.

USF games have averaged 139 points.

 

Mustangs-Dons Free Pick
This is a tough one, because while we like San Francisco to win this game, its inability to shoot free-throws scares us. A good way to piss away a cover is to miss free-throws down the stretch. But the Dons are the better team, and hopefully they've been practicing their charity shots over the weekend. Is Rick Barry available? So we'll give the points and go with USF for our NCAA Basketball Pick.

Free College Basketball Pick: Dons -8 at Pinnacle