Bet the Spread for Louisville vs. SMU

Jeff Grant

Wednesday, March 5, 2014 2:17 PM GMT

The SMU Mustangs have compiled a perfect record in front of their home fans this season, as they prepare to take on the Louisville Cardinals Wednesday night. Our handicapper shows us where the best value lies for our college basketball picks.

Let’s take a closer look at the NCAA basketball odds for this American Athletic Conference showdown at Moody Coliseum, with the opening tip scheduled for 7:00 p.m. ET on the CBS Sports Network.

[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":260251, "sportsbooksIds":[43], "LineTypeId":1, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]

A rare loss

College basketball handicappers will find that the program has covered the number just two times in its last nine opportunities following a SU loss.The Cardinals have dropped five of six games versus ranked opponents (at the time of the game).Louisville is 18-3 SU and 17-3-1 ATS in March the last two-plus seasons, but it suffered a 72-66 defeat to the Memphis Tigers as 4.5-point road favorites last Saturday.

Trending upward

SMU will definitely land a spot in the 2014 NCAA Tournament with a victory in this spot, as it tries to build on its current three-game win streak, which includes a 70-55 victory over the UCF Knights as 14.5-point home favorites last Saturday.

The Mustangs are second in the country in field-goal percentage defense, while they pace the AAC in shooting 49.2 percent on the offensive end.

It’s important to point out that the team is 11-4 SU and 11-3-1 ATS versus teams with a winning record during the 2013-14 campaign.

Creating opportunities

The Cardinals are capable road favorites when looking over the SBR Odds page, as they rank second nationally in turnover margin—a statistic that leads directly to fast-break points under longtime head coach Rick Pitino.

Louisville forced SMU to turn the ball over 16 times in its 71-63 victory as 13.5-point home favorites in the first meeting on Jan. 12.

Home-court advantage

The Mustangs enjoy one of the top home-court advantages in all of college basketball, as they’ve compiled a perfect 15-0 SU record in front of their fan base, including a 9-0 mark in the newly-renovated Moody Coliseum.

SMU head coach Larry Brown is currently leading the top NCAA RPI turnaround in the country, as the team has improved 172 spots in that category from last season to this one.

SBR's 2014 NCAA Brackets Contest

Prediction

I’m going to recommend that readers back the Mustangs as one of their NCAA basketball picks, as I established the Cardinal as 1.5-point favorites in this matchup.

Louisville must be respected in terms of the point spread due to its success during this particular month and ability to win on the road under Pitino, but SMU improves to 4-0 ATS when revenging a home loss this year.

College Basketball Pick: SMU Mustangs +2.5