Boise State, San Diego State Chalk in Tough Mountain West Quarters Clashes

Jay Pryce

Thursday, March 8, 2018 12:49 PM UTC

Thursday, Mar. 8, 2018 12:49 PM UTC

If you’re looking for some thrilling betting action, take a stab at a pair of games in the Mountain West men’s basketball quarterfinals Thursday as San Diego State takes on Fresno State and Boise State clashes with Utah State.

San Diego State (-3.5) vs. Fresno State

Fresno State (21-10 SU, 13-14 ATS) has the blueprint to playing San Diego State (19-10 SU, 17-10 ATS) tough. Under head coach Rodney Terry, the Bulldogs are 10-3 ATS (6-7 SU), covering a 7.0 average line by 4.7 points per game. Stout defense is the foundation. Fresno yields 65.9 points per game (64.6 since the shot clock change) on 43.5 percent shooting.

Terry’s men play an aggressive man-to-man almost exclusively. Adjusting to starting point guard Jaron Hopkins’ absence is a chore. The senior leader, posting 11.4 points, 3.1 assists, and 1.4 steals per contest, went down for the year just three games ago after injuring his foot in a 78-68 home loss to Wyoming. Opponents are taking advantage of the Bulldogs’ weakened backcourt, generating more opportunities off the dribble and driving to the hoop. Increased fouling is the result. In the five halve with Hopkins out, opponents are scoring 33.7 percent of their points from the charity stripe vs. 20.4 percent prior.

The Aztecs have found their rhythm at the right time, going 6-0 SU and 5-1 ATS to close out the regular season. The offense is scoring 78.3 points per game on 47.9 percent shooting during the run. This is more impressive considering it is draining just 34.1 percent from behind the arc. San Diego State fields five players standing 6-foot-9 or taller, each averaging more than 10 minutes per game. The superior height advantage makes it one of the most efficient teams around the basket, sinking 66.1 percent of their opportunities near the rim (37th nationally). The Aztecs believe they are primed to win the tourney:

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.@Aztec_MBB didn't win 6 straight games by accident. Go inside their practice and watch them work.

Aztec Basketball with Brian Dutcher

— FOX Sports San Diego (@FOXSportsSD) March 5, 2018

Hopkins, seasoned, athletic, and standing 6-foot-6, was a matchup nightmare on both ends of the court. Fresno is out of sorts with him missing, dropping two of three to close out the year. The Aztecs, too, have struggled with consistency all season. They haven’t faired well outside Viejas Arena against good teams, going 1-7 SU and 2-6 ATS vs. opponents with a 150 RPI or less. San Diego State yields 80.1 points per game under these conditions. Look for this matchup to go against the grain in the series, which is defense-first typically, and cash the ‘over’ 140 points. Both teams push 70-plus with plenty of fouls stopping the clock.

Free NCAAB Pick: OverBest Line Offered: BetOnline

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Boise State (-7) vs. Utah State

Boise State (23-7 SU, 14-14 ATS), second choice to win the Mountain West tournament at +275, has had plenty of trouble against +4000 shot Utah State (16-16 SU, 14-15 ATS) recently. Under head coach Leon Rice, the Broncos are 7-6 SU and 3-10 ATS in the series, failing to cover a -2.6 average line by 4.3 points per game. Also, if you’re sitting on a Boise State futures ticket, do know it hasn’t made it past the semifinals since joining the conference in 2011.

Still, this is easily the best Broncos team in recent memory with senior guard Chandler Hutchison carrying the team. The NBA prospect is the only Mountain West player to rank in the top 10 in conference in scoring (19.5 ppg), rebounds (7.6) and assists (3.5). When Hutchison shoots greater than 40 percent in a game, the Broncs have won 15 of 17 contests. Utah State will do well to double team.

The Aggies roll out a slew of talented guards who can shoot. They epitomize living and dying by the three, firing up 45.8 percent of their shots from behind the arc. This ranks as the 25th-highest rate in the country. Backing the team in the betting market has proven profitable when up against opponents yielding few from the area. Versus those allowing less than seven 7.0 treys per game, Utah State is 10-3 ATS, covering a 4.7 average line by 3.2 points per game. The Aggies have won four of eight outright as a single-digit underdog in this spot. Boise enters allowing 6.7 per game.

It’s tough to predict when a team will get hot from behind the arc, but Utah State tends to more than most. It has kept the Broncos within 6 points in five of six matchups in the series behind coach Tim Duryea. Look for another close defeat here. Take the 7 points with Aggies as your best bet.

Live bettors, check out SBR's March Madness Betting Headquarters for your best real-time options, and make it a daily stop this tournament season to receive the latest and greatest information, picks, and updated lines during the college basketball championships.

Free NCAAB Pick: USUBest Line Offered: Bookmaker

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