Easy Under Tonight When BYU Visits Saint Mary's

BYU Cougars player in action

Thursday, January 5, 2017 1:50 PM GMT

An early West Coast Conference showdown is on tonight's card, and we have a free college basketball pick for the battle between BYU and Saint Mary's, read on this article and find out who should get your hard earned dollars this evening.

Season: 19-18-1 (-0.80)

Four teams are atop the early West Coast Conference standings with perfect 2-0 marks. That number will be cut in half by the end of this weekend with the quartet matched up with one another over the next few days, the first of those clashes taking place Thursday night at Saint Mary's where the Gaels host the BYU Cougars.

One of the last games to tip on tonight's card, the Gaels and Cougars can be seen on ESPNU starting at 11 PM (ET), tip-off at McKeon Pavilion a few minutes later. Saint Mary's went out -9, that spread now -10 at BetOnline. Meanwhile, the total has shrunk to 147½ after starting on 149.

 Cougs Missing Two Key Components To Rotation

Dave Rose brings his Brigham Young (11-4 straight up, 6-6 against the spread) bunch to Moraga on a 4-game win streak, the last defeat a tough one in Chicago against Illinois. The 75-73 setback for the Cougars came as 1 point underdogs on the NCAA basketball odds and was part of a 4-game string of 'under' winners. Their two wins in WCC action have been 'over' winners, however, leaving BYU 4-7 O/U on the season.

It's a Cougars crew that suffered a couple of key injuries in non-conference play, first losing guard Elijah Bryant with a torn meniscus just five games into the schedule with no return date yet in sight for the transfer from Elon. Then came another big blow in that loss to the Fighting Illini when senior forward Kyle Davis injured his knee. Davis has now been ruled out for the remainder of the season to end his college career, forcing Rose and BYU to rely more on freshman Yoeli Childs down in the post.

That early-December loss to UT-Arlington remains the only blemish on Saint Mary's (12-1 SU, 6-3-1 ATS) record, the Gaels bouncing back from that upset with 6-straight wins. Both league triumphs have been by identical 72-60 scores, first taking out Loyola-Marymount on the road as 11½ point chalk and then topping San Diego at home last Saturday on a -22 line. Their 74 PPG average isn't among the nation's top marks, but the Gaels are doing it very efficiently with a 50.1% field goal rate, good enough for 8th-best in the country.

 

Home Teams Have Won & Covered Last 4

Half of the 20 previous matchups have come since BYU joined the WCC in 2011, Saint Mary's winning six of those and standing 12-8 overall in the rivalry. The last four meetings have ended in victories for the home teams, each of those dubyas on the court also covers for the winning sides. The contest in Moraga last January was an 85-74 decision in favor of the Gaels who were 6½ point favorites, the second consecutive 'over' winner at McKeon.

There's a big gap in the defenses with SMC undoubtedly the toughest group of defenders BYU has faced so far. I'm looking for a game that finishes in the 130s, making the 'under' an easy play for my free college basketball pick.

Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Under 147½ Best Line Offered: at BetOnline

[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":3100516, "sportsbooksIds":[1096,93,238,19,1275], "LineTypeId":3, "PeriodTypeId":1 }[/]