Expect Line to Move Heavily Towards Saint Mary's vs. Harvard

Mark Lathrop

Wednesday, November 22, 2017 9:51 PM UTC

Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2017 9:51 PM UTC

Our NCAAB handicapper Mark Lathrop has a Thanksgiving special to give us as we enjoy some sports on television along with our turkey dinners. Read on as he spots excellent value in a neutral court matchup featuring the Saints Mary's Gaels.

2017-18 NCAAB Record: 6-1 (+4.95 Units)

Free NCAAB Pick: SMC -12Best Line Offered: BetOnline

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Harvard vs. Saint Mary's

The Harvard Crimson travel to Fullerton, Calif., to face the Saint Mary’s Gaels in what must seem like punishment for their Thanksgiving holiday. The Crimson are fresh off of back-to-back road losses to Holy Cross and Manhattan with identical scores of 73-69. They sit at 2-2 after beating MIT and UMass at home. Saint Mary’s has yet to be challenged in putting together its 4-0 record against St. Francis, New Mexico State, CSU Fullerton and San Jose State. The Gaels have beaten all of those teams by double digits. The line has opened surprisingly low in my opinion at -10.5, and in the time I’ve written this sentence has moved to 12. That is a quite literal explanation as that line move happened in the span of 10 minutes.

Harvard struggles to score and rebound with just 70.25 points per game and a ranking of 206th in total rebounds in the NCAA. The Crimson also rank 287th in field-goal percentage at 40.5 and 291st in 3-point percentage at 29.2. Their roster is full of underclassmen, and their leading scorer is 6-foot sophomore guard, Bryce Aiken, who puts up 16.8 points per game. Along with sophomore 6’ 5” guard, Justin Bassey, the backcourt duo has an issue with turning the ball over and combined for 13 of the team’s 23 giveaways in the loss to Holy Cross. Turnovers are what can create a lopsided loss, especially against a team that shoots better than you. Harvard also is undersized on the front court, and 6’ 11” sophomore forward Robert Baker doesn’t appear to be ready for prime time yet in averaging 12 minutes per game.

Saint Mary’s has a roster full of capable upperclassmen who shoot well and protect the ball. They average less than 7 turnovers per game and their 6’ 6” junior guard, Tanner Krebs, hasn’t turned the ball over yet while averaging 28 minutes per game. Mississippi transfer gaurd Cullen Neal hasn’t turned the ball over in 2 games straight. The Gaels  have combined ball protection and a higher shooting percentage into lopsided wins. Saint Mary's shoots 52.1% from the floor, ranking 30th in the country, and shoots 43.8% from 3-point range, which is good for 22nd. Surprisingly, the Gaels are ranked near the bottom of college basketball in rebounds. That is a ruse, though, with their star center, 6’ 11” Jock Landale shooting 61.2% from the floor and 6’ 6” Calvin Hermanson shooting 71.4%. The ball is going through the cylinder on offense.

I personally expected this line to come out in the range of -18 favoring the Gaels. I’ll consider the value presented here at -12 as an early Thanksgiving gift, while taking Saint Mary's as my Thursday NCAAB Pick.

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