We consider Thursday night's Seton Hall vs. South Florida match-up to be our best total pick for the day as it features two teams that struggle from the free-throw line signalling “UNDER.”
The Betting Line
Most of the college basketball betting market opened this game with Seton Hall favored by six points, the total proffered at 137. In the early betting many books dropped the spread to five points, and the total to 135 (still available at BookMaker).
Pirates-Bulls: The Lowdown
Seton Hall is off to an 8-1 start, although it hasn’t really played anybody of any note, outside of Wichita State, which it lost to 77-68 nine days ago. Sunday the Pirates got back to winning with a 67-52 decision over St. Peter's.
Sunday's game played UNDER its total of 126; it was also the sixth time this season Seton Hall had held an opponent to 60 points or less.
The Pirates are shooting 46 percent from the floor this season and 40 percent from 3-point range, but just 64 percent from the FT line. Seton Hall is also holding foes to 38.5 percent FG shooting, and just 30 percent from long range.
South Florida started 5-1 this season, and the one loss came in a tough 68-65 decision at North Carolina State that played UNDER its total of 141. The Bulls shot 47 percent from the floor in that game, and held the Wolfpack to just 37 percent shooting.
South Florida has lost its last three games, most recently a 68-63 decision to Georgia Southern. The Bulls again played some decent defense, holding the Eagles to 44 percent shooting, but shot just 42 percent themselves.
So while USF is averaging just under 70 points per game on the season, it's only averaging 64 PPG over its last three outings.
The Bulls are shooting 48 percent from the floor this season, but just 29 percent from long range and 65 percent from the charity stripe. USF is also limiting foes to 39 percent FG shooting.
Finally, these teams met twice two seasons ago, when both were still in the Big East Conference, and both those games devolved into defensive struggles. Seton Hall won the first game at home 55-47, as the teams combined to make 40 field goals in 40 minutes of play. That game played UNDER its total of 123. And in the second game the Pirates beat the Bulls in an ugly affair in the conference tournament at Madison Square Garden 46-42 in overtime. That game, despite five extra minutes, played way UNDER its total of 117.
The total on Thursday's game opened at right around 137, then fell to 135.5. And while we don't usually like going with the betting flow, in this spot it looks like the right call, because both teams can play some defense, and both teams struggle from the FT line. And 12-15 missed free-throws would go a long way toward keeping this game UNDER its NCAA basketball odds total.
Free College Basketball Total Pick: South Florida UNDER 135.5 at YouWager