Gaels & Lions Open WCC Play With 'Over' Winner

LMU players in action

Willie Bee

Thursday, December 29, 2016 1:56 PM GMT

Thursday, Dec. 29, 2016 1:56 PM GMT

Conference action is in full-swing now, and we've got a free college basketball pick for one of the games taking us into the weekend as Saint Mary's visits Loyola Marymount.

Listen up all you night owls out there, as well as some of you college basketball bettors who might be chasing bad beats late into the evening. Thursday gives you an opportunity to catch one of the best and longest-running rivalries most folks don't even know about when the Saint Mary's Gaels visit the Loyola Marymount Lions in one of the final contests of the card.

Gersten Pavilion in Los Angeles is the site for this West Coast Conference opener for both sides, the matchup available via ESPNU starting at 11 PM (ET). BetOnline sent this one out with the Gaels laying 11½ before overnight wagering pushed the mark up to an even dozen. Scoreboard players are looking at 126 for the total.

 

Teams Share Common Opponent & Loss To UT-Arlington

Saint Mary's (10-1 straight up, 5-2-1 against the spread) spent most of the non-conference schedule in Moraga but did venture out for true road games twice. Randy Bennett's bunch went to Dayton as 2 point favorites on the NCAA basketball odds in mid-November, holding on for a 61-57 victory. The Gaels also covered as road chalk at Stanford just after Thanksgiving with a 66-51 decision.

Loyola Marymount (7-4 SU, 5-3 ATS) came out of the gate slow by losing three of its first five before Mike Dunlap's group turned things around to win five of the last six. A big reason for the recent surge in the win column has been the play of Brandon Brown, the team's leading scorer (15.4 ppg). The senior guard has reached the 20-point plateau in four of the last half-dozen trips to the floor, though he was cold in the other two combining for just 13 points.

One thing the Gaels and Lions have in common is they both dropped a game to UT-Arlington. The defeat remains Saint Mary's only loss, the Gaels falling at home as 15 point favorites vs. the Mavericks about three weeks ago while LMU dropped an 80-77 decision as small underdogs here in LA just a few days before Christmas.

 

'Under' On 4-Game Run In Series

When fans and bettors first think of WCC rivalries, it's only natural for Saint Mary's and Gonzaga to come to mind first. But the Gaels and Lions have been going at for quite some time now with tonight's tangle in Tinseltown marking the 141st meeting. Saint Mary's has moved out to a commanding 86-54 advantage in the series by winning the last nine contests, including three a season ago. Loyola Marymount did manage to cover two of the losses, one coming in the conference tourney, and the last four matchups failed to make it to the O/U marks.

Both teams come into the tilt sporting 2-5 O/U marks on the season, and with the series trend suggesting the low side of the total, that's the direction I'd normally go with my free college basketball pick. But this time, the scoreboard hurdle has been set too low, so put me down for a play on the 'over' tonight in LA.

 

Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Over 126Best Line Offered: at BetOnline

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