NCAA Basketball Picks: Back BYU (+5) To Take St. Mary's To The Wire

Charles Stark

Thursday, December 31, 2015 2:29 PM GMT

Thursday, Dec. 31, 2015 2:29 PM GMT

St. Mary's has come out on fire this year going 11-1 to start the season with their only loss at a very good California team on the road. Tonight they host another good team in BYU that can hang with most teams in the country, and it seems that NCAA Basketball odds makers have noticed that.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: BYU +5 

Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes 

 

Betting Odds
NCAA Basketball odds makers have come out making BYU +5.5 an underdog to get -105 at Bookmaker. This is some good value on a good Cougars team even though they are on the road in a tough environment. St. Mary's is still on Christmas holiday though so the atmosphere might not be as electric as it normally is at their small home gym when school is in session. For my NCAA Basketball picks today, although I like St. Mary's this season, this is good value on BYU so I will back them in this spot.

 

BYU Cougars
BYU is averaging 82.6 points per game while shooting 46.7% from the field, and allowing 74.3 points per game on 41.5% shooting from the field. This BYU team is really talented this season and have four guys averaging double figures. They have played really well on their true road games this season losing just by one point at Long Beach State in their second game of the year, and then by single digits at both Utah and Colorado, two very good basketball teams. Offensively you know what you're going to get with BYU, a team that loves the push the tempo and shoot the three pointer averaging 38.3% from distance. That tempo can produce a lot of buckets as they average 29.8 field goals made per game which ranks 20th in the country. Defensively they allow their opponents to run up and down with them to play at the pace that they are comfortable with, and we should see that tonight. They don't defend beyond the arc particularly well allowing 37.5% from distance, but they have been decent in opponent shooting percentage allowing just 44.2% on opponent two point shooting. They are very familiar with St. Mary's and should be able to take this game to the wire.

 

St. Mary's Gaels
Despite the Gaels strong start to the season they are not a big favorite in this matchup for reason.

St. Mary's is averaging 79.6 points per game while shooting 54.2% from the field, and allowing 57.5 points per game on 37.9% shooting from the field. Offensively they rank first in the country in overall shooting percentage, shooting efficiency, and hitting 47.1% from beyond the arc. Defensively they also rank as one of the best teams in the country ranking third in scoring defense and first in opponent total rebounds per game. On top of all that they allow just 39.5% in opponent two point shooting which ranks sixth in the country. All this is surprising considering how much they lost from last year's team, but the new core group of players have stepped up and have been playing fantastic. The issue with them though is their strength of schedule, which has not been much outside of that road game at Cal. They did beat a decent Stanford and Irvine team at home pretty handedly, but neither of those teams are as good as BYU in my opinion.

This game is going down to the wire and for one of your NCAA Basketball picks I recommend taking the points with BYU. This a very good team that should matchup with St. Mary's very well and should be successful putting the ball on the basket. Expect an up-tempo game that goes to the buzzer.

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