NCAA Basketball Picks: Boise State's Winning Streak Will End Against San Diego State

Willie Bee

Saturday, January 16, 2016 6:14 PM UTC

Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016 6:14 PM UTC

Boise State and San Diego State are sharing the top of the Mountain West Conference standings, and we have a free NCAA basketball pick for their Saturday matchup.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: San Diego State +4
Best Line Offered: at Heritage


It's beginning to look like the Mountain West Conference will only get one spot in the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament which is only two months away. Should the league place two in the dance, we get a chance to see that pair in action Saturday night in a showdown of conference unbeatens.

The outright lead in the MVC is on the line when the San Diego State Aztecs visit Boise State for a battle with the Broncos, each team sporting 4-0 records in conference play. It's a big enough clash for ESPN2 to televise the 10 PM (ET) matchup at Taco Bell Arena, and BetOnline introduced its NCAA basketball odds with the Broncos giving up 3½, that spread boosted to -5 by early Saturday morning. Wagering the final score means a decision on a 132½ point total.

If tournament selections were made today, Boise State would be the only team from the conference to be invited to take part in March Madness...and just barely thanks to someone from the Mountain West having to go. The latest RPI list has the Broncos at No. 41, San Diego State twice that at 82. Ken Pomeroy's ratings are less impressed by the league with BSU at 73 and the Aztecs in the same 82 slot.

ESPN's Joe Lunardi is currently projecting the Broncos as a No. 12 seed, the only MWC squad on his chart.


'Under' & Underdog Has Been Way To Go In Series
Though known more for being a football powerhouse, Leon Rice and Boise State are building a reputable roundball program up in Idaho. San Diego State still holds a nice advantage in this rivalry with 10 wins in 13 overall meetings, 7-3 as Mountain West opponents, but the Broncos started to turn that table last year by sweeping two from the Aztecs.

Both Boise State victories last season came as the underdog, holding the Aztecs to 46 points in each contest. In fact, the underdog has covered each of the last four affairs, and seven of 10 in conference play, those meetings including going head to head twice in the league tournament.

Even better than playing the underdog, betting the 'under' when these two schools get together has been even more profitable. The last four matchups never made it to totals in the 117½ to 136½ range, with nine of the 10 MWC collisions cashing against the NCAA basketball odds for 'under' bettors.


Non-Con Upsets Haunting Aztecs
We're not used to seeing San Diego State (11-6 straight up, 5-5-3 against the spread) struggle to be part of the NCAA Tournament after appearances each of the last six years, but Steve Fisher's outfit is paying for three early losses on the non-con schedule. First came a home setback in November to Arkansas-Little Rock as 16½ point chalk followed by a 53-48 defeat to rival San Diego, the Toreros getting 17 points from the sports books.

The one that really hurt the Aztecs, however, was a 52-45 loss a week before Christmas to Grand Canyon, a contest that wasn't even deemed worthy to have a spread. San Diego State seems to have righted the ship with four wins to begin conference play, but will need an upset tonight to start getting back into the picture.

Boise State (13-4 SU, 8-6-1 ATS) has been very tough at home with 17 consecutive wins dating back to last season, the latest Taco Bell triumph last Saturday against Fresno State, one of three consecutive covers for the Broncos. They did drop the cash five straight times before that, four of those contests taking place in Boise.

I'm not one to try and outguess when streaks, Like Boise's home wins, will end, but my free NCAA basketball pick is taking the points and the Aztecs in this one.

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