NCAA Basketball Picks: BYU Cougars -6½ over Pepperdine Waves

LT Profits Sports Group

Monday, December 30, 2013 5:00 AM GMT

Monday, Dec. 30, 2013 5:00 AM GMT

The BYU Cougars look to even their record in conference play after losing their WCC opener, and they may have a nice matchup to do so vs. Pepperdine on Monday.

Two teams with deceptive records square off in WCC play Monday night when the BYU Cougars (8-6, 1-4 away) pay a visit to the Pepperdine Waves (8-5, 4-2 home) at Firestone Fieldhouse in Malibu, CA at 10:00 ET.

The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has BYU as a decided road favorite for this contest with the current line at -6½ with odds of -106.

The Cougars are favored on the road here despite a mediocre 8-6 record and four losses on their last five games, and they have not won on the road since beating Stanford in the second game of the season. BYU even lost its WCC opener at Loyola Marymount 87-76 on Saturday. In spite of that though, the Cougars are ranked a very good 53rd in the country overall on the Pomeroy Ratings.

Pepperdine actually has a slightly better record than the Cougars and the Waves opened up their WCC schedule with a nice 75-64 win here at home on Saturday. However, the Waves are only ranked 188th on Pomeroy, as they grade out terribly defensively despite their record.

Part of the reason why BYU does not have a better record than it does is a difficult schedule that is ranked 28th in the country in SOS overall, and even with that slate, the Cougars grade out nicely on both ends of the court ranking 60th in offensive efficiency and 71st in defensive efficiency. BYU is an excellent three-point shooting team at 39.1 percent and it has done an excellent job of ball protection, ranking 15th in the land in offensive turnover percentage.

On top of that, the Cougars do not allow teams to get many second chances as they are ranked 26th in defensive rebounding percentage, and they should be especially true tonight with Pepperdine ranking 233rd on offensive rebounding percentage. And obviously, the Waves represent a drop in class from the teams that the Cougars have been facing, which also plays into BYU being a decided road favorite over a team that actually has a better record.

The Waves have not faced nearly the caliber of teams that BYU has with an SOS ranked only 266th in the land, and their opening WCC win came vs. a San Diego team ranked 148th overall, so the Cougars represent a step up in class. None of the eight wins by the Waves have come vs. a team currently ranked higher than 109th on the Pomeroy Ratings, and they have three losses to teams ranked 118th or worse including a really bad loss to 234th ranked Cal State Fullerton.

Pepperdine ranks a horrible 278th in defensive efficiency, and it biggest weaknesses are ranking 244th in three-point defense, making for a nightmarish matchup vs. the excellent BYU sharp-shooters, and ranking 342nd out of 351 Division I teams in defensive turnover percentage, meaning that a BYU offense that hardly ever turns the ball over could basically do whatever it wants on offense.

With all of this in mind, give the points with BYU on the road on Monday.

[gameodds]14/253449/?r-1=238-92-43-349-192/us[/gameodds]

NCAA Basketball Pick: BYU -6½ (-106)

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