NCAA Basketball Picks: BYU vs. St. Mary's

Jeff Grant

Thursday, February 21, 2013 2:34 PM UTC

Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013 2:34 PM UTC

The Saint Mary’s Gaels have covered the spread in their last five meetings with the BYU Cougars, as the two teams prepare to meet at McKeon Pavilion Thursday night. Where do we plan on placing our sports picks in this matchup?

Let’s take a closer look at the College Basketball odds for this Western Coast Conference affair that tips off at 11:00 p.m. ET on ESPN2.

Failing to deliver 

BYU enters this high-profile affair with a 20-8 overall record, but the program is just 12-15-1 against the spread (ATS) this season, as it comes off a 70-68 victory over the Utah State Aggies as 12-point home favorites Tuesday night.

The Cougars have failed to cover the number in their last four games, while going OVER the total in three of those contests. It’s important to note that the program tipped off as a favorite in each of those affairs.

Quite a run—outside of Gonzaga

Saint Mary’s has won 14 of its last 16 games, including a 61-50 victory over the Loyola Marymount Lions as 13.5-point road favorites last Saturday, with both losses in that stretch coming against the Gonzaga Bulldogs.

The Gaels are 13-1 SU and 5-7-1 ATS at home this season, but haven’t been favored by 6.5 to 9 points on this floor over the last two-plus seasons. 


These two teams supplied one of the better finishes of the 2012-13 NCAA basketball season on Jan. 16, which resulted in a 70-69 victory for the Gaels as five-point road underdogs, while going UNDER the posted total of 152.5. 

The Cougars are 3-9 ATS when revenging a loss versus an opponent the last two-plus seasons, including a 2-3 ATS mark when that setback occurred in Provo.

Home-court advantage 

College basketball handicappers are always looking to back Saint Mary’s as favorites on its own floor, considering it has compiled a dominating 37-5 record versus conference opponents at this venue the last six seasons. 

BYU hasn’t fared very well in this type of situation the last two-plus seasons—posting a 4-12 SUATS mark as underdogs. 

Proud programs

Both of these programs have won at least 25 games the last five seasons—joining Duke, Gonzaga and Kansas as the only teams nationally to accomplish that feat. BYU owns a 8-5 overall advantage in this series, but Saint Mary’s has walked away with the cash the last five times.



I’m going to recommend that readers back the Gaels as one of their NCAA basketball betting picks Thursday night, as the Cougars are 1-5 ATS on the road following three or more consecutive home games.

NCAA Basketball Pick: Saint Mary’s Gaels -8 at Pinnacle

Also check out my:

Free picks for the Duke & Virginia Tech matchup

Free picks for the California & Oregon matchup

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