The BYU Cougars will dress up as home underdogs for the first time during the Dave Rose era Thursday night, as they prepare to take on the Gonzaga Bulldogs in front of a nationally-televised audience.
Gonzaga has won a season-high 10 games in a row by an average of 22.7 points, which includes an 81-50 victory over San Diego as 22.5-point home favorites last Saturday, while going UNDER the total for a fifth consecutive contest.
The Bulldogs are 22-3 straight up and 12-10 against the spread (ATS) in February the last two-plus seasons, with the UNDER going 15-4 in that situation.
Game of the year
There’s no doubt this is BYU’s biggest game of the 2012-13 season, as it will likely miss the 2013 NCAA Tournament unless it ends up earning a automatic bid by winning the WCC tournament.
The Cougars have never dressed up as a home underdog in eight years under coach Dave Rose, which is a significant angle to consider when making your sports picks, as they’ve gone 210-37 in their last 247 games in Provo.
Shooting the lights out
College basketball handicappers shouldn’t be surprised that NCAA Basketball odds makers are listing the Bulldogs as six to 6.5-point road favorites, as they rank second nationally in shooting 50.9 percent from the field, which has led directly to a plus-18.4 scoring margin.
BYU would normally hold a major edge in terms of offensive numbers when hosting a foe inside this building, but Gonzaga knocks down 48.5 percent of its shots on the road, which is truly an incredible number.
Haws must deliver
Cougars guard Tyler Haws was held to a single point in the first series meeting this year, which resulted in a convincing 83-63 victory for the Bulldogs as 10-point home favorites on Jan. 24. It’s important that he gets going early, as he missed all nine shots from the floor in that affair.
Haws is the WCC’s leading scorer and averages 22.1 points per game when playing in front of the home crowd.
I’m going to recommend that readers back the Cougars as one of their college basketball picks Thursday, as the Bulldogs have gone 13-16 ATS on the road the last two-plus seasons.
Haws will likely score in double figures, while Cougars forward Brandon Davies has averaged 18.1 points and 8.4 rebounds in his last seven games. Those two players will make it tough on Gonzaga.College Basketball Pick: BYU Cougars +6.5 at Pinnacle