NCAA Basketball Picks: Home Court The Key To BYU Beating St. Mary's In Crucial WCC Matchup

Charles Stark

Thursday, February 4, 2016 12:15 PM UTC

Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016 12:15 PM UTC

This really will be one of the best games of the night when the St. Mary's Gaels travel to take on the BYU Cougars. Don't miss this betting preview and the best NCAA basketball picks.

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Free NCAA Basketball Pick: BYU -3
Best Line Offered: at BetOnline


NCAA Basketball Odds Overview
NCAA basketball odds boards have come out with BYU a small -1.5 favorite at home versus the Gaels like at Heritage -110. For a team that is undefeated at home this year, this line is bit surprising, but it just goes to show how much respect St. Mary's is getting so far on the season.For one of my NCAA basketball picks of the day, I will back BYU minus the small number to win this game by around seven points.


St. Mary's Gaels
St. Mary's is averaging 78 points per game while shooting 53.5% from the field, and allowing 59.8 points per game on 40.6% shooting from the field. On the season, they have a solid 12-5 overall record against the spread, and 3-2 on the road. Head coach Randy Bennett has arguably the best team he has ever had at St. Mary's and they have been shooting lights out all season. Offensively, they have been really sharp ranking second in the country in two and three point shooting percentage at 59% and 44.7% respectively. As well, they rank first in the country in shooting efficiency, overall shooting percentage, and effective field-goal percentage. St. Mary's has held these averages since the first weeks of the season and have just demonstrated excellence on the side of the ball. However, there is a reason why they are not ranked in the top 20 even leading the WCC and having an 18-2 record, they haven't played a ton of superior competition. They are undefeated at home, a difficult place to play, but recently they are showing signs of being a bit vulnerable just squeaking by at Pacific, and pulling out an amazing comeback win against Gonzaga, a game they really should of lost. Defensively, they are good not great, but do rank in the top part of the country in most defensive categories. Where they do happen to lack though is where BYU can hurt them and that is beyond the arc where St. Mary's allows opponents to shoot 35.3%. I really like this St. Mary's team, but this will be a really tough game for them tonight and only time will tell just how legitimate they will be come March.


BYU Cougars
BYU is averaging 83 points per game while shooting 45.6% from the field, and allowing 74.5 points per game on 42.8% shooting from the field. On the season, they are 11-8-1 overall against the spread, but 5-2-1 at home. As mentioned, they play extremely well at home and I look for them to play very inspired basketball tonight against the league's first-place team. Last time they played St. Mary's, they simply did not shoot the ball very well so I don't expect that same type of offense to show up tonight. Offensively, BYU really likes to push the tempo as much as possible averaging 64.7 field-goal attempts per game which ranks seventh in the country. This is a good thing for them because they make 29.5 of those shots per game which ranks them eighth in the country. They shoot very well from beyond the arc at 38.1%, and rank in the top part of the country in three-pointers made per game, shooting efficiency, and effective field-goal percentage. Defensively is where they lack, but they do play much better defense at home. Although on the season, they have allowed about 75 points per game overall, that drops somewhat at home. As well, they go from allowing opponents to shoot 42.8% overall to 40.9% at home. They are simply a different monster in Provo.

There is a reason why odds makers have made BYU the small favorite in this spot. I am quite familiar with St. Mary's and their program, and they are never easy to go against, but tonight is the time to do it. At home, BYU should be way fired up to get some revenge for their loss earlier in the season to St. Mary's, and I expect them to get it tonight. For one of my NCAA basketball picks, I will back BYU minus the number to pull away in the second half.

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