NCAA Basketball Picks: Saint Mary's vs. BYU to Go 'Under'

Jeff Grant

Thursday, February 12, 2015 2:35 PM UTC

Thursday, Feb. 12, 2015 2:35 PM UTC

Saint Mary’s has demonstrated an ability to control the tempo when facing off against BYU in recent years, which provides betting value to the ‘Under’ Thursday night.

Where’s Waldo-w?
At the end of the regular season, Saint Mary’s forward Brad Waldow will likely earn West Cost Conference Player of the Year honors, as he comes in averaging 20.0 points and 9.4 rebounds per game.

The Gaels are able to slow down the Cougars by limiting the amount of possessions in a game, which is important to consider when making your college basketball picks, as they rank 323rd in pace of play on the offensive end.

Waldow plays a big part in that process, as he sits behind just 66 players nationally in possessing the ball 29.3 percent of the time when on the floor, with most of that action coming in the low post.

Expect a major performance from the senior forward, as he scored 24 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in a 82-77 victory over the Cougars as two-point home favorites on Jan. 17.

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Falling Short
BYU occupies the No. 11 spot in terms of offensive efficiency, which can’t be ignored when looking over the NCAA basketball odds, but that hasn’t translated to covering the number or going over the total at the Marriott Center.

The Cougars are 10-3 SU and 2-10 ATS when playing in front of its raucous fan base, while the UNDER is 4-3 in seven opportunities.

Sports bettors shouldn’t expect a reversal of these betting trends, as the Cougars will be facing an opponent that has limited foes to an average of 60.1 points on 41.3 percent shooting on the road.


Fighting Fatigue
The Gaels are 337th in the country in bench minutes, which is the biggest challenge they’ll face in this WCC matchup, as the city of Provo sits 4,549 feet above sea level.

Saint Mary’s must slow the game down and pound the interior offensively, as it shoots 51.7 percent from inside the car, while BYU is 261st in the country in defending the two-point area.

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From Way Downtown
The Cougars are on pace to break a school record for 3-pointers made in a season, but the Gaels present a challenge in limiting opponents to 32.5 percent shooting from beyond the arc.

BYU won’t get many second-chance opportunities if it misfires from the perimeter, as tonight’s road underdog is seventh in defensive rebounding percentage.


The Gaels are 5-2 SU in this series since joining the conference, which demonstrates that head coach Randy Bennett is smart enough to know that you can’t try and outscore the Cougars in an up-and-down contest.

Even with its offensive prowess, BYU has gone UNDER the total in seven of its last 10 home games versus teams with a road win percentage of .600 or better.

NCAA Basketball Pick: Under 148.5 at Bookmaker

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