NCAA Basketball Picks: Trust Home Dog Temple To Cover When Hosting SMU

Swinging Johnson

Sunday, January 24, 2016 2:06 PM UTC

Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016 2:06 PM UTC

Undefeated SMU travels to AAC rival Temple to tip off at high noon but which of these two schools will we back in our NCAA basketball picks? Let's review the NCAA basketball odds and find out.

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Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Temple +6½
Best Line Offered: at GTBets


SMU (18-0 SU, 6-8 ATS)
SMU has been perfect on the season but for those that have backed the Mustangs in their NCAA basketball picks the last four of six have failed to cover the number. The team is ranked No. 8 in the nation and in their last outing hosted the Houston Cougars and were installed as 13 ½ point home chalk by the NCAA basketball odds makers. The game was knotted at the half but the Mustangs bore down in the second getting 23 points from Nic Moore and 16 points with 10 boards for Markus Kennedy. When the buzzer sounded SMU had kept their undefeated season intact with a 75-70 win but well short of covering the double digit impost.

Despite their run of success SMU is ineligible for the postseason this year due to NCAA violations which also led to head coach Larry Brown being suspended the first nine games of the season. In addition, the team lost a key player in Keith Frazier after the New Year when the 6'5" junior, toting an 11.9 PPG average this season, left for personal reasons. It was in fact Frazier whose academic shenanigans cost the school any chance at a postseason berth and led to coach Brown's suspension.


Temple (10-7 SU, 10-5 ATS)
The Owls are playing their best basketball of the season headed into this one winning four of five and covering the spread in each and every one. In their last matchup Temple met LaSalle hot off the heels of a double overtime thriller in Cincinnati where the Owls upset the Bearcats 67-65. There was no gloating over that one as Temple suffocated the Explorers to the tune of 62-49 as 10-point neutral site favorites. Only six turnovers were committed by Temple which further enhanced their reputation as one of the stingiest turnover clubs in the nation averaging just 9.4 per game. LaSalle's Jordan Price, who came into the game as Division 1's fourth leading scorer averaging almost 22 points per game, was shut down by a relentless Temple defense and limited the scoring sensation to just 11 points on 4-of-21 shooting.

Scoring has been an issue for the Owls this season as they rank a lowly 285th in the country with a 68.3 PPG average and a defense that is obviously much better holding opponents to just 67.5 which is good for 95th in the nation. Senior guard Quenton DeCosey is leading the team in average points scored with 15.6 per contest yet he is the only Owl averaging double digits in scoring. Senior forward Jaylen Bond is the man cleaning the glass this season for Temple averaging 8.2 boards per game.


Betting Analysis
Temple is 5-1 ATS this month and all against conference opponents. Meanwhile SMU, perfect record and all, is only 2-4 ATS this month and 3-4 this season against AAC opponents. Though the teams have not met this season the Mustangs are 3-0 both straight up and against the all-important number when playing the Owls over the past three opportunities. However this time will be different. The Owls are a difficult team to contend with due to their solid defense and blind adherence to fundamentals. They simply don't make many mistakes and they play a controlled tempo that keeps them in the games.

SMU can score and there is no getting around that. The team is averaging north of 80 points per game and that should scare anyone fading them. But since Keith Frazier packed his bags and took his nearly 12 PPG average with him, the team has reached 80 or better just once and is averaging 72.5 over the last six games since Frazier. This one will be a defensive struggle and you will see the home dog getting plenty of love here, so we're adding them to our Sunday's college basketball picks.

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