Pepperdine is the Late Night NCAA Basketball Pick at Santa Clara

LT Profits Sports Group

Thursday, January 14, 2016 8:11 PM GMT

There could be a late West Coast Conference matchup worth staying up for Thursday night when the Pepperdine Waves seem undervalued as small road favorites visiting Santa Clara.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Pepperdine -2.5
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

There appears to be good profit making potential in a late West Coast Conference matchup Thursday night with the Pepperdine Waves (10-6, 5-10 ATS) appearing to have a rather decided edge despite being small favorites when they pay a visit to the Santa Clara Broncos (6-12, 7-8-1 ATS) at the Leavey Center in Santa Clara, CA at 10:00 ET with live streaming available at TheW.tv

The point spread at Heritage Sports has Pepperdine as a small road favorite for this contest with the current line at -2½ with NCAA Basketball odds of -105.

 

Three Straight Conference Wins for Pepperdine
Pepperdine has already reached double-digits in win with its 10-6 record overall, and after opening up West Coast Conference play with two tough road games including visiting Gonzaga, the Waves have since won three straight games to improve to 3-2 inside the conference. Granted all three wins during the winning streak came at home, but it is not as if the Waves are visiting a conference powerhouse in this spot.

Santa Clara began its season by being the losing NCAA Basketball pick in its first seven games, and although the Broncos are 6-5 since then, that still leaves them at just 6-12 overall including a 2-4 mark in league play, with the most recent win Saturday coming over a San Diego team that is the lowest ranked team in the conference on the Pomeroy Ratings at 302nd in the country overall.

 

Waves Coming Off Upset of Saint Mary’s
Now the WCC is certainly a top-heavy conference as it boasts three teams in the Pomeroy Top 100 in Saint Mary’s, Gonzaga and BYU, and there is then a huge drop-off to the rest of the conference. With that being said, Pepperdine is currently fourth in the conference with its 3-2 league mark as well as the fourth highest ranked West Coast Team in Pomeroy after the so-called Big Three, with the Waves being ranked 142nd.

Furthermore the Waves come off of their biggest win of the season as they upset Saint Mary’s 67-64 on Saturday as 8½-point home underdogs, handing the Gaels just their second loss all season and first inside the WCC. So while Pepperdine is not ready to challenge to crack the Big Three, this is a team with upside with that game demonstrating what it is capable off with its best effort.

Remember that Saint Mary’s leads the entire country in overall field goal percentage at 53.1 percent, and yet the Pepperdine defense held the Gaels to 40.7 percent shooting as well as an uncharacteristic 7-for-23, 30.4 percent from beyond the three-point arc. Even though this game is now on the road, it still seems like a much easier assignment for the Waves.

 

Weak on Both Ends
After what Pepperdine did five days ago, it is difficult to envision a Santa Clara team averaging 65.8 points per game and ranked 222nd overall on Pomeroy generating much offense in this contest. The Broncos are 242nd in the country in offensive efficiency and 215th in effective field goal percentage at 48.4 percent, a figure hurt by ranking 264th in two-point shooting at just 45.8 percent.

Besides that poor shooting, Santa Clara is also turnover prone ranking 219th in the land in offensive turnover percentage, and the Broncos do not get many second chances either, ranking a dismal 314th in offensive rebounding percentage at 24.2 percent vs. a national average of 30.2 percent. That means that Santa Clara will probably need to make a high percentage of its initial shots to win here, and its shooting percentage simply does not support that.

The news is not any rosier on the other end of the court either where the Broncos are 201st in defensive efficiency. The biggest weakness on that end has been the inability to apply much presser with the Santa Clara defense ranked 253rd in defensive turnover percentage.

 

Head-to-Head ATS Success
Finally, Pepperdine has had good betting success in this head-to-head series, with the Waves going 7-2 ATS in the last nine meetings overall including going 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings in Santa Clara. Also, we get that Pepperdine is only 2-7 ATS in its last nine road games, but by the same token Santa Clara is 17-35 ATS in its last 52 home games vs. teams with a road winning percentage of less than .400.

Thus, look for the much better Pepperdine team to overcome the road struggles it can have from time to time and emerge triumphant as it visits a weak Santa Clara team on Thursday.