Thursday's NCAA Basketball Picks to Maximize Your Betting Ticket

Darin Zank

Thursday, February 12, 2015 6:47 PM UTC

Thursday, Feb. 12, 2015 6:47 PM UTC

We split our two free college basketball picks again Wednesday night, which is frustrating, because it gets us nowhere. Here's our shot at going 2-for-2 with two free picks for Thursday night.

Play the Ponies
Coming off a victory that pulled it back within a half-game of first-place in the AAC Southern Methodist heads to Houston to take on the Cougars.

The Mustangs lost a game last week to Cincinnati, perhaps looking ahead to its big AAC game with Tulsa over the weekend. SMU shot just 37 percent from the floor against Cincy, and allowed the Bearcats to shoot 57 percent. But Saturday the 'Stangs went up to Tulsa and beat the first-place Hurricane 68-57, handing them their first conference loss of the season. SMU shot 48 percent that night, and held Tulsa to just 28 percent shooting.

At 19-5 overall the Mustangs are headed for the NCAA tournament, barring a complete collapse.

Houston, meanwhile, recently snapped a nine-game losing streak with back-to-back victories over Rice and Connecticut, but last time out lost to the Golden Hurricane 57-44. At just 1-9 in conference play and 9-13 overall the Cougars aren't headed anywhere this postseason.

SMU just beat Houston three weeks ago in Dallas 80-59, covering as an 18-point favorite. The Mustangs shot 52 percent that night, and outrebounded the Cougars 43-24.

SMU is playing for a conference championship and an NCAA berth; Houston is not. This looks like a good spot to take the road favorite as your college basketball pick, at a line eight points better than the last time these teams met.

Free College Basketball Pick: Mustangs -10.5 at 5Dimes

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Way Out West
It doesn't look like either BYU or St. Mary's will catch Gonzaga in the West Coast Conference race, but they're both still battling for good seeding in the upcoming WCC tournament, seeding that would keep them from running into the Zags too soon.

St. Mary's just bounced back from a home loss to Pepperdine to beat Pacific last Saturday 73-58, covering NCAA basketball odds as a 12-point favorite. The Gaels had the spread pushed at the half, and won the second half, shooting 55 percent from the field for the game.

At 10-2 in conference play St. Mary's trails first-place Gonzaga by two games.

BYU also just recovered from a loss to Pepperdine to win at Loyola-Marymount Saturday 87-68. The Cougars were favored by eight points, and had that spread covered at halftime. For the game BYU shot 46 percent from the floor, and won the battle on the boards by a 42-25 margin.

But Brigham Young is just 3-3 SU, 2-4 ATS over its last six games, and third place in the WCC probably wont' get the Cougars an invitation to the Big Dance.

St. Mary's just beat BYU three weeks ago 82-77, covering while favored by two points at home. The Gaels shot 48 percent from the floor that night and outrebounded the Cougars 41-28.

This looks like a very even match-up, but one in which the home team might be favored by a few too many points. We like the underdog in this spot, plus the points.

Free College Basketball Pick: St. Mary's +6 at 5Dimes

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