Trio of NCAA Basketball Picks Against the Spread to Boost Thursday's Profits

Willie Bee

Thursday, February 12, 2015 12:06 PM GMT

Thursday night's bewitching hour is nine o'clock as our handicapper focuses on three college basketball odds matchups beginning then, starting with No. 2 Gonzaga hosting Loyola Marymount.

Loyola Marymount vs. Gonzaga
Mark Few and the Gonzaga Bulldogs put their 17-game win streak on the line Thursday evening when they host the Loyola Marymount Lions. Well, the win streak probably isn't really on the line since the Zags are favored by 24½ against a team they beat by 17 less than a month ago on the road, but then, you never know.

SBR's live college basketball odds will have a total for the contest as soon as it's released. Tip-off in Spokane is a little after 9 PM (ET), and the game can be seen on either ESPN3 or Root Sports.

Gonzaga (24-1 SU, 11-9-2 ATS) has come near to slipping up several times during the win streak, most recently a week ago on the road against Santa Clara. The Broncos appeared headed for an improbable upset with a good first half and continued lead in the early part of the second stanza. It wasn't to be and despite falling behind early, the Bulldogs still nearly covered a closing 15 point spread on the NCAA basketball odds with the 77-63 decision.

It was similar a couple days later at San Francisco, Gonzaga a bit sloppy early but using a strong run in the second half for an 81-70 victory, again just missing a -13 line.

Loyola Marymount (8-17 straight up, 13-10-1 against the spread) was fortunate in the first meeting catching the Bulldogs off their game early. Even then, they couldn't stay 40 minutes with such an experienced and potent group of shooters like Gonzaga has. The Lions are also going to probably be without Ayodeji Egbeyemi for a fourth consecutive game as the senior guard nurses a quad injury.  Egbeyemi scored 14 in the first meeting.

Gonzaga's offense is on a tear, hitting 52.6% of field goals in West Coast Conference games, just below the 53.2% overall that leads the nation. Still, I'm taking the two dozen points for my free NCAA Basketball pick.

My pick: Loyola Marymount +24½ at 5Dimes


 

Stanford vs. Utah
Into Turn 3 we go on the Pac-12 schedule, and it's a dogfight at the top between the Arizona Wildcats and Utah Utes with a bunched trio just two games behind them. Utah gets its one and only chance of the season against the Stanford Cardinal on Thursday, and the Utes are listed at -11 on the latest college basketball tote board.

The matchup is set for a 9 PM (ET) tip in lovely Salt Lake City, and will be carried by the Pac-12 Network.

Stanford (16-7 SU, 11-11-1 ATS) was a winner for us this last Sunday with a 70-62 win over USC. Well, the Cardinal weren't the real winners, at least not their backers who were giving up 14½, but the game coming in easily below a 148 total proved profitable. It was their 2nd-straght 'under' after five 'over' winners in a row.

Utah (18-4 SU, 16-5 ATS) has not only been winning on the floor lately, taking 11 of the last 13, but also covered nine of the last 12 that made it on the NCAA odds card. If you haven't seen this team yet this year and like tenacious defense, make a point to watch this one against a Stanford team that leads the Pac-12 scoring 77 PPG in conference action. I'm going to trust in that defense with a play on the Utes at home.

My pick: Utah -11 at BetOnline


 

Saint Mary's vs. Brigham Young
Okay, so not nearly enough time to give this next game the attention it deserves, but trust me when I say this is one of the biggest matchups on Thursday's college basketball betting schedule and one you really should watch. It tips at 9 PM (ET) like the other two, and anyone with the most basic of cable should be able to catch the Saint Mary's Gaels and BYU Cougars on ESPN2.

Saint Mary's (18-5 SU, 14-5-2 ATS) is expected to get guard Aaron Bright back on the floor after the senior transfer from Stanford missed the last game with an ankle injury suffered early in an upset loss to Pepperdine. Brigham Young (18-8 SU, 10-15 ATS) also dropped a game at Pepperdine recently, and the Cougars need a win here to break away from the Waves in 3rd-place of the WCC, not to mention have a chance to catch the Gaels for the second seed in the conference tourney.

Give me the points and the visitors for my final free college basketball pick of the evening. 

My pick: Saint Mary's +6 at BookMaker

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Season: 31-31 (-3.1)