Upset Brewing: Great Spot To Take Portland Plus Odds Against BYU

Charles Stark

Saturday, January 16, 2016 2:05 PM GMT

I can see why odds makers have made BYU a big favorite on the road at Portland. After all they just beat Gonzaga for a big upset. However, Portland is eager to play them. Who will be our NCAAB pick?

 

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Portland +9.5
Best Line Offered: at TheGreek

 

NCAA basketball odds have come out making BYU a -8.5 favorite and the total around 169. You would think that BYU should be favored by 10 or more looking at the fact that Portland is on a losing streak and BYU just beat Gonzaga. That is not the case though, and for good reason, the Pilots are not an elite team but they're also not as poor as their record indicates. For my selection today I will back Portland at home to keep this game a lot closer than people anticipate.

Must Read: Updated Vegas Future Odds

BYU Cougars
BYU is averaging 83.2 points per game while shooting 45.9% from the field, and allowing 74.4 points per game on 42.3% shooting from the field. Against the spread they have been good this year going 9-5-1 overall and 5-4 on the road. Offensively, as usual, they're one of the best teams in the country and they really love to push the tempo. They rank in the top part of the country averaging 64.7 field goals attempted per game which ranks 12th in the country, making 29.7 of those per game which ranks 10th. They're one of the best three-point shooting teams as well hitting 39% from distance which ranks 26th in the country. On top of all that, they hit the boards also averaging 41.2 rebounds per game ranking them again 26th in NCAA basketball. Defensively though, they allow just about what they put up, and rank in the bottom part of the country in most defensive categories. They allow opponents 23.8 shots from beyond the arc per game, making 8.6 of those for a 36.3% average which ranks them in the very bottom part of NCAA college basketball defending from beyond the arc. This should be an issue tonight because that is where Portland thrives, as they are not a great interior team but can do some damage from distance.

 

Portland Pilots
Portland is averaging 77.7 points per game while shooting 42.3% from the field, and allowing 77.6 points per game on 44% shooting from the field. Against the spread they are 7-9 on the season and 3-3 at home, and like BYU they really like to run up-tempo. Offensively they push the pace putting up 64.6 field goal attempts per game which ranks 14th in the country, and 25.3 attempts from beyond the arc which ranks 28th. Statistically their percentages aren't great but they do shoot 36.3% from beyond the arc which should be the point of contention tonight. Points are usually not a problem for Portland, and although they are on a four-game losing streak, three of those games were on the road and they have been able to score proficiently in all them although still losing by an average of around 10 points in that span. Defensively I expect for them to play better at home where they are usually pretty tough. On the year they haven't defended particularly well in any category, and they are similar to BYU in that they give back what they put up. They have been decent limiting opponent assists and opponent two point shooting percentage to 12.7 and 47.5% per game respectively.

This a good spot to grab a better than their record shows team in Portland taking on a BYU team coming off a big emotional win. For one of your NCAA basketball picks I recommend backing the Pilots who should keep this game close the whole way in what should be a high paced up-tempo affair. This will be a much tougher game than BYU anticipates, grab the points.