College Basketball Picks: Baylor Bears vs. BYU Cougars

No. 7 Baylor Bears at BYU Cougars
Saturday, 12/17/11, 2:00 PM EST, TV:  N/A
Opening Point Spread:  BYU -2
Current Betting Line:  BYU -1.5
Opening Total:  139
Current Total:  137
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

The BYU Cougars enjoy quite the home court advantage in Provo, Utah

Baylor will face its second non-conference true road game Saturday when traveling to Provo, Utah to take on the BYU Cougars inside the Marriott Center.  The Bears are 2-5 all-time in the series, dropping the last four meetings.  “Why are we playing BYU? because quite frankly, no one else wants to play up there because they know how tough it is,” commented Bears head coach Scott Drew.  The program has actually won 15 of its last 21 non-conference games away from home since the 2007-08 campaign.  Baylor is 11-9 ATS on the road the last two-plus years.

The Bears are one of just nine undefeated Division I teams remaining, as they’ve only played two lined opponents this year.  Baylor ranks first in field-goal percentage defense, allowing opponents to shoot just 32.9 percent from the field.  Baylor is also a sparkling 22-3 in its last 25 December games, including a 6-3 mark away from Waco.  Sophomore forward Perry Jones III leads the team in averaging 15.7 points per game and shoots an incredible 65.5 percent from the field.

BYU is about to host a top-10 team for the fourth-straight season and will be looking to improve upon its 3-7 mark against such opponents when playing them anywhere.  The Cougars only loss this year came against a ranked foe, dropping a 73-56 contest to the Wisconsin Badgers as 7.5-point neutral-site underdogs on Nov. 26.  Senior forward Noah Hartsock is the main contributor offensively, leading the team in averaging 17.3 points a contest.  He is shooting .565 from the floor and 84.1 percent from the charity stripe.  BYU is 10-2 ATS as a home favorite of less than three points.

The Cougars can definitely be a balanced offensive attack when they want to be, as four different players have scored 20-plus points this season.  BYU is considered one of the best home teams in college basketball, registering a 48-1 record in non-conference action inside Saturday’s venue.  The team is averaging 77.0 points per game and allowing just 58.5 a contest.  In their last contest, the Cougars tallied a 61-42 win over their hated rivals the Utah Utes in Salt Lake City.

Bettors will likely back the Cougars due to their 4-1 ATS mark as a favorite, while the Bears are 2-3 ATS as a road underdog of three points or less.

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