NCAA Basketball Picks: SMU Mustangs vs. Gonzaga Bulldogs

SMU Mustangs vs. Gonzaga Bulldogs
Monday, 11/17/14, 11:00 PM EST
Opening Point Spread:  Gonzaga -6.5
Current Betting Line:  Gonzaga -9
Opening Total:  N/A
Current Total:  N/A
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

The Gonzaga Bulldogs are one of the top teams in the country heading into their second game of the 2014-15 campaign
The Gonzaga Bulldogs are one of the top teams in the country heading into their second game of the 2014-15 campaign

SMU captured four of seven games against top-25 opponents a year ago, which is important to consider when making your NCAA basketball picks, as it comes off a 93-54 blowout victory over Lamar last week.  The Mustangs were one of the more balanced teams in the country last year—sitting atop the American Athletic Conference rankings in both field goal percentage offense and defense.  Since the start of the 2012-13 campaign, the squad is 1-3 SUATS as road underdogs of 6.5 to 9 points.

The Mustangs have plenty of returning firepower from a team that participated in the postseason NIT, which can’t be ignored when looking over the NCAA basketball betting odds.  SMU also has the luxury of welcoming in two capable transfers, as Ben Emelogu and Justin Martin was brought in by Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown from Virginia Tech and Xavier respectively.

Gonzaga had no trouble winning its 11 straight season opener by tallying a 104-58 victory over Sacramento State last week, as it improved to a dominating 136-8 SU at the McCarthey Center since it opened in Spokane before the 2004-05 season.  The Bulldogs are capable of outscoring every team in the country—led by their talented backcourt of Gary Bell Jr. and Kevin Pangos.  The duo led five players that scored in double figures by combining for 27 points in the opener.  It’s important to point out that the squad is 14-1 SU and 9-4 ATS in November the last two-plus seasons.

The Bulldogs have captured 64 of their last 70 non-conference games inside this venue under longtime head coach Mark Few, which makes them a worthy home favorite against a team that struggled at time on the road a year ago.  Gonzaga won’t shoot 55 percent from the floor against one of the more defensive-minded teams in the country, but it definitely deserves to be a home favorite of this variety.

Sports bettors will likely back the Bulldogs due to their 4-0 ATS mark in their last four home games.

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