West Coast College Basketball Betting Picks: BYU Cougars at #10 Gonzaga Bulldogs

Brigham Young  Cougars at #10 Gonzaga Bulldogs
Thursday, January 24, 2013, 11:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN2
McCarthey Athletic Center – Spokane, Washington

Opening Line: Gonzaga -9
Current Line: Gonzaga -9 1/2
Opening Total: 148
Current Total: 149
Opening Money Line: Gonzaga -500 / BYU +400
Current Money Line: Gonzaga -500 / BYU +400

Gonzaga is a 9.5 point favorite at home against BYU in a key WCC game. The two teams are in a virtual tie for the conference lead.
Gonzaga is a 9.5 point favorite at home against BYU in a key WCC game. The two teams are in a virtual tie for the conference lead.

The 17-2 Gonzaga Bulldogs are 4-0 in the West Coast Conference. They are in a virtual tie with 5-1 BYU for the conference lead. The 15-5 Cougars make the trip to Spokane to battle the Bulldogs Thursday night. St Mary’s and San Diego are both 4-1 in the conference and play each other Thursday night in Moraga. Every other team in the conference has at least 3 conference losses.

Gonzaga leads the series 3-2 against BYU. Four of the five meetings occurred in the last two seasons. Each team won on on their own home court last year, and Gonzaga beat BYU in the semifinals of the WCC tournament in Las Vegas.

BYU is coached by Dave Rose. The Cougars have losses to Florida St and Notre Dame in a tournament in Brooklyn, at Iowa St, Baylor, and at home to St. Mary’s 70-69 last week. BYU has key wins over UTSA, CS-Northridge, Montana, Utah, Weber St, Virginia Tech, Loyola Marymount, San Francisco, Pepperdine, Santa Clara, and San Diego Saturday 74-57. BYu is 10-9 ATS and the total is 3-8 this season.

Gonzaga is coached by Mark Few. The Bulldogs have losses at home to Illinois and at Butler last Saturday 64-63. Gonzaga had won 8 straight games before the Butler loss. The Bulldogs have key wins over West Virginia at home, Clemson, Oklahoma & Davidson in a tournament in Orlando, Pacific, at Washington St, Kansas St in Seattle, Baylor, at Oklahoma St, Pepperdine, Santa Clara, and Portland, and a home over St. Mary’s. The Bulldogs are 9-7-1 ATS and the total is 7-7 this season.

BYU is outscoring teams 78-67 this season. The Cougars are #16 in scoring nationally. BYU is shooting 46.1% from the field and 33.3% from 3 point range. The Cougars make 73.3% of their free throws. BYU is #17 in rebounding with 40.6 per game, and they give up 31.8 per game. Cougar opponents are shooting 40.8% from the field and 32.2% from 3 point range. BYU averages 17 assists, 9 steals, 3 blocks, and 12 turnovers per game.

Guard Tyler Hawes averages 21.6 points, 5.1 rebounds, 2.2 assists, and 1.4 steals per game. Forward Brandon Davies averages 18 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.4 steals, and 1.3 blocks per game. Guard Matt Carlino averages 9.9 points, 3.5 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 3.5 rebounds, and 1.9 steals per game. Guard Brock Zylstra averages 7.3 points, 3.9 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1.1 steals per game. Josh Sharp, Craig Cusick, and Nate Austin also get significant minutes.

Gonzaga is outscoring teams 79-63. The Bulldogs are #8 in scoring nationally. Gonzaga is #2 in field goal percentage making 51.2% of their shots, and 36.5% from 3 point range. The Bulldogs make 71.3% of their free throws. Gonzaga averages 36.3 rebounds, and give up 25.5 per game. The Bulldogs are #9 in rebounds allowed nationally.Gonzaga opponents are shooting 40.8% from the field and 33.7% from 3 point range. The Bulldogs average 15 assists, 8 steals, 2 blocks, and 12 turnovers per game.

Gonzaga forward Kelly Olynyk averages 18 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 1.2 assists per game. Forward Elias Harris averages 14.9 points, 6.9 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and 1.2 steals. Guard Kevin Pangos averages 12.1 points, 2.2 rebounds, 3.7 assists, and 1.4 steals per game. Guard Gary Bell, Jr. averages 8.8 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 2.1 assists. Forward/center Sam Dower averages 7.9 points, and 3.4 rebounds per game. Przemek Karnowski averages 6.7 points and 2.5 rebounds per game. Guy Landry Edi, David Stockton, Kyle Dranginis, and Mike Hart make up the rest of the rotation.

BYU is 5-1 ATS against teams with winning records, 6-2 overall, 7-15 in Thursday games, 11-28 after a cover, 2-8 in road games, and against teams with winning home records.

Gonzaga is 3-0-1 after a straight up loss, 6-2 after failing to cover, and 1-4 at home. The favorite and home team are both 4-0 ATS in the series recently.

These are two of the highest scoring teams in the country, so this could be a high scorign games. Gonzaga is a better defensive team and is tough at home. BYU needs a win to prove they belong on the same level as Gonzaga and St. Mary’s, clearly the best two teams in the conference. I like Gonzaga to win at home, but BYU hangs around and keeps it close.

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