Free College Basketball Picks from Expert Handicapper: West Coast Game Prediction
As a professional handicapper , I am always looking for value in any bet I place. Add in the fact that I spend quite a bit of time in Las Vegas, and you will start to notice how many of my selections for all the major sports lean slightly towards the West Coast. This has become especially true when in comes to finding the best value on the board for college basketball.
The ACC in the East along with the Big Ten and Big 12 in the nation's heartland garner most of the attention from college basketball media, which, in turn, creates a certain bias against West Coast games. Many of these games do not start until late at night and feature teams with little or no national presence. Unless you live in the Pacific Time Zone, you are probably reading about the results of these games online or catching a glimpse of the highlights on ESPN.
Winning college basketball bets is not about betting on popular teams ranked in the national polls. Winning bets is always about finding value in the matchup at hand. Flying under the national betting public's radar, some of the best betting value can be found in West Coast games.
West Coast College Hoops Betting Overview
The West Coast Conference's Gonzaga Bulldogs continue to live up to their lofty standing as a Top 5 team at 16-2 straight-up through their first 18 games. They have also been a solid bet all season long at 14-4 against the spread. Following Saturday's 96-83 pasting of San Francisco as one of the better teams in the WCC, the Bulldogs covered the nine points on the road to payoff ATS in each of their last seven games.
Gonzaga will face Loyola Marymount this Thursday night at home ahead of Saturday's road game against Portland. The spreads for both games are sure to be steep, but it makes absolutely no sense to go against this team right now.
Another one of my highly-touted West Coast favorites is the Mountain West's Nevada Wolf Pack as the No. 10 team in the latest AP Top 25. Following a stunning road loss to New Mexico as heavy favorites earlier this month, the Wolf Pack are back on track with a trio of wins. At 2-2 ATS over those last four games, I am backing off betting on Nevada until it gets a few more MWC games under its belt.
West Coast College Hoops Free Pick of the Week
Looking ahead to Thursday's West Coast hoops slate, the game that stands out the most is Hawaii on the road against Cal State Northridge in the Big West. Game time is 10 p.m. (ET), and it will be available on ESPN3.
The Warriors opened conference play on Jan. 10 with a 71-63 victory against Cal State Fullerton as 3.5-point home favorites. The total went "over" the closing 136.5-point line. Hawaii is averaging 72.1 points per game while holding opponents to an average of 67.2 points on defense. The Warriors have played only one other road game this season, and I have noticed in the past that their defense has a tendency to struggle away from home.
Cal State Northridge opened play in the Big West with a pair of road victories against UC Riverside and Cal Poly, with the total going over in both contests. The total has gone over or ended as a 'push' in eight or its last nine games. The Matadors are averaging 78.2 points behind Lamine Diane (23.9 PPG), and they have exceeded that average in their last three home games. Defensively, they rank near the bottom of college basketball in points allowed (82.4).
I would expect the total line for this game to open around 150 points. Even if it opens a few points higher than that, I am still going with the over in this matchup.
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