The Gonzaga Bulldogs possess one of the better home-court advantages in college basketball, which will be put to the test against the BYU Cougars Thursday night.


Let’s take a closer look at this West Coast Conference matchup and evaluate the betting odds.

Back on track

Image previewBYU earned a 74-57 win over San Diego as 14.5-point home favorites last time out, which came directly after a heartbreaking 70-69 loss at the buzzer to the Saint Mary’s Gaels.  The Cougars were led offensively by their great inside-outside combination of Brandon Davies and Tyler Haws—combining for 42 points.  BYU is 10-9 against the spread (ATS) during the 2012-13 NCAA basketball season.

Returning home

Gonzaga has played five of its last six games away from the McCarthey Athletic Center, as it looks to bounce back from a disappointing 64-63 setback to the Butler Bulldogs as two-point road favorites.  The Bulldogs have averaged 88.6 points on 53.6 percent shooting in front of their home fans, which has led to the OVER cashing in three of four opportunities in that situation.

Definitely want to host

Sports bettors definitely need to be aware that the home team is 4-0 ATS in the last four meetings in this series, which is important to consider when making your NCAA basketball picks.  That particular betting trend gains even more strength when you find out that Gonzaga is 113-8 all-time at this venue, including a 56-2 mark versus WCC opponents.

Falling short as an underdog

The Cougars will likely be getting nine to 12.5 points in the betting market for the first time since at least 2010, but they’ve gone just 4-11 ATS as an underdog over the last two-plus seasons, while the OVER is 6-5 in that situation.  BYU has had trouble on the road against the likes of Baylor and Iowa State, as Haws has failed to be aggressive, which has limited any opportunity to get to the charity stripe.

Quite a shot

The Bulldogs are second in the country in connecting on 51.2 percent of their shots this year, which trailed only the Creighton Bluejays in that category as of last night’s action.  Gonzaga has three probable starters averaging in double figures, with center Kelly Olynyk leading the way, scoring 18.0 points per game.  He has averaged 24.8 points on 65.5 percent shooting in his last four contests.

Prediction

I’m going to recommend that readers back the Bulldogs as one of their college basketball predictions, as they’ve gone 3-0-1 ATS following a straight-up loss in their last four opportunities, while the Cougars are 2-7 ATS on the road versus a team with a home winning percentage of greater than .600.

College Basketball Picks:  Gonzaga Bulldogs -9

Also out West (in the Pac-12) UCLA vs. Arizona~