BYU vs. USF Odds, Picks, Predictions: How to Bet Late-Night College Hoops in Hawaii (Wednesday, Dec. 22)
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- BYU is a huge favorite over USF on Wednesday night in Honolulu.
- The Cougars already have multiple impressive wins this season, while the Bulls are struggling mightily offensively.
- D.J. James breaks down the matchup and delivers his pick for bettors below.
BYU vs. USF Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
Brigham Young and South Florida begin the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic in Honolulu on Wednesday night.
USF has had a tough start to its season, as it comes into this game with a 4-5 record and no noteworthy victories thus far.
Meanwhile, BYU is 9-2 and comes off of a road victory at Weber State.
The Cougars will likely win this game by double digits, but can the Bulls slow the pace to stay close?
BYU is one of the best teams in the West Coast Conference, yet again. The Cougars have resume-building wins over San Diego State, Oregon, Utah, Missouri State and Utah State.
They have dropped games against Utah Valley and Creighton, but they still look like a potential at-large NCAA Tournament team, especially with the strength of the WCC this year.
They also rank in the top 35 in defensive efficiency, according to KenPom. They do not necessarily turn other teams over (15.9% turnover rate), but they stay poised and allow an opponent effective field goal percentage of just 44.4%.
The Cougars are also elite at defending teams from beyond the arc, as they only permit a 26.4% 3-point percentage.
They utilize 18.3 seconds per possession on average, which ranks 285th in college basketball in pace. This may create value on the under.
The Cougars have a deliberate offensive approach that consists of 15.3 assists per game. Te’Jon Lucas frequently connects with Alex Barcello, who leads them in scoring at 19.0 points per game.
USF’s best defense comes from its backcourt, so this could cause some havoc for the Cougars.
USF has an egregious offense, as they rank 332nd in adjusted offensive efficiency, per KenPom. The Bulls shoot 23.8% from downtown and 44.5% inside the arc. They also make free throws at a poor 65.9% clip.
All of these factors illustrate why this team only averages 56.7 points per game.
However, the Bulls have a strong defense, which at least keeps them competitive. Javon Greene, Jamir Chaplin and Caleb Murphy average a combined 4.7 steals per game.
This should somewhat limit Barcello and Lucas’ production. If this occurs, the Bulls can remain within striking distance.
The BYU attack is slow, but it is also top-heavy. BYU will need to find other scoring alternatives.
Building off of this, the Bulls only allow an outside shooting percentage of 29.3%. Barcello and Spencer Johnson, two of BYU’s main scoring threats, shoot 50% from downtown.
The Cougars will clearly need to get the ball inside to manufacture buckets, but since this deviates from their typical strategy, they may struggle, especially early on in this one.
South Florida plays at one of the slowest tempos in college basketball. Paired with their antidote for the BYU guards, the Bulls make opponents use most of their shot clock, averaging 19.1 seconds per possession on defense.
Since the Cougars tend to slow the ball down already on the offensive side, they will stall the pace of this game remarkably.
BYU vs. USF Betting Pick
Given BYU’s calculated, slow-paced offense and USF’s lack thereof, this game will not go over the total.
USF will struggle to find scoring opportunities since it cannot shoot 3s or hit its free throws. The Bulls also have the defensive wherewithal to remove the outside shooters from BYU’s game plan.
This should imply a slow offensive start for both teams as they struggle to score efficiently throughout the ballgame. Take the under at 127 and play it to 124.5.