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San Francisco vs. BYU College Basketball Odds, Picks & Predictions (Thursday, Feb. 25)

San Francisco vs. BYU College Basketball Odds, Picks & Predictions (Thursday, Feb. 25) article feature image

Mitchell Layton/Getty Images. Pictured: Alex Barcello.

  • The BYU Cougars will take on the San Francisco Dons in a West Coast matchup on Thursday night.
  • BYU sits in second place in the WCC and has been decent against the spread, but San Francisco has not been a profitable investment for bettors as of late.
  • With that in mind, Hasani Grayson takes a look at the matchup and makes a betting pick based on his analysis below.

San Francisco vs. BYU Odds

San Francisco Odds +11
BYU Odds -11
Moneyline N/A
Over/Under 141
Time | TV Thursday, 9 p.m. ETCBSSN
Odds as of Thursday morning and via PointsBet.

For reasons I can’t surmise, San Francisco received the benefit of the doubt in a lot of early matchups this season, but the sportsbooks have come up with a spread that represents how well BYU has played and how disappointing the Dons have been.

BYU is second in the WCC with a record of 8-3 and trails only top-ranked Gonzaga in the conference standings.

The Dons find themselves eighth in the WCC at 4-7 and are riding a four-game losing streak.

Since USF’s campus isn’t too far from a local high school, the Dons appear to be on their way to solidifying their place as the second most important basketball program in that zip code.

The Matchup

The Cougars found their biggest advantage in the key in their Jan. 16 match-up with the Dons, outrebounding San Francisco by a 45-28 margin. In addition to the lopsided totals on the boards, BYU also piled up points in the paint, scoring 28 points from in close.

The Dons attempted to make up for their 10 points in the paint with a barrage of 3-pointers and found a measure of success from deep in their first tussle with the Cougars.

San Francisco stayed in the game thanks in large part to a game-high scoring performance from Khalil Shabazz, who dropped 30 that night and shot 8-of-13 from deep.

It was one of his better games of the season, but he hasn’t always been the most efficient scorer this season, shooting just over 37 % from the field while averaging 15 points a night.

Conversely, BYU has relied on a well-balanced offense attack from its starters.

Cougars leading scorer Alex Barcello put up 19 points in the first game against San Francisco with his aggressive play paying dividends as he worked his way to the line and went 10-for-10 from the charity stripe to make up for a 4-of-11 performance from the field.

BYU big man Matt Haarms performed right in line with his season averages with 11 points and seven rebounds. The 7-foot-3 Haarms scored his points on seven shots and figures to have another solid performance in the rematch after the Dons’ interior defense showed vulnerabilities in the first meeting.

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Betting Analysis & Pick

Though I expect BYU to cover against the Dons, my confidence comes more from San Francisco’s inability to cover more than anything else.

The Cougars have been fair but not spectacular against the spread lately with a record of 3-1-2 in the six games since the teams last faced each other.

In that same time span, betting on the Dons has proven to be a losing position. They haven’t covered the spread in five of their last six games, including three games in which they entered as slight favorites and lost outright.

I can’t tell why the books put so much confidence in San Francisco considering its record against the spread this season. It’s like they were saying, “I know it’s not the most attractive option, but consider giving USF a chance.”

The oddsmakers sound like my mom when she was trying to get me to consider a college closer to home. (To be fair, Mom had a point. But I always wanted to go away to college, so the university that was a 20-minute walk was out of the question.)

BYU at -11 appears to be the appropriate market correction.

Seeing BYU -11 when I anticipated it winning by about 11 points kind of sent me into an existential crisis. I had to take time to collect my thoughts and really think about who I wanted to put my money on in this one.

I even briefly considered taking the Dons to cover, but I ultimately couldn’t put my faith in a school in the middle of San Francisco that has more recruits from Europe than the Bay Area.

Take BYU -11, and count on it taking more mission trips to the free-throw line as it looks to employ its aggressive style of offense again while dominating the paint in the rematch at home.

Pick: BYU-11

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