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NCAAB Handicapping: New Mexico vs. BYU (Feb. 17)

New Mexico at BYU from the Cougars Den

New Mexico Lobos (16-9 SU, 12-10-1 ATS) at BYU Cougars (19-5 SU, 13-10 ATS)

BetUS NCAAB Betting Odds: BYU -6.5

Here are some of the NCAA basketball sports betting trends as they relate to this matchup:

* NMEX has won five of its last six games SU
* NMEX is 9-3-1 ATS in its last 13 games* NMEX is 4-1-1 ATS in its last six road games
* BYU has won five of its last six games SU
* BYU has covered its last four games
* BYU has played five of its last seven games OVER the total
* BYU has won five of its last six home games SU
* BYU has covered two of its last seven home games
* BYU has played six of its last eight home games OVER the total

Also…

* BYU has won and covered six of the last seven meetings
* Six of the last eight meetings have gone OVER the total
* BYU has won the last ten meetings SU as the home team
* BYU has covered the last six meetings as the home team
* BYU has had the shooting edge in four of the last five meetings
* BYU has had the rebounding edge in seven of the last ten meetings

The Mountain West may be one of the most underrated basketball conferences. These teams are tied in the Mountain West standings, with a 7-3 record. That would put them a game and a half behind the league-leading Utah Utes, and a half-game behind San Diego State.

It’s tough as hell to play at the “Pit” in Albuquerque, where New Mexico pitches its tent. Last season the BYU Cougars went in there and pulled out a 70-69 overtime win. This season it was a different story, as the Lobos rolled to an 81-62 win, in a game where the Cougars were able to hit just 39% of their shots. Lee Cummard was just 1-for-7 from the field and only four trips to the line brought his total to seven points. That’s way out of character for the 6’7″ senior guard, who is nailing 57% of all shots and 44% from three-point range. He hasn’t missed a free throw in his last five games and is a sizzling 66% from the field in his last five games.

Jonathan Tavernari, the 6’6″ swingman, has been hot too, hitting 67% in his last two, including seven of ten from beyond the three-point arc. This BYU team hits 51% overall, so it is unlikely that they will get the shakes this time around in the Marriott Center, where this club has at time been a dominant force.

New Mexico had a bit of a hairy time of it against Air Force last time out, blowing a 15-0 lead to fall behind before coming on to overtake the Falcons 76-66. This was not a great sign against the Mountain West’s cellar-dweller. The Lobos do a lot of things that would tend to give them a chance on the road. They defend well (40% FG’s allowed) and have a +3.4 ratio of assists to turnovers. BYU has put some momentum together, with four straight conference wins by an average of 24 points a game. They’re +5.5 in turnover margin, plus-6 in rebounding margin at home, and they want payback.

Steve Alford’s team is certainly angling for position in the race for an NCAA at-large spot, but this game could be a nightmare for them. We’re going to lay the points with BYU, the 6.5-point favorite in the BetUS Sportsbook NCAA college basketball betting odds.

Our PLAY: BYU -6.5 ***

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