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New Mexico vs BYU Betting Odds – A Mountaintop Moment

Posted by Craig Parsons on 2/26/2010 11:52:53 AM

NCAA Basketball Odds: Texas Kentucky

One of the timeless truths about sports betting is that you stick with a really good trend unless there’s overwhelming evidence which cuts against it. This weekend, savvy sports experts are wondering whether New Mexico’s prowess on the road will be good enough to overtake the Brigham Young Cougars and their home-court magic. The game that will have a lot to say about the 2010 Mountain West Conference regular-season champion should be a treat for college basketball junkies everywhere.

WHAT: NCAA basketball betting
WHEN: Saturday, February 27, 4:05 PM ET
WHERE: Marriott Center – Provo, UT
KEY STAT: BYU has lost only one conference home game since March 5, 2005 (UNLV – Jan. 21, 2009)

The Storyline – New Mexico vs BYU betting odds breakdown
Sportsbook odds would tell you that New Mexico is a team that can be trusted on the road. Coach Steve Alford’s athletes from Albuquerque are 10-2 in road or neutral-court games this season (9-2 road, 1-0 neutral). Outside of a quite aberrational loss at Oral Roberts on Dec. 23 of 2009, the only other road game New Mexico has dropped this season was a Jan. 5 game at San Diego State, a solid opponent that will be playing postseason ball (just in the NIT, not the NCAA Tournament).

Why is New Mexico so good away from home? The Lobos are a balanced team that can win in many different ways. Guard Dairese Gary carried UNM in a Tuesday night win at Colorado State, and can make all sorts of plays on the perimeter whenever Alford needs a timely contribution. However, if Gary isn’t on top of his game, forward Roman Martinez can pick up the slack. Martinez averages 14 points and six rebounds a game, giving New Mexico a considerable amount of muscle near the rim. Gary and Martinez would make a great 1-2 combo on most teams, but New Mexico offers a superstar who allows Gary and Martinez to be role players. Darington Hobson is a do-it-all guard who scores (16 points per game), but can also crash the glass (nine boards per contest) and set up teammates (five assists per outing). New Mexico has multi-tool players who – if shut down in one facet of basketball – can adjust and win with a contingency plan. The versatility and well-roundedness of New Mexico make the Lobos a team that nobody wants to play in the NCAA Tournament… on neutral courts.  

Yet, as good as New Mexico is away from home, BYU is even better when playing on home hardwood at the Marriott Center. The Cougars have lost just one conference home game over the past five seasons, and have lost only two total home games in the past four campaigns. When one realizes that a lot of December cupcakes have fueled this run of home-court dominance, it’s also true that in the competitive Mountain West, a lot of good teams go to Provo in January and February, only to leave town in defeat. BYU’s home-court mojo is one of the most nationally underreported stories in college basketball today. The Lobos, though, know what they’re going up against this Saturday.

Offensive Matchups –
New Mexico vs BYU betting odds breakdown
The Lobos have many different scorers, and can play an inside-outside game that will severely challenge BYU defenders on switches and rotations. If New Mexico can establish good rhythm in its halfcourt sets, the visitors could confuse the Cougars and ring up a big number. BYU can fall in love with the standstill jump shot at times, so New Mexico deserves the nod here.

Betting Edge: New Mexico

Defensive Matchups –
New Mexico vs BYU betting odds breakdown
New Mexico allows 66.4 points a game, but BYU concedes just 63.8 per contest. Wednesday night, BYU smothered San Diego State, forcing 16 turnovers from the Aztecs and getting fast-break buckets as a result. New Mexico’s biggest challenge will be to keep its composure on the road and deny the Cougars a series of cheap scores in transition.

Betting Edge: BYU

Notable Injuries –
Saint Mary’s vs Gonzaga betting odds breakdown
There are no notable injuries at this time. BYU backup guard Lamont Morgan is out, but that void on the Cougars’ roster shouldn’t impact this game at all.

Betting Edge: Even

Betting Prediction –
Saint Mary’s vs Gonzaga betting odds breakdown
New Mexico is worthy of trust on the road. No bettor should be afraid of taking the Lobos, a Sweet 16-caliber team that’s likely to go deeper into the NCAAs than BYU is. However, in a one-shot situation, BYU’s home court is a trump card. Mountain West Conference teams (especially those not named UNLV) simply don’t get out of the state of Utah alive. It’s foolish to pick against a winning trend unless the facts can easily support a contrary view. There’s certainly some reason to take New Mexico, but BYU has to be the choice here.

Craig’s Pick: BYU

For more sports online betting tips and articles, check out the Betting Edge daily.



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