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Best College Basketball Bets Today | NCAAB Picks February 15

Written by: Andrew Norton
Published February 15, 2024
8 min read
Best College Basketball Bets Today February 15

If you hope to catch one of the best college basketball games for the February 15th slate, you better plan on staying up late! The Pepperdine and No. 18 Saint Mary’s game tips off at 11:00 PM ET, so viewers on the East Coast better brew some coffee and settle in. Find our two best college basketball picks today for this West Coast Conference game below!

Pepperdine @ No. 18 Saint Mary's

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PICK: Saint Mary’s -19.5 (-110) & Over 131.5 (-110)

Few people could have predicted how this Saint Mary’s Gaels has gone. From beginning the season with a 3-5 record, with losses against San Diego State, Weber State, Xavier, Boise State, and Utah, to winning 17 of their next 18 games, including a current 12-game winning streak, this has been a roller-coaster season for the Gaels.

However, the Gaels are now amongst the hottest teams in the nation: they have not lost a West Coast Conference game yet, securing impressive road wins against the Gonzaga Bulldogs and the San Francisco Dons to keep their streak alive. Since four of their next five games are at home, and the only road game is against Pepperdine (224th in adjusted efficiency margin, per KenPom), we expect Saint Mary’s to sweep its conference competition. 

Saint Mary’s has the fourth-highest average scoring margin in the nation in its past three games, despite playing all of those games on the road. The Gaels have also held their opponents to the second-fewest points on the seventh-lowest effective field goal percentage in that span. What makes this feat so impressive is that the Gaels were on the road against the Gonzaga Bulldogs in one of those three games. While Gonzaga is experiencing a down season, it still is an NCAA Tournament-caliber team that could possibly still dance in March.

But the question that remains is whether or not the Gaels can cover a 19.5-point spread against Pepperdine on Thursday night.

Pepperdine has one of the worst conference records (3-8) in the WCC, but it has been competitive in many of those games. However, in the few games that the Waves have played a team that is of the same talent level as Saint Mary’s, they have gotten eviscerated. For example, in two games against Gonzaga, Pepperdine lost by 26 and 25 points, while the Colorado Buffaloes also beat it by 25 points. 

Here’s the biggest issue for the Waves: the clash between the Gaels’ recent red-hot shooting (41.1% from deep in their past three games) and their own horrendous three-point defense. In fact, the Waves allow opponents to shoot 47.5% from behind the arc (dead last in the nation) on the road. For reference, the next-worst three-point defense away from home belongs to UTSA, which allows opponents to knock down 42.0% of their looks.

So, yes, the Gaels should not only cover this 19.5-point spread but do so early on in the game. And we expect them to obliterate a Pepperdine defense that ranks 280th in adjusted defensive efficiency and has objectively the weakest perimeter defense away from its home floor in the country.

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Andrew Norton

148 Articles

Andrew has always been an avid sports fan and followed his hoop dreams all the way to college. He’s well-versed in everything betting with multiple years of experience and is qualitatively and quantitatively knowledgeable in sports statistics and analytics.

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