San Diego (+5) (-110) over St. Mary’s
It’s going to be a White Out at the Jenny Craig Pavilion tonight as the Toreros return home after completing a four-game road trip that included a 65-63 upset win over Portland as five-point underdogs. San Diego remains one of the most underrated teams in the nation as the Toreros have covered four straight, including close losses at San Francisco (64-62), Gonzaga (59-56) and Santa Clara (69-66). San Diego’s character was tested after its heart-breaking loss at Gonzaga on January 23, and the Toreros proved their temperament by bouncing back with an impressive win over Portland in their last game. The fact that San Diego is getting four points tonight is significant in that the Toreros’ last five games have been decided by four points or less, and coach Bill Grier’s squad has played in ten games overall this season that have been decided by less than five points.
San Diego’s strength is its defense that is limiting opponents to a mere 60.8 points per game at home on 38.7% shooting from the field. Overall, the Toreros are allowing 63.9 points per game to teams that would combine to average 71.5 points per game against a mediocre defensive squad, thereby making San Diego 7.6 points per game better than average defensively. Meanwhile, St. Mary’s is only 5.2 points per game better than average offensively, which gives the Toreros a 2.4 points per game advantage on the defensive end of the floor. As a team, San Diego ranks #1 in the conference in scoring defense and ranks #2 in three-point field goal defense (.319) and field goal defense (.415). San Diego is averaging 37.2 rebounds at home while limiting opponents to just 30.7 rebounds at the Jenny Craig Pavilion.
While San Diego is 5.7 points per game worse than average offensively this season (67.8 points per game against teams that would combine to allow 73.5 points per game), the Toreros are significantly better at home where they are averaging 71.2 points per game on 48.2% shooting from the field and 39.2% from beyond the arc. San Diego’s attack is led by WCC Player of the Week Johnny Dee, who has averaged 23.5 points, 3.0 rebounds and 2.5 steals over the last two games. Dee has also made a school-record 47 consecutive free throws and ranks fourth in the nation in free throw percentage (.935). Dee is joined in the back court by junior point guard Christopher Anderson, who ranks #1 in the WCC in assists (5.8) and is averaging 10.2 points per game.
From a technical standpoint, let’s note that San Diego is a profitable 11-3 ATS versus teams with a win percentage between .600 and .800, 17-8 ATS as an underdog, 27-15 ATS following a conference game and 6-0 ATS off a close win by three points or less. Meanwhile, St. Mary’s has a huge game on deck versus BYU and could easily look past tonight’s game against a Torero squad that it has defeated in five straight games. Grab the generous points and invest with confidence.