The WCC is not an easy conference to compete in, and the nightly inner-conference battles have not been kind to either San Francisco or Portland so far. The two teams will square off tonight, looking to get on the right track, and we’ll preview the matchup before going over which betting angle I’ll be taking.
The San Francisco Dons were 11-4 entering conference play, and now, after four conference games, they find themselves 12-7. The Dons picked up their first conference win of the season in their last game, holding Loyola Marymount to 70 points which is the lowest point total they allowed in conference play so far.
San Francisco’s defensive efficiency rating currently sits at 99.7 on KenPom, which ranks 112th in the country. The Dons' two biggest strengths on that side of the floor are limiting ball movement and defending the three. Opponents are shooting 29.4% from three this season against the Dons and only averaging 9.5 assists per game.
Limiting the three was a big reason the Dons could stick in the game with a ranked Gonzaga team, as they held the Bulldogs to shoot 38% from three. Portland is likely not thrilled to see how good the Dons are defending the three since the Pilots have only managed to shoot 5% and 29% from three in their last two games.
The term “offensive woes” does not do their last two games justice, as the Pilots scored just 58 and 43 points. Tempo-wise, the Pilots run at the 48th highest tempo in the country, but that does not make much of a difference to opposing defenses if your shots consistently aren’t falling.
For the Pilots to turn things around, they will need leading scorer Tyler Robertson to break out of his shooting slump. Robertson has failed to score in double-digits in the past two games and was 1-9 from the field in the Pilots' last game. He’ll need to find the shooting stroke he had in early December, or the Pilots will be in danger of a long losing streak.
The current point total for this game is sitting at 148.5 points, and I’ll be taking the under as my best play for the game. The under is 13-5 in San Francisco games this season, and with the way both offenses have been performing recently, I think that trend will continue to be profitable tonight.
Both teams have consistently struggled with turnovers all season, and the back-and-forth sloppiness on offense leads me to the under. Portland had 16 turnovers in their last game, which led to them scoring a total of 43 points. With San Francisco’s ability to limit ball movement, I think the Pilots could struggle with consistently ending possessions with shots instead of turnovers.
Offensively both sides like to shoot threes, but they both struggle to get offensive rebounds and second-chance looks. With the way both teams have been shooting, they need to take advantage of the long rebounds to get put-backs; unfortunately, San Francisco ranks 160th in offensive rebounds per game, and Portland ranks 315th.