Arizona vs Arizona State Picks, Odds: How to Bet Pac-12 Rivalry
Pictured: Arizona State Sun Devils Guard Frankie Collins. (Photo by Zac BonDurant/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Arizona vs Arizona State Odds
The fifth-ranked Arizona Wildcats head to Tempe for the 244th meeting in one of the oldest rivalries in college basketball. Arizona State and Arizona first played in 1913, and since then it’s been a back-and-forth series known for being streaky.
Arizona leads the all-time series by a wide 157-86 margin and is on a four-game win streak, dating back to January 2021. The Wildcats are a top-10 team with one of the most dynamic offenses in the country, but will face one of their toughest challenges yet against the Sun Devils on Saturday.
The Sun Devils are everything Arizona isn’t and primarily benefit from a stout defense. But will that defense be strong enough to contain the number one scoring team in the nation? Let’s dig into the matchup.
Arizona is the best team in college basketball when it comes to scoring, effective field goal percentage and two-point percentage.
But they aren’t perfect. The Wildcats have struggled with turnovers, giving the ball up on 16.9% of possessions. They’ve also relied heavily on fast-break points and points off turnovers. The Arizona offense is built on the idea of pushing the pace and getting off as many shots as possible.
Arizona ranks 10th nationally in adjusted tempo and is fifth in made field goals. The Wildcats also take 34.7% of their field-goal attempts at the rim, where Arizona State has been at its best defensively. Arizona State holds opposing teams to just 54.4% shooting at the rim, a far cry from the outstanding 75.6% the Wildcats have posted this season.
I don’t think the Sun Devils are going to hold the Wildcats to less than 60% at the rim. Additionally, the Wildcats have been capable scorers from almost anywhere on the floor, but anything the Sun Devils can do to slow them down will help.
Bobby Hurley brought in a ton of promising transfer talent in the offseason, but many expected it to take some time before ASU developed into a solid team. However, the Sun Devils had other plans. They hit the ground running and are 11-2 on the season.
Both of Arizona State’s losses have come on the road against inferior competition, though both be simply be chalked up as bad games for Hurley’s squad.
Arizona State is allowing teams to score just 64.1 points per game. The Sun Devils rank ninth in the nation and are holding opponents to a 42.6% effective field-goal percentage. I firmly believe they’ll be able to give the Wildcats offense fits, but can they keep up offensively?
Arizona State’s offense isn’t anything worth writing home about. The Sun Devils rank outside the top 200 when it comes to effective field-goal percentage, two-point percentage and three-point percentage. However, there is one area in which Arizona State could find success against Arizona.
The Wildcats worst defensive area on the season and in their past five games has been the mid-range. Arizona has allowed teams to hit 36% of shots on the season and better than 40% from mid-range over the past five games. The Sun Devils not only take a ton of shots from the mid-range, but it’s been their best area both on the season and over their past five games. Continued success from mid-range will be the key to this game for the Sun Devils.
Arizona vs. Arizona State Betting Pick
Both teams are coming into this matchup fresh. Arizona State hasn’t played since Dec. 21st and Arizona’s last game was on the 22nd. The Wildcats are on another level when it comes to offensive ability, there’s no denying that. However, their defense can be taken advantage of.
Arizona State is the second best team in college basketball when it comes to defending two-point shooting and I think they match up well enough against the Wildcats to keep this rivalry game close.
Slowing the pace of this game down will benefit the Sun Devils. Both teams have been able to draw fouls at a rate that puts them top 25 in the nation, but both also lack reliable scorers off the bench. If fouls start to stack up for either team, this game could get lopsided quick.
Finally, the Wildcats are lacking severely when it comes to proven ability on the road. Arizona has only played one true road game this season — which it lost — and is just 9-4 in true road games dating back to the beginning of last year.
I think Arizona State can do enough to keep this one close, and I’ll be backing them at +5 or better.
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