NCAAB Odds, Pick for Arizona vs Utah: Wildcats Overrated?

NCAAB Odds, Pick for Arizona vs Utah: Wildcats Overrated? article feature image
Credit:

Chris Coduto/Getty Images. Pictured: Arizona’s Oumar Ballo.

Arizona vs Utah Odds, Pick

Thursday, Feb. 8
8 p.m. ET
Pac-12 Network
Arizona Odds
SpreadTotalMoneyline
-5.5
-110
160.5
-105o / -115u
-250
Utah Odds
SpreadTotalMoneyline
+5.5
-110
160.5
-105o / -115u
+200
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NCAAB odds here.

Tommy Lloyd's Arizona Wildcats are the most talented team in the Pac-12. The problem is they've struggled in multiple games that could have easily been losses instead of wins.

The Wildcats trailed at the half in their last matchup against Stanford — a team that had already beaten them earlier in the year. Their other two losses came against Washington State and Oregon State, and Arizona entered both as a heavy favorite.

The Cats now travel to Salt Lake City, Utah, to take on the Utes. It's a sleepy spot for Arizona, which heads to Colorado for its next contest.


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Arizona Wildcats

The Wildcats rank fourth on KenPom while sitting top-12 in both adjusted offensive and defensive efficiency, but they're nowhere near the fourth-best team in the country.

Guards Caleb Love and Kylan Boswell provide the majority of the scoring for the Wildcats, but their seasons have been inconsistent at times. Love, specifically, got off to an incredible shooting start, but he has struggled of late.

Meanwhile, Boswell was practically a no-show until a couple of weeks ago, and it looks like he's kicking back into gear. He was a big reason Arizona came back against Stanford in its last game.

The Cats have a clear rebounding advantage in the contest, which will deny second scoring chances for the Utes. However, Arizona has struggled at the free-throw line, and it's already a tough matchup to earn trips to the charity stripe.

Most of the Wildcats' offensive damage will come from beyond the arc, and these shooters should have plenty of chances to cash in from deep because the Utes struggle to defend the perimeter.

The Cats don't take many 3s per game, so they must cash in on their opportunities. It's a tough matchup for their offense inside, so they're in trouble if they have a poor shooting performance.


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Utah Utes

The Utes have an opportunity to catch the Wildcats napping at home.

Utah lost to Arizona, 92-73, earlier in the season, but that game featured a misleading box score.

First off, the Cats shot 10-of-18 from 3-point land. Even for a great 3-point shooting team, that's ridiculously fortunate. The Utes were also a subject of poor shooting variance, as they went 10-of-35 from deep in that game despite the fact they've shot 38% from 3 on the season.

There's good reason to believe the first matchup was a bad case of shooting variance, and it's bound to be different this time around.

In the paint, big man Branden Carlson has the ability to force Arizona's Oumar Ballo into discomfort during the matchup. His shooting ability from deep forces Ballo to defend on the perimeter and opens up the paint for easy buckets.

Carlson went 1-of-6 from 3 in the first matchup, so a big game is brewing. He's by far the biggest X-factor of the matchup and a critical part of this Utes team.

His offensive flexibility is complemented by his ability to protect the rim. This matchup against a tough interior defense isn't great for the Utes, but his presence alone should open up spacing throughout the contest.

Guard Deivon Smith wasn't a factor in the last matchup, but he has picked up the offensive rhythm of late, scoring 17 or more in three of his last four games.

The Utes are coming off an impressive win over Colorado and are now returning home. The situational spot is much worse for the Cats, considering all of their losses came on the road.

Utah is undefeated at home, and it has revenge on its mind.

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Arizona vs Utah

Betting Pick & Prediction

This is a good spot to back Utah, and hopefully the market is generous with an inflated number. Many casual bettors may back the Cats because of their blowout victory over the Utes earlier in the year.

Despite the fact Utah's coming off of an impressive win, it has a lot of work to do to earn an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. Plus, the Pac-12 isn't doing itself any favors with lackluster performances each night.

With revenge at stake, I expect Carlson to have a much more impactful performance this time around. If shooting regression hits the Cats, expect this contest to go down to the wire.

There's a slight concern about the Utes' perimeter defense, but regardless, their offense is bound to put up a solid performance.

Trust Utah at home against an overrated Arizona team.

Pick: Utah +3.5 or Better

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