College Basketball Odds & Bets: Iowa State vs. Kansas, USC vs. Washington, More For Thursday
John McCoy/Getty Images. Pictured: Evan Mobley.
- Our college basketball staff sees plenty of value on the Pac-12 today, with three of their top four bets coming from out west.
- Our writers broke down Utah vs. Cal, Iowa State vs. Kansas, Colorado vs. Stanford and USC vs. Washington to keep things rolling throughout the night.
- Check out each individual pick complete with a betting breakdown below.
It’s a big Pac-12 day here at The Action Network.
Three of our staff’s top four college basketball bets for the day come from the Pac-12 with one other pick coming from the Big 12.
It all starts with Cal vs. Utah at 6 p.m. ET, which is followed by Iowa State vs. Kansas and Colorado vs. Stanford at 7 p.m. To close things out, BJ Cunningham breaks down USC vs. Washington at 10 p.m.
Check out full breakdowns and picks for each game below, and feel free to navigate to any game by using the table below.
College Basketball Odds & Picks
All listed odds have been updated as of Thursday morning. Specific bet recommendations at the end of each matchup breakdown come from the sportsbook offering preferred odds as of writing on Thursday morning.
Always shop for the best price using our NCAAB Odds page, which automatically surfaces the best lines for every game.
Cal vs. Utah
This is a potential sleepy spot for Utah after back-to-back upset wins over Arizona and Colorado in a game the Buffaloes remarkably led by 19 points with eight minutes to go.
Meanwhile, Cal has lost six consecutive games against teams in the top half of the conference, but three were at least competitive until the end. The Golden Bears’ last win came against this same Utah team on the road. It was a game they won without their best player, Matt Bradley, who has since returned and looked healthier with each passing game.
Utah also isn’t likely to take advantage of Cal’s nonexistent transition defense. And while its half-court defense is almost as poor, you’d have to think it will get some 3-point misses eventually with conference foes shooting more than 40% from deep in league play.
Ultimately, I think this line is too high after Utah’s recent big wins. Don’t forget, this is the same Utes squad that lost at Washington prior to those two upset victories. I’m selling high and taking the value with the home dog based on my power ratings.
Pick: Cal +5
Iowa State vs. Kansas
Backing Iowa State takes an iron stomach, especially on the road in a game that will count against the Quadrant 1 record.
Even if Allen Fieldhouse is allowing just 2,000 fans inside, it’s still a daunting task to win a road conference game. Iowa State is just 2-12 on the season, but a closer look shows that players are still competing hard for head coach Steve Prohm.
The Cyclones have covered three consecutive games and hit on four overs in a row against the total.
In Iowa State’s past seven trips to Allen Fieldhouse, the Cyclones have covered six times. History and recent box scores suggest this will be a competitive game.
The big question is how Iowa State has been able to keep double-digit point spreads as underdogs so close to an outright upset.
Rasir Bolton has been a big part of the resurgence, logging the most minutes for the Cyclones and posting double-digit points in every game this season with the exception of a win against Jackson State. Bolton went 13-for-13 from the charity stripe in a close loss to TCU this past weekend, while shooting 5-of-8 from long range in a close loss to Oklahoma a week ago.
Iowa State fields the Big 12’s best team when it comes to perimeter defending, allowing opponents to shoot just 29.8%.
Kansas has the edge in plenty of categories, but this will be a game that has to be won in the paint. The Jayhawks have failed to protect the perimeter from a defensive aspect, ranking eighth in the Big 12 in opponent 3-point shooting percentage.
Look for Iowa State to continue harassing Kansas defensively around the arc to keep up with its host through Bolton’s stellar play.
Pick: Iowa State +15
Colorado vs. Stanford
The Colorado Buffaloes look to complete the season sweep against the Stanford Cardinal tonight.
These teams last met on Jan. 16 in a game that Colorado dominated from the start, en route to a 13-point win. The Buffaloes led by 22 points early in that game, which came against a full-strength Stanford lineup.
In this matchup, the Cardinal could play without Daejon Davis and Ziaire Williams due to unspecified reasons. Although both are probable, their minutes could potentially be reduced.
Williams has averaged 12.5 points and 5.7 rebounds in the 13 games he has played. In the first meeting, he finished with 17 points and five rebounds.
Obviously, that production will be sorely missed. Stanford’s “Big 3” of Williams, Oscar da Silva and Jaiden Delaire scored 52 of Stanford’s 64 points in the first game.
The rest of the Cardinal combined to hit 3-of-16 shots from the field, good for a dismal 18.8% and just 12 points. Without Williams, it will be up to the rest of the Stanford lineup to pick up that slack, which is a feat that doesn’t seem feasible.
Colorado owns the No. 1-ranked offensive efficiency ranking in the Pac-12, which is good for ninth in the country, according to KenPom.
The Buffaloes shoot the highest effective field-goal percentage in the conference, plus they’re ranked second in terms of turnover percentage. In contrast, Stanford turns the ball over more than any team in conference play besides Washington State.
That said, I believe the Cardinal are overvalued in this spot after their two wins over Cal. Although they need a win, due to the fact they’re one of the current teams on the NCAA Tournament bubble, I think they will struggle to keep up with the Buffaloes’ extremely efficient offense.
Pick: Colorado Pick’em
USC vs. Washington
The Trojans are starting to round into form as not only one of the best teams in the Pac 12, but one of the finest in the nation.
They’ve been dominant on both ends of the floor, especially inside with uber-talented, five-star freshman Evan Mobley. He has been dominating everyone in the Pac-12, averaging 16.3 points and 9.0 rebounds per game.
Mobley’s presence in the paint has allowed the Trojans to be one of the best teams in the country inside, as they’re shooting 61.6% on shot attempts at the rim, per Hoop-Math. The Trojans also have the highest offensive-rebound rate in the Pac-12 at well over 35%, which is going to be a major problem for Washington in this affair.
The Huskies’ 2-3 zone defense has been shredded during conference play, allowing a whopping 1.16 points per possession. The main issue has been the fact they’re allowing way too many second-chance points, as their opponents have a 39.6% offensive rebound rate against the zone.
In the first meeting between these sides, USC torched the zone for 1.32 points per possession and grabbed 16 rebounds in the process.
Washington’s offense hasn’t been up to par either, averaging 1.00 points per possession in conference play. The Huskies can’t seem to do anything right, sitting near the bottom of the Pac-12 in just about every offensive metric.
In my opinion, the only way they’re going to hang with USC is by hitting a ton of 3s. Washington chucks it up from deep on 41.1% of its field-goal attempts, hitting more than 35% of its 3-point attempts.
The problem with that is the fact USC boasts one of the best 3-point defenses in the conference, allowing only 31.9% from deep. It’s also one of the tallest teams in the country. So, the Huskies are going to have a lot of difficulties trying to get decent shot opportunities.
I think USC is going to rout Washington just like it did in the first matchup when it beat the Huskies, 95-68.
I have the Trojans projected as -14.51 favorites, so I think there’s plenty of value at -10.5.
Pick: USC -10.5