Friday College Basketball Odds, Picks, Predictions: Fresno State Bulldogs vs. Colorado State Rams
Ethan Miller/Getty Images. Pictured: Junior Ballard
- Colorado State is favored at home in a key Mountain West clash against Fresno State.
- The Rams and Bulldogs are among a handful of legitimate contenders in a deeper-than-expected league.
- Continue reading for a full breakdown of this matchup, including a betting pick.
Fresno State vs. Colorado State Odds
|Fresno State Odds|
-110o / -110u
|Colorado State Odds|
-110o / -110u
Are we really getting a five-bid Mountain West?
This is the best version of the league we’ve seen in years. San Diego State generally runs this conference, but this year the Aztecs are caught beneath other major contenders.
This matchup features two of those contenders.
Fresno State is on the outside looking in, but it has the MWC Player of the Year favorite in its lineup. Orlando Robinson has been spectacular.
Meanwhile, Colorado State is on the inside looking out, and the Rams don’t plan on stopping their production.
But do the Rams have the juice to cover this short spread at home?
The story of Fresno State is Big O.
Robinson currently ranks fifth in KenPom’s Player of the Year rankings. The center is used on 34.2% of the Bulldogs’ possessions, which is the seventh-highest among all D-I players. He drops 19 points and grabs eight boards per game.
He’s also surprisingly nimble for his 7-foot frame and is an amazing passer. His 24% assist rate is one of the highest in the Mountain West.
extremely normal seven footer stuff from orlando robinson pic.twitter.com/OtLbQP5H0b
— Ben Pfeifer (@bjpf_) January 28, 2022
He blocks over a shot per game, but the advanced metrics don’t love Robinson’s defense. Per Synergy, Robinson ranks in just the 16th percentile in half-court PPP allowed (.977) and in the 11th percentile in post-up PPP allowed (1.143).
Luckily, the rest of the defense picks him up. Fresno is 23rd nationally in defensive efficiency and is one of the best rebounding teams in the Mountain West.
Image credit: CBB Analytics
Fresno sports a 16-7 overall record, but its 6-4 conference record is lagging behind the MWC’s top-tier. The Bulldogs are also 14-7-1 ATS overall but just 2-5 as an underdog.
Niko Medved is inevitable.
The Rams just win. The team is just fifth in the conference in offensive efficiency and sixth in defensive efficiency, but CSU is 8-3 with wins over Utah State and San Diego State.
The Rams’ season-long offensive numbers are also staggering. They’re top-10 in eFG% (56.3%) and top-20 in offensive turnover rate (15.3%). Medved’s offense rocketed the Rams to non-conference wins over Creighton and Saint Mary’s.
Everything starts and stops with David Roddy.
DAVID RODDY (@droddy22) CALLS GAME FOR CSU❗️😤
— NCAA March Madness (@MarchMadnessMBB) February 5, 2022
Roddy is one of the nation’s most unique players. He stands just 6-foot-6 but can post up with the best of ’em, and he handles the ball as well as any Mountain West point guard despite weighing 255 lbs.
He’s averaging 19/8/3 with a 120 ORtg while shooting 50% from 3.
He’s not the greatest defender, but he’s the engine that powers the Rams. CSU’s net rating decreases by 19.6 points when he’s off the floor, which is more than 95% of D-I players.
Image credit: CBB Analytics
At no point was that more obvious than in the Colorado State loss to Wyoming. Roddy fouled out in overtime and the Cowboys immediately went on a 7-0 run with Roddy on the bench. Wyoming won by 3.
BracketWag has Colorado State on the 9-seed line at the time of this writing. The Rams will almost surely snag an at-large bid if they don’t win the conference tournament — granted they don’t suffer any more home losses to UNLV.
Fresno State vs. Colorado State Betting Pick
Colorado State has won and covered in six straight opportunities against Fresno State.
Not for long.
The Rams are coming off two straight victories — including an emotional one over San Diego State — and may be looking forward to a Sunday showdown with conference-leading Boise State.
Meanwhile, the Bulldogs just dropped a tough home game to Wyoming by two and will be looking to bounce back into regular-season title contention.
I also think the Bulldogs pace will bother Roddy’s Rams. Fresno State is 356th nationally in tempo this season, and that could mess with a Rams team that gets out in transition at a top-50 rate nationally (26.7% of the time).
But even if Fresno State can’t pull off a much-needed upset, this is too many points for a gritty game between two of the Mountain West’s best teams. KenPom projects this spread at Fresno +3, and Bart Torvik projects it at Fresno +1.3.
I’m seeing some downward pressure on the market, with a couple of books already having shifted this line to Fresno +5.5. I’ll happily catch the six, but I would need a 1.5-point buffer over the KenPom spread to recommend this play.