Oregon vs. Colotado College Basketball Odds, Picks & Predictions: Back the Buffs Against Porous Ducks Defense (Thursday, Feb. 3)
Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images. Pictured: Elijah Parquet (24) of the Colorado Buffaloes.
- The Oregon Ducks (13-7) and Colorado Buffaloes (13-8) meet on Thursday night with Oregon favored by 2 points on the road.
- The Ducks are clearly a very talented team, but the Buffaloes offense is well-suited to exploit Oregon's porous interior defense.
- College basketball betting analyst Tanner McGrath breaks down Thursday's Pac-12 conference matchup between Oregon and Colorado and shares his betting pick below.
Oregon vs. Colorado Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
Is Oregon back?
The college hoops world thought so after the Ducks rolled off five straight Pac-12 wins. Following a disastrous non-conference season, Oregon was back in the mix by sweeping UCLA and USC.
But then, Oregon laid a complete egg at home against a tournament bubble team. That team was Colorado — and that win was one of only two in the Buffaloes' last eight games.
The Buffaloes now look to upset the Ducks again, this time at home and as much shorter favorites. Can Colorado pull off the series sweep?
Dana Altman's teams always play better come March. However, if Altman doesn't pull another miracle in the Pac-12 tournament, the Ducks will have to pull it together in February.
Right now, Oregon is firmly on the bubble. BracketWAG has Oregon as one of the last four in, while ESPN's bracketology has Oregon as one of the first four out. That's a dangerous spot, and Oregon's previous loss to Colorado is troubling.
There are two big takeaways from the Ducks' recent performances:
1. The Ducks offense is coming together.
Since Pac-12 conference play began (excluding the two-game set in December), the Ducks are averaging 1.17 points per possession (PPP). The backcourt tandem of Will Richardson and Jacob Young is beginning to play more consistently.
2. Oregon's defense is still very questionable.
The Ducks' interior defense is a major problem. Oregon ranks 184th in 2-point defense (49.9%) and sub-250 in defensive rebounding rate. The Ducks also rank in the 12th percentile in pick-and-roll roll man PPP allowed (1.157) and rank in the 36th percentile in post-up PPP allowed (.833).
You could target Quincy Guerrier for that, as he hasn't been excellent. But nobody has been particularly active on the defensive end.
Colorado is very young. The Buffs' 1.34 average years of experience ranks 310th among Division-I teams.
That's a good thing. Jabari Walker, Keeshawn Barthlemey, and Tristan da Silva are all sophomores with big potential. Starting point guard KJ Simpson is also a freshman who has flashed high talent.
However the Buffaloes are prone to freshman mistakes, most notably — turnovers. Colorado ranks among the nation's bottom-100 teams in turnover rate and non-steal turnover rate. Colorado's 0.39 steal-to-turnover ratio ranks 11th in the Pac-12 Conference.
Coach Tad Boyle's young team relies on its defense, which ranks top-50 nationally in defensive efficiency.
The Buffaloes are especially good at defending the pick-and-roll and rebounding. Colorado ranks 17th in PPP allowed (0.59) vs. pick-and-roll and ranks fourth in the Pac-12 in defensive rebounding rate.
Nonetheless, Colorado has yet to translate its potential into meaningful wins. Morevoer, the Buffaloes are just 1-4 against the spread (ATS) in their last five games.
Oregon vs. Colorado Betting Pick
Colorado is going to attack the interior. The Buffs are 315th nationally in 3-point rate (31.6% 3PA/FGA) and like to play through Walker and senior center Evan Battey.
Colorado's 3-point aversion inadvertently exploits Oregon's greatest weakness: Interior defense.
The Buffaloes offense isn't very efficient, but the team went 21-for-40 (52.5%) from 2-point range in its previous win over Oregon, taking 12 attempts at the rim and sinking nine of them:
Image credit: CBB Analytics
It's going to be hard to bet Colorado to beat Oregon again, but you don't want to be on the public's side. As of writing, just 18% of the tickets are on the Buffaloes versus 33% of the money. That dollars-vs-tickets disparity triggers one of our classic Action Network PRO systems:
It hurts to bet, but the smart bet is on Colorado as a short home dog.