Colorado vs. Stanford Basketball Odds & Pick: Back Buffaloes On Thursday Night
Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Colorado guard McKinley Wright.
- Colorado goes for a sweep against Pac-12 foe Stanford on Thursday night in Palo Alto.
- The Buffaloes are short favorites in this matchup, but BJ Cunningham thinks they're providing plenty of value against the short-handed Cardinal.
- Check out Cunningham's full analysis and betting pick for this game below.
Colorado vs. Stanford Odds
|-115 / -105|
Colorado goes for a sweep over Stanford on Thursday when it travels to Palo Alto.
The Buffaloes have been on a tear in Pac-12 play, winning four of their last five games. Colorado is only one game behind USC and UCLA for the top spot in the conference, so this game on Thursday is vitally important for its hopes of winning a Pac-12 regular-season title.
Stanford got back on track over the weekend by beating last-place California in back-to-back games at home.
However, this season has been a disaster for the Cardinal, as a lot of their best players have been refusing to play. Five-star freshman Ziaire Williams and Bryce Wills were available to play against California but did not see the court.
Daejon Davis was also questionable before the game, but it looks like he’ll be available. It will be an uphill climb for Stanford on Thursday if it doesn’t get much from those three players.
When Colorado has the ball
The Buffaloes have the best offense in the Pac-12 right now, averaging over 1.11 points per possession.
The reason for that is because they are the best shooting team in the conference, ranking first in effective field goal percentage. Point guard McKinley Wright has been one of the best backcourt players in the conference this season, averaging 14.5 points per game.
He also has the 29th-highest assist rate in the country, per KenPom, so he will be a matchup nightmare for Stanford if Davis is out again.
The real strength of this Colorado team is at the charity stripe. The Buffaloes are the No. 1 free-throw shooting team in the country, at 83%. The problem is they aren’t getting to the free-throw line as often as they should because they have one of the lowest free-throw rates in the conference.
Despite all of the turmoil, Stanford has been solid on the defensive end of the floor. The Cardinal are allowing only 1.00 point per possession and have been solid in just about every defensive metric this season.
The biggest problem that plagued Stanford in the first meeting with Colorado was the fact that they allowed the Buffaloes to grab 14 offensive rebounds.
Evan Battey dominated them in the paint as well, scoring 17 points and grabbing 12 rebounds. They’ll need to keep him in check on Thursday if they want to have any shot of winning.
When Stanford has the ball
The offensive end of the floor has been a struggle for Stanford this season, especially with Williams, Wills and Davis out of the lineup. The Cardinal average only 1.02 point per possession.
They have two main problems: 1. They struggle to hold on to the ball, and 2. They can’t hit anything from behind the arc.
Stanford has the second-highest turnover rate in the Pac-12 at well over 20%. With Davis out things have gotten even worse for the Cardinal, as they’ve turned the ball over 11 or more times in their last six games without him in the lineup.
Stanford is also shooting a dismal 31.8% from beyond the arc. It shot only 27.8% from 3 the last time it faced Colorado, so it’ll need to shoot the ball much better on Thursday if it’s going to take down the Buffaloes.
Colorado’s defense has been solid during conference play, allowing only 1.01 points per possession. It’s stellar at guarding the paint, allowing only 48.3% from 2-point range and held the Cardinal to only 40.5% in the first meeting.
The Buffaloes also have the third-highest turnover rate forced in the conference, so they should be able to create a lot of havoc on Thursday.
Betting Analysis & Pick
If Williams, Davis and Wills are out again I just don’t see how the Cardinal are going to be able to hang with the Buffaloes. Colorado is too good offensively in almost every aspect, and Stanford doesn’t have the talent to keep it in check.
I have the Buffaloes projected as -4.63 favorites, so I think there’s some value on Colorado at -1.
Pick: Colorado -1 (up to -2.5).