College Basketball Betting: PAC-12 Tournament Preview
For the eighth straight year, the PAC-12 Tournament heads to Las Vegas where 11 games will take place over four days. The top four seeds all received a first round bye and will await the winners of the four opening round games. Last year broke a string of five straight tournaments where the no. 1 and no. 2 seeds met in the finals as the Oregon Ducks took home the title as the sixth seed.
Favorite – Depending on your source, they are saying the PAC-12 could send as many as seven or as few as four teams to the NCAA Tournament. As of now, top seed Oregon, Arizona, and Colorado appear comfortably in meaning there are going to be a lot of games with extra meaning. The Ducks won the regular season title but were far from dominant and ranked a surprisingly low seventh in defensive efficiency. But they were without the services of Francis Okoro, N’Faly Dante, and Chris Duarte for extended swatches. Durate (finger) isn’t likely to return until the NCAA Tournament but even with Okoro and Dante playing limited minutes, Oregon’s defense is far better than its season stats suggest. Overall, it sets up well for the Ducks to advance to the finals with Arizona and Colorado playing in the opening round but you’re getting no discounts at less than 2-1. And you certainly aren’t with Arizona who was relegated to the fifth seed after losing at home to Washington in the season finale. If you like the Cats, you’re far better off just betting each of their games rather than the +370 for a team that needs to win four games in four days.
Darkhorse – Washington is going to be a sexy pick for bettors in large part because the Huskies were statistically as good as a 10-8 or 9-9 team rather than 5-13. And +3375 is a pretty hefty payout. But UW’s path is far tougher than fellow bottom feeders Cal and Washington State. The Huskies drew a pissed off Arizona squad they just upset in Tucson in the first round and are also on Oregon’s side of the bracket. Of the teams playing on Day 1, Stanford has the best shot at making a deep run. Depending on how it plays out, the Cardinal could be favored in every game until the finals, assuming they face the Ducks. UCLA is a nice story but the Bruins are one of the weakest no. 2 seeds of any power conference tournament.
What to Bet – As much as I dislike Arizona — it’s hard to imagine NOT betting against this team in the NCAA Tournament — and as underrated as Washington is based on its unlucky ways, the Cats should be sitting on one of their better efforts of the season. In the recent loss to the Huskies, Arizona shot 12-of-36 from 2-point range thanks to a plethora of missed shots in the paint. Some of it was frustration from UW’s zone but some of it was also fluky. More importantly, the point spread should be reasonable (Arizona -3-ish) based on how each team closed the season.
Odds to Win Tournament
Arizona State +1050
Oregon State +4000
Washington State +20000
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