Stanford visited the Barclays Center a couple times last year, which provides it a major advantage over UNLV in the first-half betting odds Friday night.
UNLV has won its first two games in straight-up fashion despite welcoming back zero starters from a year ago, which is important to consider when making your NCAA basketball predictions, as the youthful squad travels for the first time.
The Runnin’ Rebels will rely heavily on one of the top freshmen classes in the country, with Findlay Prep standout Rashad Vaughn leading the way, as he’s averaged 22 points in his first two games at the collegiate level. Over the last two-plus seasons, the program is 4-13 SU and 7-10 ATS as underdogs, with the UNDER going 9-8 in that situation.
A Balanced Start
Stanford is expected to make some noise in the Pac-12 Conference in head coach Johnny Dawkins seventh year in Palo Alto, as three starters returned to campus after being eliminated in the Sweet 16 Round of the 2014 NCAA Tournament.
The Cardinal have three probable starters averaging double figures, which can’t be ignored when looking over the NCAA basketball odds, with fifth-year senior Stefan Nastic leading the way in scoring 40 points and grabbing 16 rebounds in the first two games. Sports bettors will find that the team is 7-7 SU and 6-6-2 ATS on a neutral floor since the start of the 2012-13 campaign.
The Runnin’ Rebels have failed to cover the number in their first two contests due to slow starts under head coach Dave Rice, as they’ve been surprisingly outscored by an average of 3.5 points in the opening 20 minutes at the Thomas & Mack Center.
Rice has gained a reputation in Sin City as one of the best recruiters in the country, but many experts in the desert feel he doesn’t measure up to other coaches in terms of game planning.
The Cardinal will be making their third visit to this venue since last November, as they participated in the Progressive Legends Classic, while returning for the Brooklyn Holiday Invitational a month later during the 2013-14 season.
Stanford averaged 72.7 points and shot 48.7 percent from the floor over a three-game span, with its three returning starters contributing 37.3 points a contest in that environment.
I’m going to recommend that readers back the Cardinal in the first half as one of their NCAA basketball picks, as their experience of playing under the bright lights will serve them well early on in this matchup.
NCAA Basketball Pick: Stanford Cardinal First Half at 5Dimes