Bay Area Hoops Present Top College Picks

 UC Davis basketball players

Jay Pryce

Friday, December 15, 2017 1:00 PM GMT

Friday, Dec. 15, 2017 1:00 PM GMT

Our top college basketball picks for Friday target a pair of games from the Bay Area, including Denver at Stanford and UC Davis at San Francisco. Predictions, best bets, and previews here.

Denver vs Stanford (-11)

Stanford (4-6 SU, 2-8 ATS) welcomes Denver (5-6 SU, 2-7 ATS) to Maples Pavilion fresh off an 11-day break for final exams. Although academics was the primary focus, the Cardinal certainly used the time off to improve some issues on the court. This is the first time in more than a decade Stanford owns a losing record after its first 10 contests.

The team entered the season the fifth-most veteran bunch in Division-I with 584 combined games. A host of injuries to the backcourt, including to two starters Dorian Pickens and Marcus Sheffield, chipped away at this invaluable experience. Head coach Jerod Hasse is now playing three freshmen (Issac White, Oscar da Silva, and Daejon Davis) for 27 minutes or more per night.

Strong defense is proving Stanford’s best weapon this season, holding foes to 100.2 points per 100 possessions. Offensively, look for the Cardinal to feed the ball down low. Stanford owns a big edge in the paint over the Pioneers. Forwards Reid Travis and Michael Humphrey combine for 32.8 points and 16.4 rebounds per game, second best as a post-up duo in the Pac-12 conference.

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The Travis + Humphrey post tandem ranks second in the Pac-12 in both combined scoring (32.8 PPG) and rebounding (16.4 RPG).#GoStanford

— Stanford Men's Basketball (@StanfordMBB) December 13, 2017

Denver, meanwhile, is defense-oriented, limiting opponents to 40.3 percent from the floor, second in the Summit League. It’s best guarding the perimeter, allowing 31.1 percent from deep. Guard Joe Rosga leads the team in scoring, putting up 16.5 points per night. The Pioneers have had an easy run of games to open the year, owning the 307th easiest schedule per KenPom.

The Cardinal have won its last 10 post-exam games and are a perfect 6-0 SU all-time hosting Denver. Since 2006, the Pioneers are 0-7 SU and 1-6 ATS versus Pac-12 teams. They tip off 11.4-point underdogs, losing to the number by a whopping 9.9 points per game. Power 5 opponents simply outclass them in this spot. Pick Stanford -11 for the best value.

Free NCAAB Pick: Stanford -11Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

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UC Davis vs San Francisco (-6)

Early sharp money has moved the line form a -4 opener to -6 in favor of San Francisco (5-3 SU, 1-4 ATS) in its home date with UC Davis (7-2 SU, 5-0 ATS). As of publication, the Dons are seeing just 25 percent of tickets across multiple top-rated online sportsbooks. A bit surprising considering this: the Aggies rank No. 20 in College Insider’s latest Mid-Major Top 25 poll, favorites to win their third Big West championship in the last four years. Moreover, San Francisco, which has played all but one of its first eight games at the Sobrato Center, lost to arguably two weaker Big West opponents (Long Beach State, UC Santa Barbara) earlier in the year.

The Dons are struggling offensively against some fledgling competition. Owning the 325th easiest schedule, it ranks 222nd in KenPom’s adjusted offensive efficiency. The team is shooting 39.1 percent from the floor, despite playing nearly half its schedule against D-II opponents. The Aggies present by far its toughest defensive opponent yet. They rank 97th in efficiency, play at a lockdown pace, and smother opponents in the paint.

The Dons are 9-14 SU and 5-17 ATS versus Big West opponents in the last decade. It’s tough to see them blowing out the conference’s best team and regaining their shooting touch in this spot. Gobble up the +6 points with the Aggies.

Free NCAAB Pick: UC Davis +6Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

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