Bay Area Hosts Cal, Stanford Feature in Pac-12 Picks Thursday

Jay Pryce

Thursday, February 1, 2018 3:26 PM UTC

Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018 3:26 PM UTC

The Bay Area is home to a pair of intriguing betting matchups Thursday when Cal hosts Oregon as 8.5-point underdogs, while Stanford lays -5 at Maples Pavilion to visitors Oregon State. What side of the number are you on? Our picks here.

Oregon (-8.5) at California

California (7-15 SU, 7-13 ATS) is looking to snap an eight-game Pac-12 losing streak hosting Oregon (14-7 SU, 9-11 ATS) Thursday at 9 p.m. ET. The Golden Bears are rebuilding under first-year coach Wyking Jones with a trio of freshman forward Justice Sueing (14.3 ppg), guard Darius McNeill (11.9 ppg), and guard Juhwan Harris-Dyson (5.4 ppg) comprising half of the main six-man rotation. The inexperience is showing primarily on the offensive end.

In the last six contests, Cal has put up more than 59 points once. Four contests were away from home, the Bears 11.5-point underdogs on average. They are shooting 38.2 percent from the floor in this span, a dismal 23 of 100 from behind the arc. Cal sits 254th in KenPom’s adjusted efficiency rankings, the lowest of all Pac-12 teams — and it's not even close. Colorado is next on the list at No. 179.

The Ducks haven’t been flying high in the scoring department of late, either. Since starting conference play, they put up a pedestrian 73.2 points per game. The betting market expects more. Oregon has surpassed its projected team total twice in eight contests. Prior to Pac-12 play, it posted 85.3 per tilt, inflated by an easy early-season schedule.

Oregon is just as young and inexperienced as Cal with four freshmen -- Kenny Wooten, Victor Bailey Jr., Troy Brown Jr., and Abu Kigab -- combining for 69 minutes per game over the last three weeks, but the talent is better and motivated. The Ducks rank 81st in NCAA’s RPI figures, still in the hunt for a sixth straight NCAA Tournament bid. Look for coach Dana Altman’s team to put it all together against the Pac-12’s worst scoring offense and defense. Oregon wins 78-67 and covers an -8.5 line.

Altman is committed to focusing his group and keeping Oregon's March Madness hopes alive:

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Coach Altman with the #WednesdayWisdom after the Civil War victory over the weekend. @OregonMBB @GoDucks #GoDucks

— Oregon IMG (@OregonIMG) January 31, 2018

Free NCAAB Pick: OregonBest Line Offered: Bookmaker

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Oregon State at Stanford (-5)

Oregon State (11-9 SU, 8-12 ATS) has registered just two wins at Maples Pavilion since 1993, but enters this matchup primed to upset. The Beavers are experienced, formidable and execute the small things well. They own the top scoring (66.1 ppg) and field goal percentage (41.4) defense in Pac-12 play, field three veterans closing in on the 1,000-point club (Stephen Thompson Jr., Drew Eubanks, and Tres Tinkle) for the third time in program history, and shoot 70.7 percent from the charity stripe.

Flourishing in the above-mentioned areas keeps teams competitive and allows for wins in close games. Oregon State, although only two games over .500, has not lost by double digits all season. Impressive considering it has played the 153rd toughest schedule out of 351 Division I programs this season.

Stanford (11-11 SU, 11-11 ATS), meanwhile, has squared off against much stronger foes, owning the 32nd-hardest schedule nationally. Forecasting which Cardinal team shows up each outing is proving a challenge. They are 7-4 SU as favorites on the NCAAB oddsboard this season, despite tipping off heavy chalk with a -9.9 average line. Dropping more than a game or two against Eastern Washington (67-61), Portland State (87-78), Long Beach State (76-68) and Cal (77-74) is nearly inexcusable. Combined, the four own a 43-47 SU record.

Oregon State will challenge here, which should drive the final score north of a 137.5 game total. The ‘over’ is 4-2 when Stanford tips off home favorites in Pac-12 play under head coach Jerod Haase all-time, a 154.2 combined score topping a 142.2 market figure by 11.9 points per game. In fact, all of these matchups have finished with 138 points or more. We expect another above the mark here. Pick ‘over.’

Free NCAAB Pick: OverBest Line Offered: BetOnline

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