The Arizona Wildcats have themselves a very good basketball program – but not as good as their rankings or their NCAAB odds would suggest. It’s clobberin’ time.
They say the easiest way to find value on the NCAAB odds board is to fade a popular team that’s a bit too popular for its own good. Take the Arizona Wildcats (18-4 SU, 7-13-2 ATS), for example. They made the Sweet Sixteen last year after winning the Pac-12 title, and they were No. 11 in the latest AP rankings at press time -- but only No. 27 on Ken Pomeroy’s efficiency charts. That’s a classic "fade" candidate right there.
Except for one thing: Arizona has already dropped six of their last seven ATS. We’re normally looking for more of a sell-high opportunity with our mid-week NCAAB picks. Then again, the 'Cats have won six in a row SU, and Pomeroy has them ranked No. 56 in Luck Factor (plus-0.064). Maybe they’re still worth fading for Wednesday night’s road game against the Washington State Cougars (9-10 SU, 9-9 ATS at press time).
The Wildcats went into the 2017-18 campaign at No. 3 in the preseason rankings. However, guard Rawle Alkins (plus-9.2 BPM) suffered a broken right foot in September and missed the first nine games of the season. Arizona went 6-3 SU and 3-5-1 ATS while Atkins was convalescing. Then he made his debut, and the 'Cats went 6-3 SU and 3-5-1 ATS in their next nine games, too.
Unfortunately for Alkins, he has missed three of the last four games after experiencing soreness in his surgically repaired foot. It appears he’ll be back in uniform Wednesday night, although Head Coach Sean Miller hinted that Alkins might play only around 20 minutes. That works for us: Alkins might be one of their best players, alongside forward Deandre Ayton (plus-10.0 BPM) and guard Allonzo Trier (plus-8.7 BPM), but a hobbled Alkins should produce a touch more betting value for the other side.
Speaking of whom, the Cougars have some merit as a "follow" candidate. They’re No. 244 in Luck Factor (minus-0.030), toiling away quietly in Pullman. But they’re also on the skids at 1-6 SU and ATS in their last seven games. Can we give Wazzu the benefit of the doubt as a buy-low commodity and not do the same with Arizona? Sure. The Cougars are healthy, they’re coming home after playing five of their last eight on the road, and they don’t suffer from the same elevated expectations as the Wildcats. Circle this game on your NCAAB betting calendars, and may the sphere be with you.