Feisty underdogs Utah, Houston Good Bets in Conference Tilts

Charles Stark

Thursday, January 4, 2018 2:05 PM UTC

Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018 2:05 PM UTC

Two solid conference matchups are on tap Thursday in college basketball, with Arizona playing at Utah in the Pac-12, and Houston visiting Wichita State in the American Athletic  Conference. Let's focus on taking the points in these games.

NCAAB Thursday: Arizona vs. Utah

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Free NCAAB Pick: Utah +4Best Line Offered: Pinnacle

Oddsmakers came out and made Utah a +4 home underdog, and I will back them getting the points. Arizona is coming off a solid win to open league play versus Arizona State, but I think they will find things difficult against a good Utah team that has not lost this season at home. Utah opened Pac-12 play on a good note, sweeping two games in Oregon, and I have a hard time believing they won’t take this game to the wire. Arizona has not lived up to the hype this season but they come in playing some good basketball and are shooting over 51 percent on the season while allowing opponents to shoot just 42 percent. However those averages drop to 48 percent and 45 percent on the road, respectively. Utah is always a very difficult place to play and they will go into this game believing they can win. Utah has been good on both sides the ball statistically, shooting more than 46 percent and allowing opponents to shoot less than 41 percent. I believe the home court will be the deciding factor, and don’t be shocked if Utah pulls the upset.

NCAAB Thursday: Houston vs. Wichita State

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Free NCAAB Pick: Houston +9Best Line Offered: Heritage

Wichita State came into the season with a lot of hype, and they’ve mostly lived up to it. Oddsmakers have made Houston a +9 underdog, and for my NCAAb pick I will take the Cougars plus the points. Although I have a hard time believing they can pull the upset, I do believe they can make this game interesting. Houston is shooting a solid 48 percent this season while allowing opponents to shoot less than 40 percent. They are shooting more than 40 percent from distance and doing well in defending from behind the arc, with opponent shooting just 32.4 percent from long range. Of course, Wichita State comes in with good statistics on both sides the ball and we know they are very well-coached. This is just too many points, though, for this league matchup. In their previous home game Wichita State got by Florida Gulf Coast by just 10 points. Houston will be a much more difficult matchup and I like for them to keep this game close until the final buzzer.

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