Free NCAA Basketball Picks: Take Colorado +5 When Arizona Visits

Swinging Johnson

Wednesday, February 24, 2016 4:45 PM UTC

Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016 4:45 PM UTC

Pac-12 leader Arizona, gunning for their seventh consecutive win, invades Colorado. Let’s review the NCAA basketball odds boards and determine which side will cash tonight in our free picks. 

Arizona Wildcats (22-5 SU, 15-12 ATS)
Arizona hosted conference and intrastate rival Arizona State at the McKale Center in their last outing and were installed as 12 ½ point home favorites. Those who have been following the surging Wildcats and included them in their NCAA basketball picks were not disappointed with the outcome. The game was the second most lopsided victory in the history of the series as the Wildcats torched the Sun Devils by the score of 99-61. The size advantage for Arizona was evident and they used it to their advantage as they muscled ASU inside the paint and had nearly double the rebounds (50-26) while shooting a whopping 57 percent from the floor.

The convincing manner in which the Wildcats won clearly illustrated just how far this team has come since they met Arizona State in the teams’ first meeting on January 3rd. That game was close throughout until the ‘Cats pulled away in the last two minutes of the contest to take home a 94-82 win as 3 ½ point road chalk. This time the club made sure it was never a game and the injection of Parker Jackson-Cartwright into the starting lineup has been a boon to the Wildcats defense. Jackson-Cartwright has taken over as the quarterback with 25 assists over the past six contests.


Colorado Buffaloes (19-9 SU, 14-11 ATS)
Two losses in a row and now the Buffaloes must tip off against the best in the Pac-12 tonight. After dropping a 79-72 decision on the road to USC (but narrowly covering with the eight-point head start) the Buffaloes then packed up and headed to Pauley Pavilion where the UCLA Bruins awaited. The backed end of the California road trip ended up with another loss on their record as they bowed 77-53 and didn’t even sniff an ATS cover getting just five points from the oddsmakers. It was only the third win in eight games for the Bruins and fourth consecutive road loss for the Buffaloes.

Apart from the game against Oregon State in which he was sidelined after 16 minutes due to an ankle injury, Colorado’s leading scorer Josh Scott was held under double digits for the first time this season. Scott netted only nine points against UCLA and the entire team was held to a season-low 31 percent from the floor. The Buffaloes offense will have to ramp up if they are to hang and bang with the Wildcats who average 82 points per game, good for 20th in the nation in that category.


Betting Analysis
It is important do to your homework when you research a game and part of those mental gymnastics concern offensive, defensive and rebounding stats. In this game we have a Wildcats team that leads the Buffaloes in scoring (82.0 -76.5) and defense (68.0 –71.3) but appears to come up just short on the glass with Colorado holding a 42.5 (3rd in the nation) to 40.7 (20th in the nation) rebounds per game advantage. But statistics can be deceiving because Arizona is tops in the entire country with an 11.4 per game rebounding margin versus 9.2 RPG for Colorado. Thus, even the advantage on the glass that the Buffaloes seemingly had is really not an advantage at all as Arizona’s defense significantly diminishes their opponent’s time on the boards.

With that said it should be noted these teams have not played each other this season and Colorado, though struggling on the road, has excelled at home with a 14-1 record (7-5 ATS) while ‘Zona is a mere 7-4 (6-5 ATS) on the highway. I pegged this number at Arizona-5 before looking at the NCAA basketball odds boards and that is pretty close to where this one is. As easy as it would be to throw money at the favorite because they appear head and shoulders above their hosts we cannot rule out the home court advantage and the fact that the ‘Cats will be facing a team that can match them on the glass. Let’s grab the points and the favorable venue in this one.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Colorado +5
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes


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