Home Court Advantage Makes Washington Our NCAA Basketball Pick Over Utah

Nikki Adams

Sunday, January 24, 2016 6:27 PM GMT

Utah and Washington are set to collide in Sunday’s round of NCAAB action, all while the visitors are matched as the road faves. Here’s our preview and NCAA basketball picks.

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Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Washington Huskies +4 
Best Line Offered: at Heritage

 

Utah Utes (14-5, 3-3)
The Utah Utes are coming off back-to-back wins over Oregon State and  Washington State. They’ll be looking to extend their winning form to three in a row and improve to 4-3 in Pac-12 action.

Overall, the Utah Utes are enjoying a solid season with a 14-5 SU mark which includes a modest 3-3 SU mark in Pac-12, but on the strength of their conference account they are sat eighth in the standings. The premium on the win in Washington therefore couldn’t be any greater as it would see them improve to a better 4-3 SU record and potentially see the climb up the standings.

Utah defeated Oregon State at home 59-53 on January 17, when they were just 12-5 SU and 1-3 SU in Pacl-12 action. A game we previewed and served up a college basketball betting analysis that was spot on: predicting the Utes would win but the Beavers would cover the hefty +9 spread trading at sports betting shops.

The win saw the Utes bounce back into much needed form after going 1-3 SU in their last four games ahead of the date with Oregon State. It clearly provided the momentum for a second straight win over Washington State on the road as the Utes defeated the hosts 92-71, coming through as the significant -5.5 road chalk for their backers.

Now the Utes will look to extend that run of form at the expense of Washington. Early indications are that the market is all over the Utes: bookies at Pinnacle Sports opened the line with the Utes at -2.5 but early basketball betting action has lifted the Utes up to -4, a move replicated by most sports betting outlets as game time fast approaches.

On one hand, this does seem to be a rather generous outlook towards the Utes considering Washington leads Pac-12 standings with a 5-1 record in the conference. Not to mention, the Utes are just 2-3 SU on the road. Perhaps their recent surge in form, coupled with a two-game winning streak on the road – wins over Washington State and Colorado – have played a factor in their positive nod on the NCAA basketball odds board. Still, it’s worth noting, the Utes are just 1-1 ATS on the road as away favourites with a 9.5-point winning margin and just 2-4 ATS in Pac-12 play with a 0.7-point losing margin and a negative 4.3-point differential on average versus the spread.

 

Washington Huskies (13-5, 5-1)
Washington Huskies are in the ascendancy in Pac-12 with a 5-1 record in conference play, but with a 13-5 overall record their feeling the pressure from the bottom. Oregon is nipping at their heels with a 16-4 record and a 5-2 record in Pac-12 play and USC is not far behind with a 15-4 record and a 4-2 record in Pack-12.

It’s somewhat surprising the Huskies are the home underdogs in this game, considering they’ve defied the basketball odds before and should have earned some respect as a result. On the season, they are 9-2 SU at home with a 13.8-point winning margin and a plus +5.6 point differential versus the spread on average.

Once again, the Huskies are going to have their backs up. The pressure solely on their shoulders to prove they are legitimate contenders by undermining their less than favourable market outlook as the +4 home underdogs.

The Huskies ride a two-game winning streak into this game, a run of form that includes winning five of their last six, albeit mostly by just a handful of points. It’s worth noting the Huskies are actually 5-1 ATS in Pac-12 play with a +2.6-point differential versus the spread. And they are a perfect 2-0 SU and ATS at home as the underdogs with a 2.5-point winning margin on average and a plus 3.5-point differential versus the spread on average.

 

College Basketball Betting Verdict
As for our NCAA basketball picks, there’s a lot to like about both sides in this game seeing they’re riding positive form from their last few games. As the season hurtles towards the finish line, the premium on the wins in conference play is only going to increase. This is a pivotal W both sides will be looking to clinch. The Utah Utes have done well to turn things around in Pac-12 play over the last two games, but in Washington they face a tough side that is 5-1 in Pac-12 play and has home advantage where they’ve lost just twice this season and are 7-2 ATS. As the +4 home underdogs, we simply can’t ignore the appeal of the hosts on our Sunday's NCAAB picks.