Low-Scoring Clash Expected in Cal-Stanford Rivalry Game

Jay Pryce

Friday, February 17, 2017 4:38 PM UTC

Friday, Feb. 17, 2017 4:38 PM UTC

Defense will dominate in Friday night's Cal-Stanford rivalry. What's the play? Well, the under appears to be very appealing. Read more to uncover our expert capper's free NCAA Basketball pick.

California Golden Bears (18-7 SU, 11-14 ATS)

Cal’s five-game win streak came to a halt on Saturday, losing 62-57 as a 7.5-point underdog at No. 5 Arizona. A win here could help secure a first-round bye in the Pac-12 tournament, and possibly a NCAA Tournament bid, which is added motivation this time of year.

The Golden Bears took care of business versus Stanford 66-55 at Haas Pavilion on Jan. 29. Cal, tipping off as 7.5-point chalk, received a monster performance from Ivan Rabb. The 6-11 sophomore dropped 25 points and pulled down 13 boards, registering his 13th double-double on the season.

This is just the ninth time Cal will tip off as road chalk in Pac-12 play under head coach Cuonzo Martin. It is 3-5 SU and ATS overall, but has won its last five outright by three points or more.

Cal’s strength is defense and controlling the boards. Its 79.1 defensive rebounding percentage is fifth highest in the country, while allowing a stifling 43.9 percent effective field goal rate (seventh).


Stanford Cardinal (12-13 SU, 11-13 ATS)

First-year head coach Jerod Haase lost round one in this Bay-Area rivalry, and needs to reset the program’s revenge button as soon as possible. Stanford’s avenge record is quite abysmal over the last few years. Since 2008, the Cardinal are 9-22 SU and ATS when seeking same-season revenge versus a Pac-12 opponent. In 2016, Stanford is 0-2 and 1-1 ATS in this spot. At Maples Pavilion, with advantage built into the spread, the record dips to 4-13 SU and 2-15 ATS. Stanford is losing to the number by 6.0 points per game under these conditions.

Stanford, like Cal, is also best defensively, despite giving up 70.2 points per game. KenPom ranks the Cardinal 35th in the nation in efficiency. To steal a victory here, however, Hasse's men will have to find a way to put up more points. Since 2012, Stanford is 1-11 SU and ATS when scoring fewer than 68 points at home. This includes four games since the NCAA implemented shot clock changes in 2015. Their team total is over/under 62 as of publication.

 Final Analysis

The strength for each team is defense, and it’s tough to see the winner of this rivalry reaching 65 points. Cal plays at a crawl, ranked 307 in KenPom’s pace ratings. Expect a tight contest throughout, so dictating tempo will be beneficial to each team. We’re on the UNDER here. Don’t worry about fouls late in the game potentially pushing the score north of the total. Each team stinks from the free throw line: Cal is shooting 65.1 percent, while Stamford is not much better at 68.4 percent.


Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Under 129.5Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

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