NCAA Basketball Picks: Back Utah In Pac 12 Match Against Colorado

Charles Stark

Friday, January 8, 2016 4:27 PM GMT

Friday, Jan. 8, 2016 4:27 PM GMT

Surprisingly NCAA basketball odds have made Colorado just a small favorite even though they are undefeated at home and have a better overall record then Utah. Who will be our pick tonight?

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Utah +1.5
Best Line Offered: at Bovada

 

Utah vs. Colorado
NCAA basketball odds have made Utah a +2 underdog and the total around 145. This is one of those games where the line really jumps out at you considering Utah has lost their last two games on the road and have been quite inconsistent this season. For my selection though I will be backing the Utes despite their inconsistency because they are a very well coached, solid basketball team, and will give Colorado all they want tonight possibly pulling the upset.

 

Utah Utes
Utah is averaging 79.6 points per game while shooting 48.7% from the field, and allowing 70.6 points per game on a 40.5% shooting from the field. Recently they have not played well losing at Stanford and Cal where they were horrific from beyond the arc making just 2-12 against Cal, and 5-19 against Stanford for a combined 7-31 in two games, yikes. Tonight they're facing a Colorado team though that allows teams to shoot the ball pretty freely so I expect Utah to be a lot more consistent not only from beyond the arc but all around the floor. On the year Utah is just 4-8 against the spread overall and 2-5 on the road, but that makes me like them tonight in that aspect to start going back towards the mean. Offensively Utah doesn't push pace very much averaging just 56.1 field goal attempts per game, but they are very efficient ranking 19th in the country in shooting efficiency and 26th ineffective field-goal percentage. They also move the ball well averaging almost 16 assists per game. I think the difference tonight is going to be on the defensive end where Utah has been good except for defending beyond the arc where they allow 39% in opponent three point shooting. Except for that they are very solid around the perimeter from the inside extending out allowing just 41.2% in opponent two point shooting which ranks 15th in the country. They also only allow 10.9 assists per game. The main issue for them has been acting like a consistent and then inconsistent team beating teams like BYU, San Diego State, and Duke, but then getting throttled against Miami, Wichita State, and Cal. I believe their more consistent team will show up tonight.

 

Colorado Buffaloes
Colorado is averaging 79 points per game while shooting 44.2 % from the field, and allowing 69.6 points per game on 41.2 % shooting from the field.  This is a healthy team now that is athletic with the ability to score from the inside out.  At home they have been fantastic and on the year they are 8-4 against the spread.  Offensively they have three guys scoring in double figures led by senior Josh Scott who is also a beast on the boards.  With Scott getting a lot attention on the interior Colorado has found a lot of open looks from distance where they shoot 39% ranking 30th in NCAA hoops.  They are very good all around the perimeter and they also hit the glass as a team averaging 43.5 boards per game which ranks seventh in the country.  Defensively they have been better than average and are very similar to Utah in not allowing a lot of assists at just 10.4 per game, but allowing teams to push tempo at 62.4 field goal attempts per game.  Tonight they face a Utah team that matches up with them very well so I don't anticipate them to be as effective on both sides of the ball.

There are several factors to consider when handicapping a game like this and what I keep going back to is the line. Odds makers tend to be pretty sharp on lines as the season continues and I think that this one is tight for a reason, Utah matches up well with Colorado.  For one of your NCAA basketball picks I recommend backing the Utes plus the points to possibly pull the upset.

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