NCAA Basketball Picks: Profit Off These Teams' Misery, Bet 'Under' In Utah vs. Washington St.

Willie Bee

Friday, January 22, 2016 3:47 PM UTC

Friday, Jan. 22, 2016 3:47 PM UTC

Utah is slowly slipping down the RPI chart and the Utes need a win Thursday at Washington State.  Join us for a preview and free NCAA basketball pick in the Pac-12 matchup.

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Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Under 146½
Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker


ESPN's Joe Lunardi called the Utah Utes' 13-5 record "comically misleading" earlier this week in one of his pieces for the worldwide leader in sports. That would be the 5'-6", 180-pound Lunardi who would probably get winded running the length of a college basketball court just one time and struggle to dunk on a 6-foot basket.

Whether or not the words of a pipsqueak amount to even so much as bulletin board material for the Utes remains to be seen, and it should be noted that Lunardi still has Utah in his latest bracketology as a 9-seed in the South Region. Foremost on head coach Larry Krystkowiak's mind right now is a two game swing through the Evergreen State where the Utes first collide with the Washington State Cougars.

Pullman's Beasley Coliseum -- I can't get used to calling it Friel Court -- is the site for Thursday's tip, FOX Sports 1 televising the tip-off a little past 11 PM (ET). Bookmaker has the Utes -4 with 146½ for the total.

Playing the Cougars has generally been a good thing for Utah, the Utes owning a 17-4 advantage throughout the series history and winning four of the six since joining the Pac-12 for the 2011-12 campaign. The Utes have also beaten the NCAA basketball odds in four of the six conference meetings.

Getting down on the 'under' for one's NCAA basketball picks has meant a return to the pay window the last two times the schools have met in Pullman. That includes last year's Utah win, the 67-59 final having 10 to spare before reaching a 136 point total, and Washington's State's last win in the series, a 49-43 yawner in January 2014 that never got close to a 123 point mark.


Utes Can't Look Ahead To Washington On Sunday
Utah (13-5 straight up, 5-10-1 against the spread) certainly had the attention of Lunardi and the rest of the country about a month ago when the Utes went into New York City and knocked off Duke, 77-75. The game went into overtime at Madison Square Garden, the Blue Devils favored by 7 in the Ameritas Insurance Classic.

Krystkowiak's club was obviously elated to pull off the upset and avenge a loss to Duke in last year's Sweet 16 round of the South Region. But the Utes didn't do themselves any favors by coasting after that win with matchups against Delaware State and the College of Idaho, neither of those contests making it to the college basketball odds.

Taking on the patsies surely didn't get the Utes ready to go for the start of the Pac-12 slate, and they dropped the first two matches on the road at Stanford and California. And last week's loss to Oregon really hurt, leaving Utah with the need to win this one and a big battle Sunday at Washington just to get back over .500 in the conference race.


Cougars Return Home On 3-Game Slide
After getting off to three wins in the first four conference games a year ago, Washington State (9-8 SU, 8-8 ATS) fell flat and finished 7-11 in the Pac-12. This year, it looks like the Cougars are saving time and playing flat right out of the gate with four defeats in the first five league tilts.

The only victory so far was a mild upset of UCLA a couple of weeks ago, the Cougars pulling off the 85-78 triumph as 4 point home 'dogs. It's the only matchup of the five in Pac-12 play that Wazzu has covered, though 'over' bettors have been happy to take home the bacon in all five conference clashes.

For comparison purposes, all five of Utah's Pac-12 games fell short of the totals, and I'm inclined to take that side of the total for my free Thursday's college basketball pick.

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