NCAA Basketball Picks of the Day: MWC Tournament & Pac-12 Offer Best Betting Value for Thursday's Profit

Darin Zank

Thursday, March 12, 2015 5:14 PM GMT

Thursday, Mar. 12, 2015 5:14 PM GMT

At the end of a long day of betting college hoops there's always the chance, heaven forbid, we might need a late-night healer or two. So just in case, we scoped out a couple of West region contests for our free college basketball Plays of the Day for Thursday.

Upstart Rams Battle Bulldogs
Colorado State, perhaps a victory away from assuring itself of an  NCAA Tournament, takes on Fresno State in the second round of the Mountain West tournament out in Vegas.

We thought better things might come to Fresno State this season, but it was not to be. The Bulldogs got off to a terrible start, in part because of a key suspension, and never recovered. We backed FSU a couple of times this season, too, hitting on a play as a 14-point dog on the NCAA Basketball odds at San Diego State, but missing as an 11-point dog at Colorado State. In the end the Bulldogs won three of their last four games to finish above .500 in Mountain West play at 10-8.

Fresno State is 7-7 SU, 5-9 ATS since G Cezar Guerrero returned to action back in January.

Colorado State, meanwhile, has been a very nice surprise this season. After going 16-16 last year the Rams are 26-5 this season, 13-5 in Mountain West play. However, despite that gaudy record, Colorado State may need a victory or two in this MWC tournament to earn an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament, mainly because of an iffy strength-of-schedule.

The Rams enter this conference tournament having won five games in a row, and they're 10-5 ATS over their last 15 games, indicating to us that oddsmakers still haven't quite caught on to what Colorado State is up to.

CSU swept two games from FSU this season, blowing the Bulldogs out in Fort Collins 80-57, then winning a closer game in Fresno 81-73. We expect Thursday night's match-up to play out more like the latter meeting than the first one. And in seeing that the Rams were favored by just four points in that more recent meeting, but by double that today, we like the extra points with the Bulldogs for our NCAA Basketball picks.

Free College Basketball Pick: Fresno State +8 at Pinnacle

Let the Clash Flow With These Three Profitable NCAA Basketball Picks

Utes Clash with Cardinal
Hoping to shake a little late-season shakiness Utah takes on Stanford in the quarterfinals of the the PAC-12 Tournament.

Utah had won five in a row, but ended its season by losing three of its last five games, going 1-4 ATS. Last time out the Utes got upset at Washington 77-68, going down as 13-point favorites.

Big-picture, though, at 23-7 overall Utah will make the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2009.

The Utes finished in a tie with Oregon for second place in the Pac-12 this season, but fell to the three seed. Then again, now Utah won't have to run into Arizona until a potential championship game meeting.

Stanford had lost three games in a row, including a blowout against Arizona in its regular-season finale, but reached Thursday by nipping Washington Wednesday 71-69 on a 3-pointer with two seconds left. The Cardinal shot 46 percent from the floor, but allowed the Huskies to shoot 53 percent. Stanford also, to our dismay, came nowhere close to covering the spread at -9.

At 19-12 overall, 10-9 now in Pac-12 play the Cardinal sit on the NCAA tournament bubble. They may need another victory Thursday to play themselves onto the guest list for the Dance.

Utah took the only meeting this season between the teams, 75-59 back in February in Salt Lake City. That game was tied late in the first half, before the Utes went on a 21-2 run spanning the halves to take control, eventually covering as ten-point favorites. Utah shot 49 percent from the floor that night, while Stanford shot just 38 percent.

The Cardinal needed a late 3-pointer just to get by the Huskies Wednesday, which doesn't exactly inspire a lot of betting confidence. On the other side of this match-up the Utes will be shooting for a bounce-back effort, after laying an egg their last time out. And we think they'll be able to pull that off. Utah beat Stanford by 16 a few weeks ago; even if it wins by half that amount tonight it will cover.

Free College Basketball Pick: Utes -6.5 at Pinnacle

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