Profit with This Pair of Pac-12 Hoops Picks Thursday

Jay Pryce

Thursday, February 15, 2018 1:22 PM UTC

Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018 1:22 PM UTC

Five Pac-12 college basketball contests are scheduled Thursday, including bubble teams Oregon at USC as well as Colorado at Washington State. A pick on the side in one, and a game total selection in the other, provide betting value. 

Oregon at USC (-5)

Oregon (17-8 SU, 12-12 ATS) and USC (17-9 SU, 16-10 ATS) are both mired in an eight-team group within a game of each other competing for a Pac-12 Tournament first-round bye. Many analysts consider each bubble teams for the Big Dance as well. Motivation abounds in this one. It will prove entertaining.

The Ducks fly in winners of five of their last six games, but will need to shore up their defense in this spot. In five conference road clashes this season, they surrender 77.4 points per game on 49.0 percent shooting. Toss out a 53-point smothering of Cal, and the total jumps to 83.5 on 53.7 percent from the floor. Foes include Oregon State, Arizona State, Arizona and Stanford.

The Trojans, meanwhile, have dropped three straight, in part due to forward Bennie Boatwright’s nagging foot injury. The 6-foot-10 junior has played in USC’s last three contests after missing home dates against Stanford and Cal, but his form is off. Coach Andy Enfield’s second-leading scorer with 14.2 points per game is just 9 of 26 from the floor in this stretch. Boatwright lit up the Ducks for 18 points in USC’s 75-70 win in the first meeting in Eugene (Jan. 18).

Coach Dana Altman’s Ducks tend to step up as underdogs against conference foes. They are 37-20 ATS (64.9 percent) catching points in Pac-12 competition all-time, covering a 6-point line by 3.5 points per game.

USC’s earlier win in Eugene was its first in the series since the 2009-10 season, losing 14 straight prior. The Ducks outshot the Trojans 48.1 to 44.1 percent, but were dogged by foul trouble. Oregon racked up 24 personal fouls to 11 for USC, which made the difference late. Expect a more disciplined, but just as competitive, squad for Altman tonight. Oregon has the momentum.

Free NCAAB Pick: Oregon +5Best Line Offered: Bookmaker

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@OregonMBB beat Washington State on Sunday evening, 84-57, to complete a weekend sweep of the Washington schools by a combined 52 points! Let's go #AboveTheRim with McKenzie-Willamette Medical Center for the highlights. #GoDucks @JoeyMcMurry @OregonIMG @IMGAudio

— Oregon IMG (@OregonIMG) February 12, 2018

Colorado (-3.5) at Washington State

Washington State (9-15 SU, 9-14 ATS) is the bottom-feeder of the Pac-12, going 1-11 SU and ATS overall. The lone win and cover came hosting Cal (78-53), also the only game the Cougars were favored (-3.5). Since 2015, head coach Ernie Kent’s second year in charge, Washington State is just 5-41 SU and 15-31 ATS as an underdog in conference play. It is 3-16 SU and 4-15 ATS under these conditions at Beasley Coliseum.

Defense proves poor in the above-mentioned circumstances. The unit is the weak link in 2017 as well. It ranks 253rd in KenPom’s adjusted efficiency ratings, allowing 83.1 points per game on 50.9 percent shooting to conference foes.

Colorado (15-10 SU, 12-12 ATS) is Jekyll and Hyde when it comes to its home/away splits in conference play, which has been the case for the last few years under coach Tad Boyle. Since 2014, it is 7-26 SU and 11-20-2 ATS in Pac-12 road play; 25-9 SU and 21-13 ATS in Boulder. In 2017, the Buffaloes are 1-7 SU and 2-6 ATS outside of Coors Event Center in all competition.

The Buffs lack firepower. Only Cal (69.3) has a more anemic scoring offense in conference, Colorado putting up just 72.7 points per game. On the road, this figure dips to 64.2 on 41.3 percent shooting. Boyle’s squad has reached its team total projection just one time in the betting market in this situation, scoring 71 points in a 9-point loss at Arizona. This is the most the Buffs have put up outside of Boulder since March 2017.

Since 2015, the ‘under’ is 23-2 when Washington State holds a Pac-12 foe to 81 points or below. The Cougars are ripe to allow Colorado its highest road total this season, but the visitors are hardly equipped to blow the game open. Pick ‘under’ 143 as both teams struggle to reach 70 points.

Free NCAAB Pick: Under 143Best Line Offered: BetOnline

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