Road Fave Utah Our NCAA Basketball Pick vs. Stanford In Pac-12 Battle

Darin Zank

Friday, January 1, 2016 3:10 PM UTC

Friday, Jan. 1, 2016 3:10 PM UTC

This handicapper hopes for more of the same when the Utah Utes and Stanford Cardinal meet for the Pac-12 opener for both teams Friday night. Find out our best NCAA basketball picks here.

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Free NCAA Basketball Picks: Utah -4; Under 138.5
Best Lines Offered: at 5Dimesat Heritage


Utah-Stanford: The Odds
Most of Friday's NCAA basketball odds market opened this game at Utah -3.5, with a total of right around 138. In the early betting most books then bumped the Utes to -4.

Those who think Stanford might win this game outright and look to add them to their NCAA basketball picks could get a price of +155 on the moneyline at YouWager.


The Match-Up
Utah (11-2 SU, 4-6 ATS) rides a four-game winning streak into this Pac-12 season, after beating the College of Idaho (whatever that is) Monday 115-74. The Utes led 52-39 at the half, then pulled away from there, and probably would have covered the spread, if the game would have been lined.

On the night, Utah shot a ridiculous 63 percent from the field, albeit against an NAIA team. Six days prior the Utes bombed Delaware State 105-58, another game that wasn't lined.

Utah already owns victories this season over San Diego State, Temple, BYU and Duke; its only losses have come against Miami (which is 11-1 on the season) and Wichita State.

Stanford (7-4 SU, 4-5 ATS), meanwhile, has won five of its last six games, after dispatching of someone called Carroll College (also NAIA) last Sunday 83-38. The Cardinal led 44-18 at the half, pulled away, and also would have covered, if there had been a line on that game.

On the season Stanford hasn't beaten anybody of any note, while its four losses have come against SMU, St. Mary's, Villanova and Texas, four pretty good teams. In fact, the Cardinal are 4-0 SU when favored this season, 1-4 SU as underdogs.

Bigger-picture, we're pegging the Utes for a top-three finish in the Pac-12 this season, while Stanford, thanks in part to a couple of key injuries, might have a tough time going .500 in conference play.


Utes-Cardinal Recent History
Since Utah joined the Pac-12 four seasons ago, Stanford holds a 4-3 edge in the series. But last season the Utes swept two meetings with the Cardinal, winning 75-59 in Salt Lake City, then rolling to an 80-56 victory in the second round of the Pac-12 tournament. Stanford actually led that second meeting at the half, but Utah won the second half by a 46-17 margin.

The Utes covered that first meeting as a 10-point favorite, and the second meeting at -8.


Utes-Cardinal Totals Trends
Utah is a lopsided 9-2 on the OVERS this season, as Utes games have averaged a healthy 153 points.

Stanford is 5-4 on the UNDERS, as Cardinal games have averaged 140 points.


Final Analysis
Utah shoots the ball better than Stanford, from both the floor and the line, plays a little better defense and does a little better job on the boards. Also, playing on the road means the spread as a bit more amenable to the visitors. We like the Utes for our free NCAA basketball picks for Friday. Also, if this game stays close, and possessions become crucial down the stretch, we like the chances of an UNDER.

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