Utah vs. Arizona NCAA Basketball Picks: Pick Utes +4 on a Roll

Darin Zank

Saturday, January 17, 2015 3:41 PM GMT

Utah is one of the best moneymakers for NCAA Basketball bettors so far this season, covering ten of 13 pointspreads. The Utes visit Tuscon to take on Arizona in a big Pac-12 bout Saturday evening.

Utes-Wildcats Betting Odds
Most of the NCAA Basketball odds market opened this game with Arizona favored by four points; many books then bumped the Wildcats to -4.5.

 

Utes-Wildcats: Background
Utah hasn't been to the NCAA tournament since 2009, which is rather hard to believe, but had high hopes to end that drought this season, after going 21-12 last year. And so far the Utes are well on their way toward doing so, with 14 wins through their first 16 games, and a 4-0 start in Pac-12 play.

Utah went 10-2 through its non-conference schedule, beating, among others, Wichita State and BYU, losing only to San Diego State by four points and Kansas by three. The Utes are also off to a 4-0 start in Pac-12 play, after winning at Arizona State Thursday night 76-59, covering as five-point favorites on the road.

Utah led by 17 at the half Thursday night, and never let the Sun Devils get any closer. For the game the Utes shot 54 percent from the floor, made nine of 17 shots from long range and held ASU to just 39 percent shooting.

Before that, Utah had opened conference action with a 79-55 victory over USC, covering as a 16-point favorite; then pounded UCLA 71-39, covering at -11; then beat Colorado 74-49, covering at -10. So the Utes are on a roll.

On the homey side of this match-up Arizona won the Pac-12 regular-season title last year, and even with the loss of two great players began this season as the favorite to win it again. At 15-2 overall and 3-1 in conference play the 'Cats are once again on the prowl.

Arizona went 12-1 through non-con play, beating, among others, Missouri, Kansas State, San Diego State, Gonzaga and Michigan, losing only at UNLV in an upset. The Wildcats then opened Pac-12 play with a 73-49 victory over Arizona State, covering at -14, and an 80-62 victory at Oregon, covering at -7. Arizona then got upset at Oregon State, losing 58-56 as a 10-point favorite. Last time out, Thursday night, the 'Cats beat a shorthanded Colorado team 68-54 but couldn't quite cover at -16.

Arizona only led the Buffaloes by a one point late in the first half, but spurted to a 10-point locker-room lead. The 'Cats let Colorado get within five early in the second half, but built that back to double-digits for most of the rest of the game. But because they're were playing at home they were probably favored by about four points too many.

Arizona only shot 42 percent from the floor Thursday, but held the Buffs to 43 percent and won the battle on the boards by a 41-26 margin.

Check out our NCAA Basketball handicapping tips: Offensive Rankings and Defensive Rankings

Utes-Wildcats Recent History
These teams met three times last season, and Arizona won each game. The 'Cats won the first meeting at home 65-56 but couldn't cover as 13-point favorites. Arizona then took the second meeting, in Salt Lake City, 67-63 in overtime, pushing the spread as a four-point road favorite. The Wildcats then dispatched of the Utes in the quarterfinals of the conference tournament 71-39, breezing to a cover as eight-point favorites.

Two of those games played UNDER on the totals, both lined at 130, and the one that went into overtime pushed 130.

 

Utes-Wildcats Key Stats
Utah is shooting 50 percent from the floor this season, which ranks sixth-best in the country, 40.5 percent from 3-point range, which ranks 14th, but only 67 percent from the free-throw line. On the other end of the floor the Utes are holding opponents to just 37 percent FG shooting, which ranks 11th-best in the nation.

Hey, maybe that's why they're 11-3 ATS. Keep that in mind before placing your NCAA Basketball pick.

Arizona is shooting just under 49 percent from the field, which ranks 17th, 36 percent from long range and only 67 percent from the line. The 'Cats are also holding foes to just under 40 percent FG shooting.

 

Utes-Wildcats Betting Trends
Utah is 8-6 on the totals this season, as Utes games have averaged 131 points.

Arizona is 8-9 on the totals, as Wildcats games have averaged 134 points.

 

Utes-Wildcats Free Pick
This is a tough one, because Utah has been playing so well. We might lean toward Arizona, because it's owned Utah as of late, and the spread seems very manageable for a Wildcats team playing at home. But the Utes are big and tough, have the capability of dominating on the boards and might win this game outright. So we'll take Utah, plus the points.

Free College Basketball Pick: Utes +4.5 at YouWager