NCAAM Basketball Pick for December 31st

Utah Runnin’ Utes (9-3) at Oregon State Beavers (9-4)

The betting line information for this article was taken from at 8:30 AM PST on 12-31-17. Some odds may have changed.

We won again last night! That brings the winning streak up to a modest two games, but an impressive eight wins out of our last ten bets. Last night I was on Arizona State +6.5. It looks like that was a good number as the Sun Devils lost 84-78, but if you actually watched the game, you know that we were on the right side. The game was a competitive one all night long and Arizona led by just two points with 11 seconds left in the game. A couple of meaningless fouls, one with just 1 second left on the clock, let Arizona run the final score up a bit, but this game was a very tight one, and it feels good to win again! I am 2-0 betting on Pac-12 conference games this week, so if it’s not broke don’t fix it, and I will be zeroing in on another Pac-12 game tonight, between Utah and Oregon State.

The Utah Runnin’ Utes will travel to Corvallis to face the Oregon State Beavers today in a Pac-12 conference matchup. The Pac-12 is looking great so far, this season, and could get as many as seven teams into the NCAA tournament. Utah enters the game at 9-3 on the year and just beat the other Oregon team, the Ducks, on the road in their last game out. The Beavers have been a bit of a surprise as many didn’t expect much from them this season, and they are holding more than their own at 9-4. This game opened at Oregon State -1 but has now moved to an even pick ‘em. The game total over-under is set at 139.5 points. Tipoff is scheduled for 3:00 PM PST from Gill Coliseum in Corvallis, Oregon.

It’s not often that when you talk Oregon college basketball, it is the Beavers that are mentioned. Oregon State has struggled to get out from under the shadow of their in-state rivals, the Oregon Ducks, and don’t get too much national media attention. They are trying to change that this season though, as they are off to a hot start and are poised to make a name for themselves in a Pac-12 conference that should offer plenty of competition.

The Beavers don’t have much to speak of in terms of resume building wins on the year and badly need to win games like these ones if they are going to have any legit NCAA tournament aspirations this season. The Beavers are led by forward Tres Tinkle, who is averaging 18 points and 7 rebounds a game, they will need a big-time performance from Tinkle tonight if they are going to want to hang with a talented Utah team.

Utah is a team that should find themselves playing late into March. I expect that they will finish right around the top of the Pac-12 this year. They aren’t as good as Arizona or Arizona State, but I can see this team being very competitive with USC, UCLA, and Oregon, and if they can win a couple of games against those teams they will be in great shape on Selection Sunday.

The Utes don’t do anything really great, but they aren’t terrible anywhere either. They offer a very balanced offensive attack with all five starters averaging double digits scoring. The Utes play a very deep bench and have ten players that have played significant minutes for them this year. It truly is a team effort in Utah this season.

To me, this game is only a competitive one on paper. Yes, Oregon State is at home, so you have to give them a little credit, but when you look at this roster top to bottom, they don’t match up very well at all with Utah. They just don’t have a similar level of talent as the rest of the Pac-12 teams that are vying for the title.

Oregon State is hot at the moment, having won seven out of their last eight games. But that streak is built on the backs of some very weak competition. Wins over Marist, Eastern Kentucky, Arkansas Pine Bluff, and Jacksonville State aren’t doing a lot to boost their resume, so you shouldn’t be too impressed by it. Wins are wins, but they haven’t played against many teams with talent this year, so it will be very surprising to see how they react today.

To me, Oregon State is a fraud. They have beaten nobody, and it wouldn’t shock me to see this game not even be a competitive one. Utah isn’t an elite team, but I expect them to go into Corvallis and take care of business and win this one fairly easily. Expect a lower scoring game where Utah pulls away in the second half for a double-digit victory. Give me the Runnin’ Utes tonight at an even pick ‘em!

The Bet: Utah Runnin’ Utes at a pick ‘em

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