There were several times yesterday where it looked like the Oregon State Beavers were going to just give up. Just five minutes into the game, the Sun Devils had already pulled out to a 14-5 lead, and it looked like they were going to run the Beavers right out of the building. But give Wayne Tinkle’s team some credit, they showed a lot of heart and battled back into the game. They even managed to take the lead by halftime.
And again, with under three minutes left in the game, the Beavers found themselves down six points, and it looked that while they had fought hard, they were going to lose the game, and fail to cover the five-point number. But the Beavers scored the final five points of the game, and while they came up short of actually winning the game, they spoiled our bet, as they covered the spread and we were on Arizona State.
? SUN DEVILS WIN ? pic.twitter.com/tgkKDD4wmK
— Sun Devil MBB (@SunDevilHoops) February 23, 2020
The win was a huge one for ASU, as they took advantage of the anarchy in the Pac-12 yesterday and are now in sole possession of first place in the league. The Sun Devils were tied with Arizona and Colorado heading into the day. But the Wildcats lost at home in overtime to Oregon, and the UCLA Bruins continued their last season tear and knocked off Colorado on the road. Arizona State is now a game ahead of three teams for the regular-season Pac-12 title.
For Oregon State, it is heartbreak once again for the Beavers. This senior led team would now need to win the Pac-12 tournament to make the NCAA tournament, and a season that had so much potential, is now going to end with a likely trip to the NIT. For today’s daily betting pick, we will stay right here in the Pac-12 and break down the game between Stanford and Washington State.
- Stanford Cardinal (17-9) at Washington State Cougars (14-13)
- Friel Court, Pullman
- 5:00 PM PST
- TV: ESPNU
The Washington State Cougars will look to continue their home court success tonight, as they host the Cardinal of Stanford. While the season has been mostly disappointing for WAZZU, they have actually been quite competitive in Pullman. The Cougars have home floor victories over the likes of Oregon, Oregon State, UCLA, Arizona State, and Washington.
| ???? 28 |
— WSU Men's Basketball (@WSUCougarMBB) February 23, 2020
For Stanford, the Cardinal have fallen on hard times recently. After starting the season out 15-2, they have now lost seven out of their last nine games. This has taken them from a team ranked in the top-25, to a team just hoping to play themselves back onto the bubble. Stanford has just three wins on the road this seasons and must find a way to win tonight to keep their at-large bid dreams alive.
Did this Stanford team fall apart late in the season, or were they just overrated all along? We can all look back on that 15-2 record and say, man, this team was good, what happened to them? But when you start to look at their wins, most came against bad teams, and the others that looked great at the time, don’t look all that impressive now. Eleven of those fifteen wins came against teams outside of the top-100, and of those wins, six came against teams outside of the top-200.
At the time, the win over San Francisco looked like a decent one as the Dons were 9-2. But they have fallen apart and aren’t even sniffing the bubble now. The same goes for the win over Washington, as the Huskies went on to lose ten out of their next eleven games after losing to Stanford.
The Cardinal’s biggest win of the year in the non-conference? That came against Oklahoma, and the Sooners have stumbled to the finish line, having lost eight out of their last thirteen games, and are squarely on the bubble. That 15-2 record doesn’t look nearly as impressive now as it did at the time.
Washington State Cougars
This Washington State team isn’t going to make the NCAA tournament, but I do see the Cougars as a program on the rise. They have a young star in CJ Elleby, and they have established Pullman as a tough place for opposing teams to play. WAZZU is probably a year, maybe two, from really competing at the top of the Pac-12, but keep your eye on this team, they are going to surprise some people very soon.
Right now, there are four teams that have ten wins in the Pac-12. Washington State has beaten three of them, all at home. The Cougars have shown they can compete with, and beat, the best the league has to offer on their home floor. The recent home loss to Cal was certainly upsetting, but I think this game is going to be very competitive tonight.
Who Do I Like?
I love backing home underdogs in league play. In my playbook of sharp plays, backing home dogs in league play is on page one. And in a spot like this one where I can back a team that overachieves at home against a team that can’t win on the road and is in total freefall, it is that much juicier.
We already mentioned the Cardinal’s poor road record, but when you take a closer look, it is even uglier. Their only road win in the non-conference came over San Jose State, a team that is currently 7-21. In league play, they beat UCLA before the Bruins started to figure things out and caught fire. And they beat Washington in their last game, against a Huskies team that is dead last in the Pac-12 with a 3-12 conference record.
My favorite play is betting on home underdogs in league play. My second favorite play, is to position myself on the opposite side of the public and fade their ignorant line moves. I get to do both of those in this game by backing Washington State.
This betting line opened up at Stanford -3 and has now moved to -3.5. And while half a point is not that big of a deal most of the time, in this case, that changes this game from a one-possession number to a two-possession number, and that folks, is a big deal. Three is a very key number for the sportsbooks, and to see them move off of it, to three and a half, means the public must love Stanford.
And for the life of me, I can’t see why. Yeah, I know Oscar Da Silva will be back on the floor for Stanford, but I am just not sure it is going to matter. This team stinks on the road, and WSU protects their home floor as well as any team in the conference. It wouldn’t at all shock me if the Cougars win this one outright.
The one thing that would shock me, would be to see Stanford blow this one out. Which, when we are getting more than a full possession’s worth of points, is basically what they will have to do to cover the spread. Give me the Washington State Cougars tonight at home, getting +3.5-points against Stanford, as the Cardinal’s struggles continue!