Pac-12 Tournament Betting Advice and Analysis

Pac-12 Tournament Betting Advice and Analysis
© USA Today

The Pac-12 Conference might need a little Las Vegas luck to land more than three teams in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament this year.

The AP Top 25 poll features a trio of stellar Pac-12 teams: Arizona (No. 2), UCLA (No. 13) and USC (No. 21). All three are likely headed to the Big Dance this month, even if they don’t win the conference tournament.

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The tournament began Wednesday at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and concludes with the title game on Saturday.

Oregon is one team that could secure the automatic bid that comes by winning a conference tournament.

But the road won’t be smooth for the Ducks. Oregon could be hobbled now that star guard Will Richardson is skipping the Pac-12 tournament with what the team calls a “non-COVID-19-related illness.” Richardson is the team’s leading scorer at 14.1 points per game.

The odds below are provided by FanDuel Sportsbook.

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Favorite: Arizona Wildcats

To say that Arizona (28-3) is loaded is an understatement.

The Wildcats head from Tucson to Las Vegas with this All-Conference lineup: player of the year (Bennedict Mathurin), defensive player of the year and most improved (Christian Koloko) and sixth man of the year (Pelle Larsson).

With a dominant roster like that, Arizona, under Coach Tommy Lloyd, can be counted on to send their opponents reeling in Las Vegas.

By the way, Lloyd is the Pac-12 coach of the year.

Arizona might do more than come up aces in Las Vegas. The Wildcats could find themselves crowned national champions on April 4 in the NCAA title game at Caesars Superdome in New Orleans.

If you’re looking to cash a winning college basketball betting ticket, take Arizona in the Pac-12 tournament at -140.

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Contender: UCLA Bruins

Like Arizona, the Bruins (21-6) are stacked with several top-flight players. UCLA’s roster includes All-Pac-12 first-team selections guard Johnny Juzang, point guard Tyger Campbell and forward Jaime Jaquez Jr.

Three Bruins also were named to the All-Pac-12 defensive team: Jaquez, center Myles Johnson and guard Jaylen Clark.

Coach Mick Cronin’s Bruins stumbled earlier in the season at T-Mobile, with an 83-63 drubbing by Gonzaga, but the team found its footing, winning six of its last seven games. That season-ending streak included a 75-68 win at Pauley Pavilion against crosstown rival USC.

With the Bruins peaking at the right time, they might leave Las Vegas with a conference crown and provide a little March Madness drama.

For a bet with a good payout, taking the Bruins at +280 could be a smart move.

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Sleeper: Colorado Buffaloes

Like UCLA, the Buffs also came on strong at season’s end, winning seven of their last eight games, including a 79-63 victory over Arizona in Boulder on Feb. 26.

That competitive streak could give Colorado a running start in Las Vegas, possibly with enough momentum to carry the team on an upset journey to the title.

Colorado has the talent. Coach Tad Boyle’s team includes sophomore forward Jabari Walker, an All-Pac-12 first team selection, and second-team pick Evan Battey, a senior forward. Battey also earned an honorable mention selection to the Pac-12 all-defensive team.

Walker is a special player. The 6-foot-9 power forward’s 16 double-doubles led the Pac-12 this season, as did his overall rebounding, at 9.4 boards a game. His 7.4 defensive rebounds also led the conference.

Colorado also features 6-foot-2 guard K.J Simpson, named to the Pac-12 all-freshman team this season.

If the Buffaloes can ride their momentum to the top in Las Vegas, bettors who take Colorado at +4200 will enjoy a sizable payout.

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