Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:54 AM

NCAA Basketball Best Bets for Saturday March 7, 2020 - Pac-12

Thanks to a late bucket by Florida State in the dying seconds on Wednesday, a potential sweep of the board with these plays turned into a split. That's just the way it goes sometimes, unless you got in overnight on Notre Dame at the opener of +2.5, as it also can be used as a lesson that getting in early on a number can pay off.

That's neither here nor there today though, as we've reached the final Saturday of the regular season and it's the last chance for these teams to improve their standing in their respective conference tournament.

The conference that could end up having one of the most intriguing tournaments next week is the Pac-12. It's a conference that's been very tight all year long, and one where easily a handful of teams could earn that automatic bid to the NCAA tournament the following week.

On the final day of the regular season though, it's all about jockeying for the best seeding in that Pac-12 tournament, especially among the middle group of programs.

So it's two games from the Pac-12 later tonight that are the focus of today's piece, with one favorite and one underdog being the sides that should get the money.

Pac-12 Matchup
Washington at Arizona

Betting Odds: Arizona -10.5, Over/Under 140

Date: March 7, 2020
TV/Time: ESPN, 10:00 p.m. ET
Venue: McKale Center
Location: Tucson, Arizona

Arizona is looking to finish with one of those Top 4 spots in the conference to get one of those first round byes in the conference tournament, and they are double digit favorites to do so tonight. They are laying that chalk against a Washington Huskies team that's already locked into the basement in the conference, as this year has been a rough one for the Huskies. Given what lies ahead, it's tough to see Washington having any sort of motivation to be competitive tonight.

For one, Washington 'got up' for their meeting with Arizona State on Thursday night, beating the Sun Devils 90-83 as about a six-point road dog. That was one of Washington's best wins of the entire season – they did beat former #1 Baylor back in their season opener – and it's always going to be tough to duplicate that kind of effort the next time out. Not to mention, these Thursday/Saturday road trips Pac-12 teams go on are extremely tough to sweep (SU or ATS), and that's even for the better teams in the conference. This Washington team that's had a rough go of it this year, and has zero motivation to play well tonight makes that result even less likely.

Hence, it's why the point spread is known as the great equalizer, and laying this price on Arizona might be a little steep for some. However, the Wildcats are 11-5 ATS this year as a home favorite of any number, and when laying -8 or more in conference play regardless of venue, Arizona is 6-2 ATS.

More importantly, Arizona was able to get their mojo back with a dominating 21-point victory over Washington State on Thursday, a win that was very much needed after suffering three straight losses. Those defeats put the Wildcats Top 4 spot in the Pac-12 potentially in jeopardy, and there is no desire for them to test those waters again today.

In fact, by the time this game tips off, Arizona will already know the results for the three teams that they are battling with (Colorado, Arizona State, USC), and if it turns out the Wildcats do need to win to get one of those spots, Arizona and their talented squad are going to want to put this game against the basement-dwelling Huskies to bed rather early.

Pac-12 Best Bet: Arizona -10.5

Pac-12 Matchup
Stanford at Oregon

Betting Odds: Oregon -7.5, Over/Under 133

Date: March 7, 2020
TV/Time: FS1, 11:00 p.m. ET
Venue: Matthew Knight Arena
Location: Eugene, Oregon

Speaking of teams that will know what they need by tip relative to rivals, the Oregon Ducks are looking to claim the regular season crown in the Pac-12, and it's between them and the UCLA Bruins for that crown. Oregon already owns the head-to-head result with the Bruins, so the Ducks will be keen observers in that UCLA/USC game in the afternoon today, one where USC comes in as a -3 favorite. A UCLA loss means Oregon's got the conference crown before even stepping on the floor tonight, and a UCLA win means Oregon's got to match that result against a feisty Stanford team. So why am I taking the points with the Cardinal?

Oregon is listed as a home favorite in the season finale against Stanford.
Oregon is listed as a home favorite in the season finale against Stanford. (AP)

Well, a UCLA loss – something the line suggests will happen – means Oregon's got nothing to really play for or concern themselves with tonight other than staying as healthy as possible. That's not a scenario I ever really want to be laying a spread like this, as Oregon could end up simply going through the motions.

A UCLA win does complicate things a bit more, but Oregon just has to win the game in that scenario, they aren't necessary concerned about winning by margin. Remember, pressure can do some funny things to college basketball teams as well, and the pressure to win is one where Oregon might actually look a little tight tonight, meaning that pulling away and winning by margin is going to be tough.

Personally, I'm of the belief that the former scenario is the one that we will likely see play out tonight, as I do believe USC finds a way to win their cross-town rivalry game with the Bruins, as after all, USC is still looking for one of those Top 4 spots as well if they can win and get a bit of help. That means that seeing a flat Ducks team tonight is quite likely.

However, even if that doesn't end up being the case, Stanford's got nothing to lose in going out their tonight, and the Cardinal know that to get where they ultimately want to go this year, at some point they are going to likely have to go through Oregon (or a team of similar quality) to get there.

Stanford has been playing some really great basketball of late with a 4-1 SU and ATS record in their last five games overall, and even though that defeat came in their last outing at Oregon State, a three-point road loss is nothing for Stanford to hang their heads about. Should the Ducks need this victory, Stanford will have no problem doing the best they can to hang right around with them.

Pac-12 Best Bet: Stanford +7.5

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