Arizona vs. Arizona State Odds
|Arizona State Odds||+2.5|
|Moneyline||-146 / +124|
|Time | TV||Thursday, 9 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Wednesday night and via FanDuel.|
The Arizona Wildcats will make the short trip down to Tempe on Thursday to do battle with their in-state rivals, Arizona State.
The story of Arizona’s season has been that they win the games they are supposed to, but they haven’t been able to score a victory over a class opponent. All three of Arizona’s losses have come against teams inside the KenPom Top 50, while nine of their 10 wins have come against teams outside of KenPom’s Top 100. On top of all of that, the team has self-imposed a postseason ban for 2020-21. So the question has to be asked, how motivated are the Wildcats?
After a three-week hiatus due to COVID issues, the Arizona State Sun Devils have gone cold. The Sun Devils have lost three straight games in conference play and are coming off a last-second defeat to Oregon State over the weekend. This season has not gone according to plan for Bobby Hurley, but a win over an in-state rival might just be what the Sun Devils need to get back on track.
When Arizona has the ball
The Wildcats offense has been humming during Pac 12 play, putting up 1.14 points per possession, which is the second-best mark in the conference. Arizona shot the lights out in their last game against Oregon State, making 57.3% of their field goal attempts.
The Wildcats should have plenty of chances to score thanks to their conference-leading 36.2% offensive-rebound rate. The Wildcats are one of the tallest teams in the country and should give ASU issues down low as the Sun Devils boast the second-lowest rebounding rate in the Pac 12.
Arizona also gets to the free throw line at almost a 40% rate, which is going to be a big advantage, since Arizona State allows its opponents to get to the charity stripe over 43% of the time. In fact, in their last game against Oregon State, the Wildcats attempted a whopping 26 free throws.
Bottom line is this, even if Arizona isn’t able to shoot a high percentage from the floor, this offense will have plenty of second chances or free throw opportunities on offense.
When Arizona State has the ball
It’s been a truly disappointing season for Arizona State because this is the most talented team that Bobby Hurley has coached at ASU. Remy Martin and Alonzo Verge are two NBA-caliber players and Joshua Christopher is a five-star freshman. It’s truly puzzling to see this team ranked 60th in offensive efficiency per KenPom.
Hurley’s teams play run-and-gun basketball and this year is no different as the Sun Devils are playing to the 17th-fastest tempo in the nation. Arizona State loves to heave the 3-ball, but they are only converting them at a 31% clip. That is a big problem since almost 40% of their field-goal attempts come from beyond the arc.
Arizona State did seem to make a concerted effort to get to the rim in their last game, though, and it worked out to a 65.7% conversion rate from two-point range.
Arizona’s defense has been slightly below average during conference play, allowing 1.03 points per possession. However, the Wildcats allowed over 1.10 points per possession in their three losses against teams ranked inside the KenPom Top 50.
Betting Analysis & Pick
Both Arizona and Arizona State play to a very fast tempo, so I think this game could turn into a track meet, especially if Arizona gets out to a lead and the Sun Devils are left scrambling to try and get get back into the game. Additionally, the Wildcats offense is going to have a field day against Arizona State’s defense and should be able to score 80+ points.
I have the total projected at 157.89, so I think there is some value on Over 153.5 points or better.
Pick: Over 153.5 points or better
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