February 28th 2015 (Posted at 11:00 AM ET)
Sports Profit System has numerous leans today but there's one pick that we're more confident in than all others.
Take Utah Utes at -1.5 spread against Arizona Wildcats risking 3%
This is arguably the marquee matchup on the card today. While there are likely to be some very exciting games played, this battle between the Wildcats and Utes could be the game that ultimately steals the show! These are the top two teams in the Pac-12 conference and two of the best in the nation and interestingly enough both have similar styles and statistics. On paper, these teams look nearly identical and appear to be evenly matched. When that is the case, it's often the subtle differences or intangible advantages that determines the winner.
One such advantage that Utah will hold is the fact that they are playing at home. The Utes are a perfect 16-0 on their home floor this season and the vast majority of those games have not been close. Utah is averaging 81.3 points at home this season and shooting 53.3% from the field. It's not just the fact that they are taking high percentage shots but that they are also shooting very well from long range connecting on over 45% of their 3-point attempts! When teams typically perform at this type of offensive efficiency, it usually causes their defensive efforts to suffer; that is however not the case with this team. Utah is arguably not only the best defense in the conference but could potentially be the best overall defensive team in the country. Utah is only giving up an average of 55.2 points on 37% shooting from the field! They have been suffocating teams, outscoring them by an average of 26 points per game on their home court!
Arizona has been similarly impressive this season on their home court as well; going undefeated themselves while holding a double digit margin of victory over opponents there. The issue tonight however is that Arizona is not playing on their home court, they are playing in hostile environment and while they have been impressive, their stats do dip quite a bit on the highway, especially on the defensive end. All 3 of their losses this season have come on the road and we expect them to suffer their 4th tonight.
This is also a big revenge game for the Utes! This is the second meeting between these two teams this season, with the first one having taken place last month. In that contest, the Wildcats flexed their muscle and defeated the Utes by double digits in Arizona. Their defense frustrated the Utes in that game but it wasn't actually surprising. Home court advantage was a huge factor in that game, just as we expect it to be tonight. Utah will likely be looking for payback and we believe they have the tools to accomplish that goal. It's not only a revenge game from this season but it's a well-known fact that the Wildcats have had the Utes' number for a number of years now. Out of the last 12 meetings, Arizona has won 11 of them! This is arguably the best Utah team the school has had in the last decade however and if they were ever gonna get one over them, it would be now. They have been extremely impressive this season and you can be sure that not only the players but coach Larry Krystkowiak know the history surrounding this series and realize that this is their best chance to do something special.
Utah also needs this win in order to keep pace with Arizona in the Pac-12 standings. They are 12-3 in conference play this season while Arizona is currently 13-2. A victory by the Utes would essentially put them in a tie with Arizona for the conference lead! If that happens, a rubber match in the upcoming Pac-12 tournament could determine the true conference champion as well as dictate seeding come Selection Sunday. This is an extremely important contest for the Utes and we expect them to treat it as such! Arizona is a solid team but Utah has been untouchable on this court and given the critical nature of this contest, we expect a focused and tenacious effort.
Other notable facts to consider:
- Utah is 44-9 in home games over the last 3 seasons!
- Utah is 32-13 ATS when listed as a favorite over the last 3 seasons.
- Utah is 5-1 ATS after scoring 80 points or more this season!
- Utah is 37-18 ATS against conference opponents the last 3 seasons.
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