The Pac-12 tournament comes with some added drama this postseason, with the top-seeded Arizona Wildcats at the center of a FBI wiretap scandal. For now, it looks like it’s business as usual for head coach Sean Miller and the Wildcats but how much of distraction will this be for the team, and are Arizona’s top players focused on the conference tournament – and even NCAA – after announcing they’ll jump to the pros at the end of the year.
Here’s a look at some free sports betting picks on the favorites and live underdogs for the Pac-12 tournament, which tips off at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas this week.
Arizona Wildcats +180
Even after a dark cloud parked itself over this program, Arizona remains the team to beat in the Pac-12. The Wildcats won five of their final six games, with the lone loss coming in overtime at Oregon following the news of the FBI’s investigation into possible player payments. Arizona did, however, fail to cover in the final three games, so perhaps that is a sign of things to come.
The Wildcats will have star Allonzo Trier in the lineup for the Pac-12 tournament after he was suspended following a PED investigation. Arizona is set to play the winner of the Colorado/Arizona State game, and might have a rooting interest in the rival Sun Devils after losing to Colorado earlier in the year. With the motivation of their studs in question and all the uncertainty around the program, bettors may want to look elsewhere when it comes to value in the Pac-12 postseason.
USC Trojans +250
Southern Cal has a chance to take some real momentum into the conference tournament, but had its four-game winning streak snapped by UCLA in the regular season finale. The Trojans lost standout forward Bennie Boatwright to a season-ending knee injury in mid-February but coach Andy Enfield has kept the team intact and has USC sitting on the NCAA tournament bubble entering the postseason. Southern Cal desperately needs a good showing to crack the Selection Committee.
The Trojans are slated as the No. 2 seed in the Pac-12 tournament and set to play the winner of the Washington/Oregon State game. They dropped the Beavers in each of their two meetings but lost to the Huskies back in late December. Bettors shouldn’t put too much weight into that result, with USC maturing as a team since then, especially on the defensive side of the ball.
UCLA Bruins +300
The Bruins are the No. 4 seed in the Pac-12 tournament, and waiting for the winner of the Stanford/Cal game. UCLA won both meeting with Cal and split the two games against the Cardinal, with the loss coming in overtime. The Bruins stubbled a bit at the end of the year, playing a road-heavy slate that found UCLA away from home in five of their final seven games.
The Bruins are hoping to have guard Jaylen Hands back for the tournament, after he sat out the finale with an ankle injury. The pace of the postseason can be trying on injured players and Steve Alford doesn’t go too far down his bench in terms of reliable depth. Alford may be coaching for his job this postseason, but will his players help his cause?
Utah Utes +700
The Utes are actually the No. 3 seed in the Pac-12 tournament, and will play the winner of the Oregon/Washington State game. Utah saved its best basketball for the back half of the conference slate, winning six of its final seven games while going 5-2 ATS in that stretch. They beat Oregon back in late December and took two wins over the Cougars, so there’s value with Utah advancing.
The Utes are another Pac-12 team on the NCAA tournament bubble and while they exceeded expectations by finishing third in the conference despite a massive turnover in talent, Utah will need a deep run into the postseason and likely a win over Arizona or Southern Cal to get its named called on Selection Sunday. The Utes are always great at home but struggle to find that same success on the road, with their scoring production dropping almost 10 points when away from Salt Lake City.