Stanford Cardinal (8-7, 4-8-1 ATS) vs. Washington Huskies (10-5, 2-11 ATS), Bank of America Arena, Seattle, Thursday, Jan. 14th, 10:30 PM Eastern, FSN
By Z-Man of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Huskies -8 1/2/Cardinal +8 1/2
The Stanford Cardinal are off to an unexpectedly good start to their PAC 10 campaign, while the Washington Huskies are not. So The Farmers will be looking to continue their recent good fortune, and the U-Dubbers will be looking to change their luck, when the teams meet in Seattle Thursday night.
Several online sportsbooks opened this game with Washington favored by 7 or eight points, but have had to bump the Huskies to -8 as of mid-Thursday morning. The total has held steady in early action at 155.
Washington is also listed at around -400 on most moneylines, with Stanford getting around +330.
With just two starters back from last year, Stanford was the choice of many experts to finish at the bottom of the PAC 10 this season. And in their second season under Coach Dawkins the Cardinal only went 6-6 in non-conference play, which included losses to San Diego and Oral Roberts. But after a bad loss to Cal to open the PAC 10 schedule, Stanford has won two straight, over USC and UCLA.
With three starters returned from the team that won the PAC 10 regular-season championship for the first time in over 20 years last season, the Huskies were expected to make a run at a repeat this season. And they went 9-2 through their non-conference slate, with the only losses coming in overtime at Texas Tech and on a neutral court in Anaheim vs. Georgetown. But after beating Oregon State to open the PAC 10 slate, U-Dub has lost three straight conference games, to Oregon, Arizona State and Arizona, by an average of 16 points per.
So at 2-1 in conference play the Cardinal are tied for first place in the PAC 10 with Cal and Oregon, while 1-3 Washington brings up the rear.
Stanford has basically been a two-man team on the offensive end so far this season. F Landry Fields and G Jeremy Green are averaging 40 PPG together, while the rest of the team is averaging 33. And the Cardinal got zero points from their bench in their win over UCLA last Saturday.
Washington, meanwhile, is getting 38 PPG out of F Quincy Pondexter and G Isaiah Thomas (no, not that one), and 42 points from everybody else. But Pondexter has scored just 16 points on 6-of-15 shooting over the last two games, both losses.
For the season the Cardinal as a team are shooting 45% from the field, 36% from 3-point land but just 65% from the free-throw line. At the other end of the court Stanford is allowing opponents to shoot 47% from the floor, and they’re getting outrebounded by 2.3 boards per game.
Washington is shooting 44% from the floor this season, just 31% from beyond the arc but 71% from the line. The Huskies are allowing opponents to shoot 44% from the field but are outrebounding foes by 4.8 RPG.
Last season the Huskies beat the Cardinal three times, twice in the regular season and again in the PAC 10 tournament, by an average score of 81-75. Washington outrebounded Stanford in all three of those games, and covered the pointspread in two of them. And two of those three games went OVER the posted totals.
Neither of these teams has been very kind to their financial backers so far this season. Stanford has covered just four of 13 pointspreads so far, and Washington is a miserable 2-11 vs. the numbers.
Cardinal games are averaging just under 144 total points this season, and they’re 5-6 on the totals.
Huskies games are averaging 152 points, and they’re 7-3 on the totals.
Sagarin’s PREDICTOR ratings at USAToday.com rates Washington at +5.3 over Stanford. Added to Sagarin’s updated college basketball home-court advantage figure of 4.1, and the Huskies are 9 1/2-point favorites over the Cardinal on the Sagarin line.
Z-Man’s Pick: Both teams are helter skelter this year. There are many better games on today’s card to wager on, but if you have to make a play here, take Stanford +8.5.