Washington State Cougars vs. Stanford Cardinal Preview and Pick

Washington State Cougars (22-6) +4.5, 118 O/U at Stanford Cardinal
(23-4) -4.5, 118 O/U, Maples Pavilion, Stanford, Calif., 4 PM
Eastern, Saturday

by Badger of Predictem.com

If the 8th-ranked Stanford Cardinal have any hopes of playing for the
PAC 10 Conference title next week, first theyll have to pass a huge
test versus 22nd-ranked Washington State Saturday in the Maples

If the Cardinal can find a way to win Saturday, it would set up a
showdown for the title against first-place UCLA next Wednesday. The
Cougars will be looking to spoil that opportunity though, and revenge
a 67-65 overtime loss to the Cardinal back on February 2nd in
Pullman. The loss to the Cardinal was the Cougars fifth in the last
six meetings in the series, and the Cougars havent won on the road
in the series since the 2005 season.

Oddsmakers opened the PAC 10 showdown with Stanford as 4.5-point
favorites, with an over/under total of 118. The early odds on the
moneyline at most bookies have the Cardinal listed at
-201 favorites, while the visiting Cougars are listed as +181 underdogs.

Both teams come into Saturdays contest fresh off of a win on
Thursday night, but the method of achieving those wins were extreme

Washington State shot 53 percent from the floor and destroyed the
California Bears in their home gym, 70-49. The Cougars also turned up
the intensity of their trademark stiff defense by holding the Bears
to 36 percent shooting (11 % from 3-point range) and a season-low of
49 points, nearly 27 points below their season average.

Stanford on the other hand limps into the Saturday showdown, barely
squeaking by the Washington Huskies at home, 82-79. The Cardinal came
into the game as 11-point favorites, but never found the ability to
put the Huskies away until a desperation half-court prayer fell short
at the final buzzer.

On a good note, both teams are starting to find a little more balance
on the offensive end.

Stanfords main offensive weapon, 7-footer Brook Lopez, has finally
been getting scoring help from his twin brother Robin, as well as
guards Anthony Goods and Mitch Johnson. All three scored in double
figures last time out (Goods 16 pts.; Johnson 14 pts., 6 ass.; Robin
Lopez 10 pts.) to go along with Brook Lopezs strong game of 21
points, 7 rebounds and 4 blocks.

Washington States main weapon, forward Kyle Weaver, also has been
required to do less and less scoring for the Cougars lately. Weavers
17 points in the Cal win wasnt even the high for the team, as Taylor
Rochesties 18 points and 6 assists led the Cougars in both
categories. The Cougars also got double figures from guard Derrick
Low (15 pts.) and center Aron Baynes (10 pts., 8 reb., 4-of-4
shooting) in the victory over Cal.

While the Cougars will be coming off of one of their best defensive
efforts of the season, the Cardinal will be looking to recapture
their mojo on the defensive end. Stanford, still with the 10th best
scoring average allowed per game at 59 points a contest, has
struggled to stop teams from running it up on them. Over the last
four games the Cardinal have allowed an uncharacteristically high
71.5 points per game, 12 points higher than their season average for
those of you mathematically challenged.

Stanford still has one of the best rebounding margins in the country
though, with a +10.0 per game average. That could turn out to be a
huge factor in this game because the Cougars are not one of the best
rebounding teams in the PAC 10.

If youve been a religious bettor on either of these teams, chances
are youre not betting anymore. Washington State is barely profitable
with a 15-12 ATS record, while Stanford has struggled to cover
spreads all season at 13-14 ATS.

Out of the two teams, most of the betting trends favor the Cougars.
Not only are they 5-1 ATS in their last six games overall, but they
are also a strong 9-3 ATS in their last 12 road games.

Stanford has covered just one spread in their last five games and is
just 2-7 ATS in their last nine games on the Maples Pavilion floor.
The only trend going in the Cardinals favor is the fact that the home
team is 10-4-1 ATS in the last 15 head-to-head games in the series.

While Stanfords sudden lack of defense has caused their last five
games to come in over the total, the Cougars steady work on the
defensive end of the floor has resulted in four straight unders
cashing in at the window. The under bet has cashed in for 10 of the
Cardinals 14 home games this season though.

Badgers Pick: With a total of 118, oddsmakers are expecting this
contest to be a strong display of two of the countrys better
defensive teams. While I agree with that opinion, I think the total
is set a little low. Take the over in this game and watch it slip
over the number in the closing seconds.