Washington State vs Arizona Odds, Picks and Predictions: Potential Slogfest Favors the Cougars

Despite the Wildcats boasting some of the best odds to cut down the nets in April, the Cougars could keep things interesting when their slow-tempo system rolls into Tucson tonight. Read more in our Washington State vs. Arizona betting picks.

Feb 22, 2024 • 15:04 ET • 4 min read
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The college basketball odds board for Thursday is headlined by a clash between the No. 21 Washington State Cougars and the No. 4 Arizona Wildcats. Arizona was expected to be the cream of the crop in the Pac-12 but Washington State has been a pleasant surprise after entering the season ranked as the 10th-best team in the conference.

The Cougars proved they were legit by upsetting Arizona last month but the Wildcats are expected to get revenge and are 13-point home favorites for the rematch. Here are my best free college basketball picks and predictions for Washington State vs. Arizona on February 22.

Washington State vs Arizona best odds

Washington State vs Arizona picks and predictions

Both of these teams are red-hot but the market seems to be undervaluing the Washington State Cougars, who are on a seven-game winning streak and are 6-1 against the spread during that span. 

The Cougars beat the Arizona Wildcats as 9-point pups when these teams tangled in Pullman last month. While Arizona is a perfect 13-0 straight up at home while going 10-3 ATS, this spread is too large for my liking.

Sure, the Wildcats should experience some positive regression when it comes to shooting, as they shot just 34.7% from the floor and went 7-24 from beyond the arc in that first meeting. However, Arizona still won't be its usual up-tempo, high-scoring self against this stingy Cougars defense.

The Cougars are 27th in the country in adjusted defensive efficiency per KenPom while ranking 18th in opponent EFG% (46%) and seventh in defensive rebounding rate. While WSU doesn't force many turnovers, the Cougars do an excellent of defending in transition and at the rim while forcing opponents into tough mid-range shots. Arizona thrives in transition and at attacking the rim so it will be strength versus strength in both of those areas.

This sluggish Washington State squad (310th in adjusted tempo) also proved it could slow down Arizona's up-tempo attack in that first matchup. Sun Devils contests see an average of 155 possessions per game, but that first meeting had just 141.

Fewer possessions always make it tougher for favorites to cover massive spreads. Take the Cougars with the points here. 

My best bet: Washington State +13 (-110 at DraftKings)

Washington State vs Arizona same-game parlay

Washington State +13

Under 151

Kylan Boswell Under 2.5 rebounds

Although I expect Washington State's defense to show up on the road and slow down Arizona's highly efficient attack, I don't expect much from the Cougars' offense.

While they rank second in the Pac-12 in offensive efficiency in conference play, they're a modest 72nd in the country in effective field goal percentage (53.1%), with that number dropping to 49.1% on the road. 

Boasting size down low with Oumar Ballo and Motiejus Krivas, the Wildcats do a great job of clogging the paint. They rank 11th in the country in adjusted defensive efficiency, and while that defense can be unlocked with good perimeter shooting, the Cougars don't have the outside shooters to do that.

Sun Devils guard Kylan Boswell had a nightmare performance when these teams previously clashed. He went 0-5 from the field for 0 points while also failing to pick up a single rebound or assist in 25 minutes. While the O/U on Boswell's points and assists seem a tad low for the rematch, his rebounds total seems ripe for the picking.

This leg of the parlay is priced at -190 for an implied probability of 65.5%, but Boswell has snagged more than two boards just once in his last 10 games. Considering how much size both teams have in the frontcourt, don't expect the 6-foot-2 guard to make an impact on the glass tonight. 

Learn how to bet a same-game parlay with these helpful tips and strategies.

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Washington State vs Arizona spread and Over/Under analysis

Arizona opened as 11.5-point favorites for this showdown and money has come in on the home faves, shifting the spread to -13 as of 2:00 p.m. ET. The total has moved up half a point from the opening O/U of 150.5.

The Wildcats are coming off a 105-60 beatdown of rival Arizona State on Saturday. They are 6-0 SU and 5-1 ATS in their last six games, and they are the only team in the country that ranks in the Top 15 on both offense and defense at KenPom (sixth in adjusted offensive efficiency and 11th on defense).

Meanwhile, the Cougars are 10-1 SU and 9-2 ATS in their last 11 games, with their only loss during that span coming in overtime on the road against Cal. That said, Washington State has enjoyed a cushy schedule so far this season.

They rank 84th in the country in strength of schedule according to ESPN, which is the highest number in the Pac-12. The Wildcats have faced the second-toughest schedule in the conference and the 29th-toughest in the country.

Washington State vs Arizona betting trend to know

The Cougars are 4-0 SU and ATS in their last four games as an underdog. Find more college basketball betting trends for Washington State vs. Arizona.

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Washington State vs Arizona game info

Location: McKale Center, Tucson, AZ
Date: Thursday, February 22, 2024
Tip-off: 11:00 p.m. ET
TV: FS1

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