Washington vs Arizona Odds, Picks and Predictions: Wildcats Re-Assert Themselves

Arizona's still looking like the Pac 12's best team on paper, and our college basketball picks think the Wildcats will be out to prove that against Washington on Saturday.

Feb 24, 2024 • 09:22 ET • 4 min read
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The Arizona Wildcats (20-6, 11-4 Pac-12) are no longer atop the conference standings. They’ve been supplanted by the Washington State Cougars following Arizona’s 77-74 defeat at home on Thursday night. 

Tommy Lloyd’s squad will look to avoid losing further ground as they host the Washington Huskies (15-12, 7-9) on Saturday in a quick turnaround.

Looking at college basketball odds, the Wildcats are expected to get back on track as 16-point favorites, while the total resides at 166.5. 

There’s been a move toward the Wildcats in the betting market — according to our college basketball line movement tool, they’ve moved from -14.5 at open to as high as -16.5 at some spots as of Saturday morning. 

Is that line movement justified? Are the Wildcats ready to bounce back in a big way? Check out our college basketball picks and predictions for Washington vs. Arizona on Saturday, February 24 to find out. 

Washington vs Arizona best odds

Washington vs Arizona picks and predictions

Games aren’t played on paper — or a spreadsheet — because if they were, the Arizona Wildcats would still be atop the Pac-12 standings. The Wildcats rank fourth overall on KenPom, featuring an elite offense (sixth in adjusted efficiency) and a staunch defense (13th), the combination of which makes them a National Championship contender. 

Caleb Love leads the way with 19.1 ppg while Oumar Ballo (13.2), Pelle Larsson (12.8), and Keshad Johnson (11.5) all contribute double figures. As a team, the Wildcats average the second-most points per game (90) in the nation while shooting a blistering 49% from the field. 

Arizona seemed to be on a roll, winning six straight games from January 27 to February 17. That stretch even included three impressive road victories (Oregon, Utah, Colorado), something that had previously proved elusive. That momentum proved for naught after falling 77-74 as 14-point favorites at home against Washington State on Thursday night. 

The Wildcats match up with another team that likes to play uptempo — the Washington Huskies. Mike Hopkins’ squad averages 81 ppg led by forward Keion Brooks Jr (21.2). Behind him are Sahvir Wheeler (15), Moses Wood (11.7), and Koren Johnson (10). 

Washington has won three of its last four. It toppled Oregon State by 12 on the road, blasted Stanford by 20 at home, lost to Cal by two at home, and then narrowly defeated Arizona State by two in Tempe. 

It’s going to be tough for the Huskies to find another win on Saturday. They’re facing Arizona at a terrible time — the Wildcats should be fired up and ready to regain their composure in what sets up as a good matchup for them. 

Not only will the Wildcats be able to run with the Huskies — they should thrive off the tempo in this game, allowing them to feel comfortable and find their groove. They’re also one of the only teams in the conference that truly has the size to match Washington, with the main difference being that Arizona’s size matters more as the team plays with more toughness and physicality. 

Washington’s offense is at its best when it can get in the paint, shooting 63.7% at the rim (via Hoop-Math) while ranking 13th in near-proximity field goal percentage vs. the average opponents per Haslametrics. Those shots simply won’t be there against a large-and-in-charge Arizona team allowing just 30.2% of opponent field goal attempts to occur at rim while ranking ninth in near-proximity defense. 

On the flip side, the Wildcats shouldn’t have much difficulty scoring against a Huskies defense that ranks 95th in adjusted efficiency (per KenPom). Washington has allowed 82 or more points in three of its last four road games and it’s difficult to envision a ton of success here in a bad matchup and bad scheduling spot. 

Give me the Wildcats. 

My best bet: Arizona -16 (-110 at bet365)

Washington vs Arizona same-game parlay

Arizona -16 

Keshad Johnson Over 11.5 points

Keion Brooks Jr. Over 1.5 threes made 

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One matchup I like for Arizona is forward Keshad Johnson against Washington’s Moses Wood. There’s a vast athleticism difference between the two — Johnson is a complete player who looks like he was crafted in a lab for his physical traits, whereas Wood is a 3-point specialist. 

It wouldn’t surprise me if Tommy Lloyd looked to exploit that by getting Johnson involved offensively attacking mismatches and establishing a level of ferocity in getting to the cup. Johnson has exceeded 11.5 points in three of his last five games.

The third leg of this SGP features Brooks to make at least two 3-pointers. Arizona’s defense has been happy to allow opponents to fly away from behind the arc, ranking 298th in opponents 3-point attempts per game (24.2), 297th in made 3-pointers per game (8,3), and 245th in 3-point defense (34.3%). 

We know Brooks is going to get his shots up in every game he plays because he’s simply that trigger-happy. Given Arizona’s tough interior defense, it wouldn’t be surprising if a decent amount of Brooks’ attempts come from the perimeter.

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Washington vs Arizona spread and Over/Under analysis

This betting line opened at Arizona -14.5 but has been on the move ever since, currently sitting at -16.5 across most books while -16 is still available. The total, meanwhile, opened at 169 but has been bet down to 166.5 as of writing. 

I’m in agreement with the line move, although I wouldn’t play this one past -17.5. The Wildcats have been tremendous at covering spreads (17-9 ATS) this year while the Huskies have been mediocre (13-13 ATS). 

As for the total, both teams like to get out and run and score a bevy of points. It’s not surprising that both have trended toward the Over — Washington is 15-11 O/U while Arizona is 14-12 O/U. 

The Huskies like to operate with tempo considering they have three adept passers who can operate the offense (Wheeler, Johnson, and Paul Mulcahy) either in the fast break or the halfcourt. Wheeler leads the way with 5.9 assists per game. As a team, they rank 30th in KenPom’s adjusted tempo metric.

The Wildcats also like to play fast, ranking 15th in adjusted tempo. They prefer to attack the paint, ranking fourth in near-proximity attempt rate per Haslametrics. Washington does a decent job of protecting the interior, however, allowed the 41st-lowest percentage of attempts at the rim (32.7%), although the Wildcats should still shoot a high percentage once they get there. 

It’s easy to see why there’s an expectation of points, but 166.5 is a high number. This is the third-highest total in an Arizona game this season, and the other two both cashing Under tickets. As for Washington, this is the highest total it has seen all season. The only two other times the Huskies had a total in the 160s, they cashed the Under. 

Given the performance of both teams with totals near this high of a number, I could only consider an Under ticket while the price remains this high. If the number drops down to 164.5 or below, it’d be time to consider an Over buyback.

Washington vs Arizona betting trend to know

Arizona is 10-4 ATS at home this season. Find more college basketball betting trends for Washington vs. Arizona.

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Washington vs Arizona game info

Location: McKale Center, Tuscon, AZ
Date: Saturday, February 24, 2024
Tip-off: 2:00 p.m. ET
TV: CBS

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