Pac 12 Betting Preview: Arizona Wildcats at California Golden Bears

Arizona Wildcats at California Golden Bears
Haas Pavilion – Berkeley, California
Thursday, February 2, 2012, 11:00 pm Eastern, TV: Fox Sports Net
Opening Line: California -6 1/2
Current Line: California -8
Opening Total: 129 1/2
Current Total: 132 1/2
Opening Money Line: Cal -330 / Arizona +280
Current Money Line: Cal -350 / Arizona +300

California is tied for first in the Pac 12 as they host Arziona Thursday night.

The 17-5 California Golden Bears are 7-2 in the Pac 12 and tied with Washington for the conference lead. The Golden Bears host the Arizona Wildcats Thursday night. The Wildcats are 14-8 overall and 5-4 in the Pac 12. Arizona is tied with Stanford and UCLA two games behind the conference leaders. Arizona leads the series 54-28, including 23-18 in Berkeley. Arizona has won 21 of the last 26 games in the series including a 107-105 triple overtime thriller in Berkeley last season.

Ariz0na is coached by Sean Miller. The Wildcats have wins over Valparaiso, Duquesne, Ball St, St. John’s, New Mexico St, Clemson, Arizona St, USC, Oregon St, Utah, and Washington St. Since Pac 12 play began, Arizona has split each series of geographic pairs. The Wildcats have losses to Mississippi St, San Diego St, Florida, Gonzaga, UCLA, Oregon Colorado, and Saturday at home to Washington 69-67. All Wildcat losses are by 11 points or less, and the last three losses were by a total of 5 points.

California is coached by Mike Montgomery. The Bears have wins over UC-Irvine, George Washington, Austin Peay, Georgia, San Jose St, Weber St, UC-Santa Barbara, USC, UCLA, Oregon, Colorado, Utah, Washington, and at home against rival Stanford Sunday 69-59. Cal has won 5 of their last 6 games. The Bears have losses to Missouri, San Diego St, UNLV, Oregon St, and Washington St. All losses were on the road or at a neutral site.

Arizona is outscoring opponents 70-62 this season. The Wildcats are shooting 44.3% from the field including 37.8% from 3 point range. Arizona makes 70.2% of their free throws. The Wildcats average 36.3 rebounds and have a rebounding margin of +2.8. Arizona averages 14.2 assists, 12.8 turnovers, 3.1 blocks, and 5.9 steals a game. Wildcat opponents are shooting 40.2% from the field including 27% from 3 point range. The Wildcats are #7 in opponents’ 3 point percentage. Arizona forces 12.1 turnovers a game.

Arizona forward Solomon Hill averages 12.6 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 2.7 assists, and o.6 blocks a game. He leads the Wildcats in all categories and makes 37% of his three pointers. Forward Jesse Perry averages 11.6 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 2.2 assists a game. Guard Kyle Fogg averages 12 points, 2.7 rebounds, 2.2 assists, and 1 steal a game. He shoots 44.7% on 3 pointers.   Nick Johnson averages 9 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 2.4 assists a game. He is shooting 35.1% from beyond the arc. Josiah Turner leads the Wildcats in steals with 1.2  a game.

Cal is outscoring opponents 72-60 this season. The Golden Bears shoot 48.3% from the field, including 39.2% from 3 point range. The Bears are in the top 25 nationally in both categories. Cal makes 74.1% from the free throw line.  The Golden Bears average 35.3 rebounds a game, and have a rebounding margin of +5.3. Cal averages 16.3 assists, 12 turnovers, 5 steals, and 3 blocks a game. Cal opponents are shooting 40.3% from the field, including 33.4% from 3 point range. The Golden Bears force 13.4 turnovers a game.

California guard Allen Crabbe averages 15.8 points, 6.1 rebounds to lead the team, and 2.2 assists a game. He shoots 43.6% from 3 point range. Jorge Gutierrez is averaging 14.1 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.4 assists, and 1.3 steals a game to lead the team. He makes 32.7% from 3 point range. Justin Cobbs averages 13 points, 2.5 rebounds, 4.7 assists to lead the team, and 1.1 steals a game. Cobbs makes 50% of his 3 point attempts. Harper Kamp averages 9.7 points, 5 rebounds, and 1.6 assists. Richard Solomon led the team in rebounds with 6.2 a game and blocks with 1.2 a game. Solomon is out for the season due to being ineligible.  David Kravish averages 5.2 rebounds and 1.2 blocks a game to lead the team. Forward Christian Behrens and guard Alex Rossi are both out indefinitely.

Cal is 12-8 against the spread and the total is 6-14 this season. Arizona is 11-10 ATS and the total is 9-12 this season. The over is 16-5 in this series recently, including 8-2 in Berkeley. The Wildcats are 6-0 ATS after a straight up loss, 5-0 after failing to cover, 5-1 in Thursday games, 9-2 in road games, and 8-2 as an underdog, 7-2 in road games against teams with winning home records. 6-2 as a road underdog of between 7-12.5 points, 8-3 in Pac 12 games, 5-2 overall, and 7-3 against teams with winning records. The Golden Bears are 9-2 ATS at home and as a home favorite, 12-4 as a favorite, 19-7 as a home favorite of 7-12.5 points, 1-4 in Thursday games, and after a cover.

Like most of the Pac 12, these two teams are up and down. Cal is undefeated at home, but Arizona certainly has the talent to pull off the upset. The Wildcats have lost three heartbreakers in a row, and I see this as another close game.

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