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Thursday's best bets from across college basketball coming to us from handicapper Joey Ruiz. The first is a high-profile rematch in the WCC between Gonzaga and San Fransisco and the second is a Pac-12 rematch between Arizona and Utah. Let's get to it.

Thursday's College Basketball Best Bets: Can the Favorites Get it Done?

San Francisco vs. Gonzaga Prediction

San Francisco has been one of the better stories in college basketball this year as they have elevated their program and may even be in position for an at-large bid in the tournament, which was once unheard of for WCC teams.

Despite their success this season, I think they are in for a very tough time tonight against the Zags. Yes, I know Gonzaga will be a heavy and publicly bet favorite tonight but there are a few reasons why I think they are in a good spot.

In the first matchup, Gonzaga was a 16.5-to-17 point favorite on their home court. In that game, San Fran got off to a lightning-fast start and was actually winning 15-4 through the first 7 minutes of the game. I don't think Gonzaga has scored only 4 points in many 7 minute stretches this year and don't think we will see that again tonight.

Gonzaga then came back from that deficit and actually led by 3 at halftime. This means over the course of the final 13 minutes of the half, Gonzaga outscored them 32-18. Then in the second half, the Zags put their foot on the gas and ended up winning the game by 16 points. So, over the course of the final 33 minutes of the game, Gonzaga outscored the Dons by a score of 75-47. I think Gonzaga will get off to a much faster start in this game and expect a much crisper effort on offense than what they displayed in the first few minutes of the first game. With that being said, I am rolling with Gonzaga 1H -5.5 at -108 for one of my most confident college basketball picks of the night.

San Francisco vs. Gonzaga Pick

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Utah vs. Arizona Prediction

Arizona is in a very similar spot tonight as mentioned above with Gonzaga. In the first matchup between Arizona and Utah, who is having a very down year, Arizona was nearly 20-point favorites at home but did not get off to the best start. They were down 15-12 with nearly 14 minutes left in the half and proceeded to go on a 5-minute scoreless drought.

I can't think of another time this season where Arizona didn't score against a team as bad as Utah for nearly 5 minutes. After this stretch, Arizona closed the half on a 22-14 run and was actually leading by 3 at the half, like Gonzaga.

Arizona then opened the flood gates in the second half as their offense started to fire on all cylinders and they eventually won the game by 18 points and nearly covered the full-game spread. In that second half, Arizona outscored Utah 48-33 and in the final 28 minutes of the game, outscored Utah by a score of 70-47. I think Arizona will get off to a solid start tonight and should be able to handle this lowly Utah team. With that being said I am rolling with Arizona 1H -5.5 -110 for one of my most confident college basketball picks of the night.

Bonus Parlay: *I am also going to parlay Gonzaga 1H ML and Arizona 1H ML together to get -130 for a bonus pick tonight just in case one of these sides wins the half but fails to cover. so, my third pick tonight is going to be a Money Line Parlay of Gonzaga 1H ML and Arizona 1H ML at -130*

Utah vs. Arizona Pick

Article Author


Joey has spent the last 6+ years betting on sports with a focus on basketball and baseball. Basketball is his main focus, and not many people know more about mid-major basketball than him. Whether you need advice on a Saturday night primetime game or a Tuesday night back-alley SWAC/MEAC game, Joey is your man.


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