The Stanford Cardinal face another tough test against the Texas Longhorns in the Pac-12 Coast-to-Coast Challenge on Sunday.
Las Vegas plays host to the Challenge, so the neutral venue should provide an even playing ground. However, NCAA betting odds have the Longhorns as firm favorites to improve their Top 25 ranking.
Game: Texas Longhorns (7-2) at Stanford Cardinal (6-3)
Location: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas
Day/Time: Sunday, 3 p.m. ET
Texas Longhorns at Stanford Cardinal
Is Texas Overrated?
Take nothing away from the 7-2 record of Texas but it has mostly come against low-level opposition.
Texas lost one of its two games against Seton Hall last week, which could be the best form guide for bettors. It showed the Longhorns’ struggles away from home, and although they face the Cardinal at a neutral venue, it’s nothing like playing at home.
Scoring only 60 points in the 64-60 loss is a concern. The Longhorns average 73.2 points per game, so it was a step down on their usual offense. Stanford’s offense is good enough to keep it in the game, so Texas needs to come out firing.
Coach Chris Beard believes numerous one-possession games could have taken their toll late.
“They’ve been in four of these one-possession games and tonight that showed,” Beard told ESPN. “We just didn’t have enough offense down the stretch.”
In favor of Texas winning and covering the spread is its defense. Ranking second in the country with 53.6 PPG, the Longhorns don’t give their opposition much chance, and it’s mostly due to excellent closeouts.
The Longhorns are a long team, so they close out well. If they can pressure the Stanford shooters, they might not need a big scoring night to win.
Betting online markets have the line at -8, which could be a difficult cover. Texas is only 4-5 against the spread and it has covered in only one of its last four games.
Stanford Making a Stand
It hasn’t been the smoothest season for the Stanford Cardinal, but they’re heading in the right direction.
The Cardinal lost to Baylor and Colorado during a three-game stretch, but they have bounced back with wins over Oregon and Dartmouth.
The win against Oregon came as a one-point underdog, and although they failed to cover the -14 spread against Dartmouth, it was a clutch 89-78 overtime win.
Covering spreads hasn’t been easy for the Cardinal, who are 2-6-1 ATS. They have lost a few spreads by only a handful of points, so that statistic could have looked a lot different.
Jaiden Delaire is a player stepping up for the Cardinal. He dropped 22 points in the win over Dartmouth, which is much higher than his season average of 12.6. He’s shooting above 50 percent from the field, so the forward is producing economical basketball.
Bettors get +8 points to work with from the sportsbook. It’s a generous line for a team with back-to-back wins on the board.
Cardinal to Stand Tall
Backing against Texas is never easy. They have a flashy offense and a better defense, but we don’t like them in this situation.
The Stanford Cardinal has the confidence levels up after notching two recent wins and even the loss to Colorado came by only four points.
They might not be the most attractive team in college basketball, but they’re getting points to work with and it could come down to the final few possessions in Las Vegas.