Originally written on NorthWest Sports Beat  |  Last updated 9/23/14
Cougars, Ducks Open Pac-12 Slate

Even Toronto Raptors fans know that the fun doesn’t start in college basketball until the conference portion of the schedule begins, and the Pac-12 tips off on Thursday at Washington State, where the Cougars host Oregon in a matchup of two teams that handled the non-conference part of their slate very well.

Oregon Washington State Odds – Thursday, 9:00 PM ET

The Ducks (9-3) won their third game in as many nights by beating Stephen F. Austin 55-45 in the Global Sports Hoops Classic, and a BetOnline.com review of this game would point to the Ducks’ ability to find another gear as they were obviously exhausted by the end, but they found a way to avoid what would have been a huge upset to everyone from casual fans to hardcore players that use price per head services. E.J. Singler had 12 points, while Devoe Joseph was next with 10 points and eight boards for the Ducks, who probably won this game at the line, where they were 14-of-23 while Stephen F. Austin was 6-of-9. It wasn’t a pretty win, but Oregon will take it as they head into the Pac-12 with a head of steam.

The Cougars (8-4) have won six in a row following a 67-56 victory over Pepperdine, racing out to a 26-15 lead by halftime. Faisal Aden came off the bench to drop 17 points, while DaVonte Lacy added 15 points for the Cougars, who shot only 40.4% from the field, but they held their opponents to 35.6%. You probably won’t find much love for Washington State among those that use price per head bookmaking software as there are no big names on their roster, but they’re an efficient team that doesn’t waste many shots and they can be a pain defensively.

Washington State should be the home favorites in this Pac-12 affair, as they’re 4-1 SU and ATS in their last five at home against Oregon, with three games falling under the posted total. Both teams played better than expected during the non-conference part of their schedule, and both also have tough road losses against teams that were ranked at the time (ironically, both came in the first game of the season). Rebounding could play a factor in this game and the Cougars have the edge there. Washington State also has the edge in taking good shots and that should be the difference as the Cougars look to spark their conference campaign right off the bat. It should be a very competitive game as both teams are out to show they’ll be a force this year in the Pac-12, but Washington is the smart college basketball betting play on Thursday.
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