Stanford Cardinal vs. California Bears – College Basketball, February 4, 2021

By Dean McHugh in College Basketball
| February 4, 2021 6:37 am PDT

While neither of these teams has set the world alight this season, they have both been hard to beat at times, making this an intriguing matchup. Cardinal sit in six spots in the standings, but they are some way behind the top five and are looking over their shoulder rather than ahead right now. Although the Bears are second from bottom, they are the opposite as they are well clear of last-placed Washington.

The last six games between these two have been split evenly, with both teams winning three matches each. This is also the case of the previous six games played at the Bears home court.

Here are the game odds followed by my team analysis and concluding with my Cardinal vs. Bears betting pick.

Cardinal vs. Bears Odds

Cardinal (-5.5) -110
Bears (+5.5) -110
Cardinal To Win -270
Bears To Win +235
Over 133.5 Points -110
Under 133.5 Points -110

You could say the spread looks a bit high given how close these teams have matched up recently. However, it reflects the season they are both having and is about right in my eyes. The points total does seem low, and this could be the market to offer the most value.

The Cardinal has only lost twice as the betting favorite this season, and the Bears have only won twice as the underdogs.

Cardinal News

Stanford is going through their worst run of form this season after losing four of their previous six games. While they lost to a couple of excellent teams in Colorado and most recently the number one ranked USC, they have also lost to Utah Utes and Arizona State. These are two teams they would have been hopeful of beating given their record up until then.

They have a record of 5-4 from their nine games played to date on the road. Worryingly for their fans, though, they have lost three of their previous four road trips. However, their one win was against an excellent Arizona team. They dominated that match from start to finish and ran out comfortable winners by a score of 64-73.

Here are the latest betting trends for Stanford:

  • They have only won two of their last six games against the spread.
  • Eight of their previous nine games have gone over the betting total.
  • The Cardinal have only won one of their last five games against the Bears when betting against the spread.
  • Four of their previous five games on the road have gone over the points total.
  • Stanford has lost all five of their most recent away fixtures to the Bears against the spread.
  • They are 7-1 in their last eight games when playing as the betting favorite.

Stanford has a decent offense that likes to drive the ball towards the basket. This means they don’t tend to take or make many shots from deep, which is why they have the lowest count of three-pointers in the Conference. However, this style of play does draw many fouls, which is another avenue for them to score points. It also means they don’t make many assists either, as they are currently averaging 12 per game.

What does surprise me slightly is the number of turnovers they are making per game. You can only imagine that this is being caused by forcing the issue and driving down blind alleys.

Their defense plays at a similar standard, so they would be regarded as a well-rounded team. They defend in exactly the opposite way to their attack by closing teams down well and forcing them into errors. This often leads to opportunities to steal the ball, which they have certainly made the most of this season.

They will hope that their defense is on point tonight as they are unbeaten in five games that they have reduced their opponents to 64 points or less.

German Superstar Oscar da Silva leads most of the scoring stats for Stanford this season, and he is being tipped to have a bright future for many years in the NBA.

Sophomore Spencer Jones has also excelled this season, and he has been an integral part of their defense.

Stanford has an ever-growing list of absentees, with Davis, Wills, Begovic, and Williams, all doubtful to play tonight.

Bears News

The Bears are also in their biggest slump of the season, having lost their last four games in a row. However, three of those defeats did come against the top three teams in the Conference.

The good news for the Bears is that they are back home tonight, where six of their seven wins have taken place.

Here are the latest betting trends for California:

  • The Bears have won four of their last five games against the spread.
  • Ten of their previous 13 games have gone over the betting total.
  • However, the total has gone under in five of their last six games against Stanford.
  • This again contradicts itself when you focus on the head-to-head matches played at the Bears home court as six of the last seven has gone over.
  • California has lost 11 of their previous 13 games against Pacific-12 opposition.
  • The total has gone over in four of their last five games played in February.

The Bears offense is more like a Koala Bear than a Golden Bear this season. However, Koala Bears can probably jump better than California if their rebounding is anything to go by. They currently have the lowest points per game average in the Pacific-12 Conference.

However, their offense has been better at home, which should at least make them competitive tonight.

Despite not being the best three-point shooters in the league, they have made one of the most three-pointers this season. This suggests that they often get desperate in their games, especially when they fall behind.

Their defense has been much the same, and their statistics are less than inspiring. However, they have rebounded better defensively this season. For me, you have to question their work ethic as for a team with so few stars in it; they should be working twice as hard as the rest of the team’s, but instead, at times, it appears the opposite. Look at their steals and blocks per game, for example, which stands at just five. For a team that spends most of the game without the ball, this should be almost twice the amount.

This is why they have a negative point per game difference of -3.1.

Matt Bradley has been the only standout player for the Bears this season, but he missed quite a few games in January, and it showed. However, instead of feeling sorry for himself, he took to social media to get behind his team. It seems that the rest of his teammates need to show this same fight, which is lacking.

They will need Bradley and the rest of the offense to be at their best, as when they have scored 70 points are more, they have won every game (five). However, they have lost 12 of the 13 games that have fallen shy of that total.

The Bears have no injury problems heading into tonight’s game.

Cardinal vs. Bears Betting Pick

Both teams aren’t playing well right now, and it could come down to whoever shows more residence on the day. For me, that plays into Stanford’s hands as the Bears have offered minimal fight at times this season. Given that the Bears have been better at home this season, I won’t risk taking them on against the spread and will take the Cardinal to win straight up.

Pick
  • Cardinal To Win
    -270

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