The 2022 Pac-12 Tournament will get underway at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas Wednesday at Noon PT when Stanford takes on Arizona State. Arizona, the conference regular-season winner and tournament betting favorite, will open the tournament against the winner Thursday afternoon. The Wildcats will undoubtedly be heavy favorites at Arizona sportsbooks against either team, but is the heavy tournament favorite an excellent bet to win it all?
Let’s take a look at the Pac-12 Tournament odds at four of Arizona’s top sportsbooks:
Pac-12 Tournament Betting Odds
Arizona has not won the Pac-12 Tournament since 2018, which is the last time it appeared in the tournament. That’s also the last time the Wildcats won the regular-season title. The tournament favorite has won twice in the last 10 years. Both of those instances were Arizona in 2015 and 2018.
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It May Be Hard To Justify Not Betting On Arizona
You could, of course, justify a bet on another team simply by saying you want to take a chance on one with longer odds. But when so many things point to the Wildcats being one of the best teams in the country, let alone the conference, ‘taking a chance’ could equate to ‘taking a loss.’
Arizona has been in the top 10 of the AP Poll since mid-December, in the top five since late January, and the No. 2 team for the last two weeks. From a statistical perspective, the Wildcats are the best in the Pac-12 in 15 of 31 categories recorded by the NCAA.
The only red flag is a recent 16-point loss to a mediocre Colorado team, but Arizona bounced back from that with a solid 20-point win over then-No. 16 USC followed with wins over Stanford and California. Their other conference loss came at the hands of a then-No. 7 UCLA team on Jan. 25 in Los Angeles, a loss which the Wildcats got revenge for later in the season on their home court.
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What About UCLA?
If any team is going to give the Wildcats a run for their money, UCLA is the obvious choice. The Bruins didn’t just beat Arizona in the first meeting — they dominated the game. UCLA’s defense held the Arizona offense to a season-low 59-points. However, the Wildcats won the rematch on their home court a couple of weeks later.
When UCLA plays up to its potential, the Bruins can play with anyone. The Bruins finished the regular season with the No. 1 scoring defense, No. 2 scoring offense, and No. 2 scoring margin in the Pac-12. However, the Bruins struggled to maintain that standard over the last month with losses to Arizona, Arizona State, USC, and Oregon.
While Arizona had the No. 1 scoring offense and scoring margin in the conference, the Wildcats ranked sixth in scoring defense.
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Pac-12 Tournament Betting Analysis
No one will fault you if you bet on either UCLA or Arizona. Both have excellent teams and have played well throughout the season. UCLA has done well against the teams it could face before playing Arizona in the title game (7-1) and have more big-game experience than the Wildcats.
But the Wildcats appear to be the better team — at least, on paper.
As for long shots, it may be kind of hard to get behind anyone. Oregon has lost five of its last six. While USC beat UCLA earlier in the year, they are 0-2 to Arizona and lost the regular-season finale to the Bruins, 75-68. If you want to go with a long shot, consider Colorado.
The Buffs went 1-4 against the Pac-12’s best (USC, UCLA, and Arizona), but the win came against the Wildcats in their home finale. Colorado has a shot if the stars can align for them in Vegas for a few games as they did for them that night against Arizona.