Oregon State vs. California NCAA Basketball Preview and Best Bet

Warith Alatishe #10 of Oregon State dunks over Reggie Chaney #32 of Houston. Jamie Squire/Getty Images/AFP

It is the Pac-12 opener for both Oregon State and California and if the early season is an indicator about what kind of year each will have, it won’t be much fun. Let’s break this one down.

The consensus on the Left Coast when it came to Pac-12 basketball, Oregon State was middle of the road for the upcoming season and California would find the basement and stay there.

As it turns out neither team has gotten off to a good start with the Golden Bears at 3-4 and the Beavers even worse at 1-6. At least Cal has beaten market expectations at 5-2 ATS, but not Oregon State, who is as bad as the actual record with a matching 1-6 ATS record.

Oregon State Beavers vs. California Golden Bears

Thursday, December 2, 2021 – 10:30 PM EST at Haas Pavilion

The betting odds at DraftKings have California as a 2.5-point favorite, which would have seemed very unlikely at the beginning of the season. Here is a look at each Pac-12 club.

Oregon State Needs More Scoring to Compete

It was a March to remember for Oregon State earlier this year. Not only did the Beavers win their first Pac-12 tournament, but they stayed hot and reached the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament.

Coach Wayne Tinkle understood that losing senior guards Zach Reichle and Ethan Thompson would be a blow, yet, he came into the season excited that his team might have more depth than any time in his tenure. So what has happened?

The most notable aspect is the lack of scoring. Oregon State is averaging 65.7 points a contest, connecting on 42.7 percent. Neither of those is good numbers and when they launch attempts from behind the arc, the Beavers are at a mere 28.8%, averaging only five treys a game. Unfortunately, the news is worse as these Beavers don’t seem eager to play on the road.

Tinkle’s crew is scoring 57.5 PPG away from Corvallis, at a 38.8% shot clip and down to making fewer than one on four deep shots (24.4%). Oregon State will seldom pick up away victories with those numbers.

The other part missing is team unity. Last year’s team became very connected, which led to their success. There is no such connection at this juncture.

California Looking to Compete and Earn W’s

From the start of this century until the 2016-17 season, Cal basketball teams won 20 or more games 11 times and in nine of those seasons, they went to the Big Dance. In the four years since, this has become the worst stretch in Golden Bears hoops, losing twice as many as won and winning a grand total of 15 conference clashes.

Coach Mark Fox was a big success at Nevada which made him a hot commodity and he landed in Georgia. Nothing much happened in Athens and he was let go and now in his third year in Berkley, it feels like a repeat of Georgia.

California has three noteworthy players in leading scorer and rebounder Andre Kelly, third-leading scorer Grant Anticevich and second-best point producer, transfer guard Jordan Shepard. Beyond this trio, a workman-like group without noticeable ability.

Cal’s offense is run of the mill at 64.7 PPG on 43% shooting. How they have managed to cover five of seven times? Thanks to holding opponents to 41.7% accuracy.

What is the Best Side to Be On?

When we looked at the sportsbooks line in this matchup, we thought it was off, but after reviewing various sets of power ratings, it is accurate.

Though Oregon State has the worst record in the Pac-12, three of their six setbacks are by three or fewer points, which suggests they could have won any of them.

Talent-wise, the Beavers are better and they have covered 19 of their past 25 as an underdog. This is not a ringing endorsement for the visitor, but an endorsement nonetheless.

NCAAB Pick: Oregon State +2.5 (-110) at DraftKings