UC Riverside vs. Arizona State NCAA Basketball Preview and Best Bet

Dominick Pickett #22 of UC Riverside rebounds against Keshad Johnson #0 Nathan Mensah #31 and Trey Pulliam #4 of San Diego State. Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images/AFP

With the first game jitters and kinks worked out, UC-Riverside travels to Tempe, AZ for a matchup with Arizona State. Read along to see what to expect and get a free pick.

UC-Riverside Highlanders vs. Arizona State Sun Devils

Thursday, November 11, 2021 – 08:30 PM EST at Desert Financial Arena

Unsurprisingly, UC-Riverside lost their first contest at defensive-minded San Diego State 66-53 as 12.5-point underdogs. The Highlanders shot only 39.6 percent and were just 6 for 22 from behind the arc.

Arizona State got after Portland in their home opener, defeating them 76-60, but failed to beat the betting odds of -22. Though the Sun Devils held the Pilots to just 40.7 percent and caused them to cough up the orange 21 times, coach Bobby Hurley’s club was equally as sloppy with the ball with 19 turnovers of their own.

Top sportsbooks like Caesars have Arizona State as 10.5-point favorites at home. Because most are unfamiliar with these teams this early in the season, we will try and help you get up to speed.

UC-Riverside Scouting Report

Riverside was a surprise third-place finisher in the Big West last season and most experts of this conference see a similar place in the standings for this team.

Coach Mike Magpayo gladly welcomed back four starters, three of which are guards, giving him a strong backcourt. This contingent is Dominick Pickett, Flynn Cameron and Zyon Pullon. All three struggled against San Diego State’s always sticky defense, collectively shooting 6-for-18. Expect them to be better tonight.

In the pivot is 7’1″ junior Callum McRae, who returns from a back injury. The other starting player is 6′ 7″ transfer J.P. Moorman II, who was a two-year captain at Temple.

Magpayo is still working on finding the right reserves and will be seeking more than the 11 points he got the other night.

Arizona State Scouting Report

Bobby Hurley was supposed to turn Arizona State into a Pac-12 power and while he is presently in no danger of being fired, coming off an 11-14 campaign, hopes are not as high as the nearby cactus at ASU.

As a player, Hurley was known for toughness and that was the last thing last year’s club was. The roster turnover has nine new players, included bringing in freshman Enoch Boakye at 6-foot-10, 240 pounds and junior Alonzo Gaffney (6-9, 220) with a 7-foot-3 wingspan. Though the size will help, Hurley wants physical and mental toughness.

That’s why he is leaning on two holdovers, Kimani Lawrence and Luther Muhammad and former MAC Play of the Year Marreon Jackson. This trio in Hurley’s mind understands what it takes and they are embracing the roles he wants them to play as leaders. Coincidentally, all three were starting Tuesday. After the other night, this team also has to value the ball more.

We would be remiss in not explaining the Sun Devils are also thin overall with Boston College transfer Jay Heath (14.5 PPG), forward Jalen Graham and freshman Justin Rohelin are all out due to Covid protocols.

What is the Best Side to Bet On?

For today’s college basketball picks we cannot help but think that Riverside is coming off a very good season, has most of their starters returning and they were one basket away from covering at San Diego State.

Arizona State, on the other hand, has redone its roster and is trying to see who fits where and we are assuming that Heath will be a starting guard as soon as he is healthy, which puts the general process on hold.

In reviewing this capper’s power ratings, my numbers come out anywhere from seven to nine, which is good enough to back the underdog, UC-Riverside.

NCAAB Picks: UC-Riverside +10.5 (-110) at Caesars Sportsbook