West Coast college basketball in the Pac-12 and Mountain West: Best Bets for March 10

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Oregon center N'Faly Dante (1) tries to get position as UCLA guard Jaime Jaquez Jr. (24) defends during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 11, 2023, in Eugene, Ore. (AP Photo/Andy Nelson)

Each day, one of our experts will offer up a best bet (or two or three) that mobile sportsbooks in Louisiana are offering. It might be a traditional spread bet, a player prop or one of the various odds boosts that books offer.

Here are our best bets for Friday, March 10:

TOP PLAY

The play: College men’s basketball, Utah State -2.5 over Boise State

The odds: -102

The book: FanDuel Sportsbook

Time/TV: 12 a.m. (CBSSN)

Our take: The very last game on a busy Friday of Championship Week takes place in the Mountain West Conference tournament, where two bubble teams square off.

There are two key differences between Utah State and Boise State, however, One is that the Broncos are a bit safer than the Aggies; ESPN’s Joe Lunardi has Boise State as a “last four byes” while Utah State is “last four in” — and that difference is significant with Selection Sunday just two days away.

So that makes Utah State the more desperate team. The Aggies are also the hotter team. They’ve won six straight, including an 86-73 win over Boise State to end the regular season and a 91-76 offensive masterpiece against New Mexico in Thursday night’s quarterfinals in which USU ripped the nets 12 times on 24 tries from 3-point range.

The Broncos, on the other hand, started hot against UNLV, then blew the lead and had to play five extra minutes to dispatch the Runnin’ Rebels in overtime. BSU is one of the better defensive teams in the country, but there’s only so much you can do against elite, red-hot 3-point shooting, which is what they’re up against late Friday night.

ANOTHER WEST COAST PICK

The play: College basketball, Oregon +5.5 over UCLA

The odds: -110

The book: FanDuel Sportsbook

Time/TV: 9 p.m. (Pac-12 Network)

Our take: The story of the Pac-12 tournament is the absence of UCLA defensive stopper Jaylen Clark, who suffered an Achilles injury late in the regular season and will miss the Bruins’ postseason run. It’s a significant loss for UCLA, which may also lose its chance at a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament if they don’t perform well without him at the Pac-12s.

The Bruins stumbled past Colorado in their quarterfinal game Thursday, but this will be a different test. Oregon is a desperate team, needing this win and perhaps even to win the entire conference tournament to get into the NCAA conversation. The Ducks are also a good offensive team, and UCLA could use Clark here.

In the teams’ first two meetings, UCLA won by 9 (in Westwood) and by 7 (in Eugene). Clark drew four fouls in each game and had four steals in the road game. His absence — and the Ducks’ desperation — are enough to where I feel this number is too big in this spot.

HOW WE’VE FARED

Thursday’s best bets

College basketball, LSU +4½ over Vanderbilt (LOST)

NBA: Hornets-Pistons UNDER 225 (WON)

Thursday’s record: 1-1

Total for the week: 4-2, 2 PGA bets pending

Total for March: 11-5, 2 pending

Total for 2023: 43-45, 2 pending

NOTE: If a line or odds are minus, it considers the juice one must lay to place the bet. Ex: Team A is -160 on the money line, one would have to bet $160 to win $100 (or $16 to win $10). OR Team B is a 5-point favorite at -110, one would have to bet $110 to win $100 (or $11 to win $10.)

Conversely, on positive lines, if Team C is +140 on the money line, $100 would bring in $140 (or $10 to win $14).

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