Bruins & Trojans Dance 'Under' In LA LA Land

UCLA Bruins players

Willie Bee

Wednesday, January 25, 2017 1:35 PM GMT

Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017 1:35 PM GMT

One night after three of the top four teams lost, the UCLA Bruins look to make up ground in the rankings as favorites on the NCAA basketball odds at Southern Cal.

It's a tango in Tinseltown tonight when the UCLA Bruins take a short bus ride over to USC for a huge Pac-12 battle against the Trojans. One of the final games on the Hump Day slate, the rivals get it on at Galen Center a little past 11 PM (ET) with FOX Sports 1 providing the broadcast.

The spread ranges from 5½ to 6½ some 16 hours before tip-off, and you can bet those 5½ offers are likely to disappear quickly. Bookmaker started its total at 172, the mark inching up a half-point overnight.

It's the only game either team will play this week, and the first of two scheduled meetings this season has more than just the usual rivalry hype riding on the outcome. The loser falls another game behind conference frontrunners Arizona and Oregon, both of them entering the week with perfect 7-0 records in the Pac-12. Sitting in third at 6-2 entering play tonight are the Bruins while the Trojans check in 4-4.

 

Both Sides Share Losses To Arizona Last Week

After proving human for a second time this season last week in a 96-85 loss to Arizona, UCLA (19-2 straight up, 12-9 against the spread) will be trying to use its only trip to the floor this week to bounce back into the winner's circle. The Bruins have already fallen to both the Wildcats and Ducks, Steve Alford knows his team can ill-afford to drop another game in the loss column with this contest the first of three consecutive road matchups.

Southern California (17-4 SU, 9-11 ATS) also fell victim to Arizona last week, suffering a 73-66 defeat thanks in large part to a horrible first half in which the Trojans managed to put just 19 points on the board. They looked much better in an 82-79 win Saturday vs. Arizona State, but Andy Enfield's side squandered a nice lead in failing to cover a -9 spread to leave the Trojans just 2-6 ATS in league play and just 2-2 outright on their home floor this campaign.

 Trojans Swept 3 From Bruins Year Ago

Though the Bruins hold a strong 138-107 advantage in the rivalry, it's the Trojans who are looking for their 4th-straight triumph in the series after brooming UCLA in three meetings a season ago. Those victories stopped a 6-game run for the Bruins, and USC covered the NCAA basketball odds in all three wins, the last of which was a 95-71 beat-down in the opening round of the Pac-12 Tournament. In the 2016 matchup at Galen Center, the Trojans were favored by 5 and coasted to an 80-61 decision, the final staying 'under' a 161½ point total, the only low-side winner in the last eight clashes.

The favorite is 7-2 ATS over the course of the last nine meetings, but with both teams, off to 2-6 ATS starts in conference play, it's hard to have much confidence in either the Bruins or the Trojans. I'm counting on the total being just a tad too high for my free college basketball pick.

 

Free NCAAB Pick: Under 172½ Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker

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