NCAA Basketball Conference Play Matchup with High Stakes: Double Digit Betting Odds Favorite Worthy of Attention

Darin Zank

Sunday, February 1, 2015 1:58 PM UTC

Sunday, Feb. 1, 2015 1:58 PM UTC

We look to the Pac-12 for our NCAA basketball pick of the Day for Sunday, where Utah is finishing a two-game road trip to the LA area with a bout with USC Sunday afternoon. 

Utah at USC Betting Odds
Most of the NCAA basketball betting odds market opened this game with Utah favored by 12 points, and that line was holding steady in the early betting. Those who think USC might pull the upset in this spot could get +600 on the moneyline at BetOnline.


Utah at USC: The Situation
With most of the roster back from a team that went 21-12 last season, 9-9 in Pac-12 play, we gave Utah a good chance for both a top-three finish in the Pac-12 this season and a return to the NCAA tournament. And so far the Utes are living up to expectations.

Utah started 10-2 through non-conference play this season, with wins over Wichita State and BYU, the losses coming against San Diego State and Kansas. The Utes then opened Pac-12 play with a 79-55 victory over this USC team in Salt Lake City, and followed that up with wins over UCLA, Colorado and Arizona State. Utah then lost at Arizona, but bounced back to beat Washington State and Washington. Last time out, though, Friday night, the Utes lost at UCLA 69-59, going down as six-point favorites on the road.

Utah trailed the Bruins by three points at the half Friday, then opened the second half by going scoreless through the first seven minutes, falling down by 15, and never recovered.

So at 6-2 in conference play Utah needs a victory Sunday to stay within a game of first-place Arizona in the Pac-12 standings.

With just two starters back from a team that went 11-21 last season, and just 2-16 in the Pac-12, USC looked headed for another lower-division conference finish. And at the moment the Trojans occupy last place in the conference standings.

Southern Cal started 8-4 through non-con play, beating nobody of note, losing to powerhouses Portland State, Akron, Penn State and Army. The Trojans then lost their first two Pac-12 games, to Utah and Colorado, then beat Cal. But since then USC has lost five in a row, after falling Friday night in triple-overtime to Colorado 98-94.

The Trojans only shot 43 percent from the field, but made nine of 22 three-point attempts. However, they also just missed on the cover as three-point home dogs.

So USC is 1-7 in Pac-12 play.


Utes-Trojans Recent History
Utah has won the last four meetings with USC, including that 79-55 victory one month ago. The Utes used an early 15-2 run to take a 17-point lead into halftime, and never allowed the Trojans to get closer than 15 points after that. Utah shot 57 percent from the floor, and held USC to 39 percent shooting.


Utes-Trojans Key Stats
Utah is shooting a shade under 50 percent from the field this season, which ranks sixth in the nation, 41 percent from 3-point range and 68 percent from the free-throw line. The Utes are also holding opponents to just 38 percent shooting.

USC is shooting just 42 percent from the floor, 31 percent from long range and 65 percent from the line. The Trojans are also holding opponents to 42 percent shooting.


Utes-Trojans Betting Trends
Utah is 10-8 on the OVER/UNDERS this season, as Utes games have averaged 131 points.

USC is 10-7 on the totals, as Trojans games have averaged 139 points.

The last six meetings in this series have played OVER.

Utah is 3-0 both SU and ATS this season following a SU loss.


Utes-Trojans Free Pick
Utah laid an egg Friday night, but we expect a bounce-back performance today. USC, meanwhile, just doesn't inspire much betting confidence. So we'll go with the visiting Utes as our NCAA basketball pick and give them the points.

Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Utah -11.5 at Pinnacle Sports

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