NCAA Basketball Picks: Outstanding Offense Will Help USC Cover ATS vs. UCLA

Jake Walker

Wednesday, January 13, 2016 12:37 AM UTC

Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016 12:37 AM UTC

The USC Trojans (14-3) travel to Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles to battle the UCLA Bruins (11-6) in a huge Pac-12 clash. UCLA is favored by 3.5 points on the NCAA Basketball odds board.

NCAA Basketball Pick: USC +1.5 
Best Line Offered: at Heritage


USC Trojans
USC got back on track after a tough 87-85 road loss at Washington by winning two straight games, 75-65 against Arizona State and 103-101 in four overtimes against No. 7 Arizona.

The Trojans blew a 12-point lead against the Wildcats with 5:30 minutes to go in regulation but they kept playing every possession and their defense was great down the stretch, taking Arizona to four overtimes. Elijah Stewart scored a career-high 27 points and Julian Jacobs added 18.

USC's outstanding offense averages 84.3 points per game on 46.7 percent shooting overall, including 40.9 percent from three-point range (12th in the nation). The Trojans have six players who score in double figures, led by Jordan McLaughlin with 13.1 points per game, Julian Jacobs adds 12.9 points, 5.7 assists and 1.8 steals and Nikola Jovanovic averages 12.5 points and 7.7 rebounds. Defensively, USC allows 71.6 points per game and their opponents shoot just 38.8 percent from the floor (26th in the nation).    


UCLA Bruins
The UCLA Bruins have won two games in a row to improve to 11-6 on the season and 2-2 in conference play. UCLA beat Arizona State 81-74 on Saturday. Isaac Hamilton led the Bruins with 26 points and Aaron Holiday hit the tiebreaking 3-pointer with just over a minute left to play.

UCLA averages 80.4 points per game on 46.2 percent shooting overall and 37.5 percent from beyond the arc. The Bruins have five players who score in double figures. Bryce Alford leads the team with 17.4 points and 5.1 assists, Isaac Hamilton averages 16.5 points per game and Tony Parker adds 13.0 points and 9.9 rebounds. The UCLA defense allows 76.8 points per game on 41.8 percent shooting.  


Betting Trends 
USC is 12-5 ATS, 5-2 ATS when the total is 150 to 159.5, 3-1 ATS against conference opponents, 6-2 ATS after scoring 80 points or more and 8-4 ATS when playing against a team with a winning record.

UCLA is 6-11 ATS, 3-9 ATS as a favorite, 3-5 ATS after scoring 80 points or more and 4-7 ATS when playing against a team with a winning record.


Final Analysis
UCLA is favored by 1.5-points on the NCAA Basketball odds board; however, the betting trends indicate that USC has been a profitable team ATS. The Bruins have won their last three home games and they're starting to gel more as a team on the offensive side of the court, but I like the Trojans to at least make this game go down to the wire and cover.

USC is playing well against Pac-12 opponents, their offense is balanced and they have too many weapons for UCLA to contain. Take USC +1.5 with your NCAA Basketball picks in what should be a close, high-scoring game.

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