Pac-12 Late Night Picks: Take Dominant Colorado +8.5 vs. USC

Swinging Johnson

Wednesday, February 17, 2016 4:22 PM GMT

Colorado is coming off two consecutive wins and now travels to USC in a PAC-12 showdown.  Let’s review the NCAA basketball odds and decide which team to include in our picks.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Colorado +8½ 
Best Line Offered: at BetOnline

 

Colorado Buffaloes (19-7 SU, 13-10 ATS)
Despite winning their last two the Buffaloes have been living on the edge with a double overtime win over Washington State and then squandering a 14-point lead to Washington, only to escape with a narrow 81-80 victory. Those who have included Colorado in their NCAA basketball picks have been none too happy as they are 0-4 ATS over as many contests. Now they must take to the highway where they will battle USC tonight and UCLA on Saturday before returning home to take on PAC-12 powerhouse Arizona.

In their last game on Saturday afternoon the NCAA basketball odds makers installed the Buffaloes as three-point home favorites over the Washington Huskies and their fatigue down the stretch was evident. The team was coming off a double overtime thriller that saw Colorado notch an 88-81 victory over Washington State just two days prior which contributed mightily to the team’s funk after watching a 14-point lead slip away with only 6:19 remaining. Junior forward Wesley Gordon bucketed a career high 17 points and 13 boards as he recorded his third straight double-double and the Buffaloes held on for a one point victory.

 

USC Trojans (18-7 SU, 16-9 ATS)
After winning three straight at home the Trojans packed up and traveled to the desert where they dropped a 74-67 decision to Arizona State as one-point road dogs and then two days later were defeated 86-78 by 17th ranked Arizona. However, the team was getting a 10-point head start by the oddsmakers and covered the number for their backers against the Wildcats for their third cover in four outings. USC will come home to take on the Buffaloes tonight and then Utah on Sunday before a two game road swing against Stanford and California.

USC is doing an admirable job offensively and crashing the boards. The team is ranked 17th in the nation in scoring averaging 83.1 points per game while their rebounding has been even better with 41.5 boards per contest which ranks them 12th among D-1 schools. You would think with all those points there would be one lone standout but the fact is the Trojans have been getting offensive contributions from a balanced attack that has six of their members in double digit scoring with sophomore guard Jordan McLaughlin leading with a 12.7 PPG average and teammate Nikola Jovanovic narrowly trailing with his 12.6 per game average.

 

Betting Analysis
Colorado has dominated this series winning five straight over the last three seasons and going 4-1 against the number. In their most recent meeting the Buffaloes defeated the Trojans 98-94 at Southern California but that was over a year ago and the teams have not met this season. The Buffaloes’ 6’10” inch forward Josh Scott has been out for the last two games and his status is up in the air as is his team leading 16.7 points per game. Yet the road team has covered the number in five of the last seven meetings between these two teams and this game looks far closer than the oddsmakers suggest.

As of this writing the Trojans are 8½ point home chalk at most offshore shops. I find that discrepancy a bit tough to stomach if I am to side with the home team here. I understand Josh Scott’s absence could turn the tide against a Colorado cover but there is still hope he could make an appearance. If that balky ankle holds up and he is announced as a participant expect to see those odds fall on USC. We won’t wait for that to happen and are comfortable with getting close to double digits even if Scott remains sidelined. Take Colorado as the late NCAA Basketball pick.