The USC Trojans and UCLA Bruins have a lot riding on their respective finales on Saturday afternoon - specifically, a shot at the Pac-12 regular-season championship.
The Trojans and Bruins are both in the mix for the conference title as they close the book on their seasons. USC comes in with momentum following a one-sided win over Stanford, and is a slight favorite for this pivotal encounter against a UCLA team that has lost back-to-back games at the worst possible time.
These are our favorite NCAAB free picks and predictions for USC vs UCLA on March 6.
USC Trojans at UCLA Bruins betting preview
UCLA: F/C Jalen Hill (Out).
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Betting trend to know
USC is 8-3 ATS in its last 11 games. Find more NCAA betting trends for USC vs. UCLA.
NCAAB sharp money and line movement reportBy Patrick Everson
Southern Cal initially dipped from -1.5 to -1 Friday night, but quickly rebounded to -2 and this morning moved onto -2.5, where the line sits at 1:15 p.m. ET. "Heavy action on USC spread, taking 87 percent of bets and 89 percent of handle," PointsBet's Wyatt Yearout said. The total is up a tick from 135 to 135.5, with 73 percent of bets/63 percent of cash on the Over.Check out the full line movement for this game
Against the spread (ATS) pick
Sometimes, the simple play is the best play. And that would appear to be the case here, with these teams trending in completely opposite directions heading into Saturday's big game. The Trojans have been a cover machine of late, and looked completely dominant last time out as they routed the Cardinal 79-42. They sit in a first-place tie with Oregon atop the Pac-12 standings.
UCLA, meanwhile, has just two successful covers in its previous 10 games and yielded the conference lead with an 82-74 loss to the Ducks last time out. Whichever team wins will find itself atop the standings, with the Ducks (who share the lead with USC and are a half-game up on UCLA) wrapping up their regular season Sunday against rival Oregon State.
The Trojans cruised to an 18-point win the last time these teams met and have given bettors no reason to think that they'll falter in the rematch, even at hostile Pauley Pavilion. We like the road team to complete the season sweep, and the Saturday cover.
PREDICTION: USC -2.5 (-110)
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The total is installed at 135.5 for the rematch of their Feb. 6 encounter, in which USC prevailed 66-48 to finish well below the number. And that has become a theme for these teams in recent meetings: They've averaged a paltry 110 points in their last two encounters, despite both contests featuring totals in the low-to-mid 130s.
Could we see a 20-point jump Saturday afternoon? It's certainly possible – but USC's elite rebounding should prevent UCLA from getting many second chances, while the Bruins have held four of their previous six visiting opponents to 62 or fewer points.
We don't see these teams getting to the total here, even if they shoot better than they did in their previous encounter.
PREDICTION: Under 135.5 (-110)
USC vs UCLA betting card
- USC -2.5 (-110)
- Under 135.5 (-110)
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