On Wednesday, the USC Trojans host the Utah Utes in an exciting early-season showdown out of the Pac-12. Utah has only lost one game on the season and the team will be hoping to hand Andy Enfield’s squad its first loss of the year.
Will the Utes put a scare into the Trojans? Find out in our free college basketball betting picks and predictions for Utah vs. USC on Wednesday.
Utah vs USC odds
Odds via the Covers Line, an average comprised of odds from multiple sportsbooks.
There hasn’t been much movement on the opening line in this one, as the Utes have been 7.5-point underdogs since the game hit betting markets. The total, however, has gone from 138 down to 136.5 in some places.
Utah vs USC predictions
Predictions made on 12/01/2021 at 1:00 a.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.
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Utah vs USC game info
• Location: Galen Center, Los Angeles, CA
• Date: Wednesday, December 1, 2021
• Tip-off: 11:30 p.m. ET
• TV: Pac-12 Network
Utah at USC betting preview
Utah: Marco Anthony G (Questionable), Gabe Madsen G (Questionable), Bostyn Holt F (Out).
USC: Isaiah White G (Questionable).
Find our latest NCAA basketball injury reports.
Betting trend to know
USC is 6-1 against the spread in its last seven home games against teams with winning road records. Find more NCAA betting trends for Utah vs. USC.
Utah vs USC picks and predictions
Our predictions are compiled from the analysis of the spread and total and are indications of where we are leaning for this game.
Our best bet is the play that we like the most for this game, which we would actually put some of our bankroll behind.
Both Utah and USC are coming off games that taught us a lot, with the Utes losing by 11 as 1.5-point underdogs against the BYU Cougars, and the Trojans earning a 15-point win as a 1.5-point underdog against the San Diego State Aztecs. Utah’s performance against BYU was very disappointing, with the team allowing the Cougars to shoot 45.5% from the floor. Meanwhile, it’s hard to overstate just how impressive USC was in beating a very good San Diego State team. The Trojans held the Aztecs to just 31.1% shooting from the floor, and USC hasn’t allowed an opponent to shoot 40% or better this season.
That stifling Trojans defense is a huge reason why Enfield’s team is a good play tonight. USC is ranked sixth in the nation in adjusted defensive efficiency (all efficiency stats from KenPom.com) and the team now faces a Utah team that is just 85th in college basketball in adjusted offensive efficiency. The Utes get a majority of their offense from center Branden Carlson, who is averaging 15.7 points per game this season. He will, however, need some help from his teammates on the perimeter, and this Trojans team is very disciplined defensively. USC isn’t going to give up many open looks and Utah doesn’t have many players who can regularly create off the bounce.
Also, while Carlson is a very good big man for this Utes group, he doesn’t quite have the ability to stick with Isaiah Mobley, who had 18 points, 12 boards, and two blocks against San Diego State. Mobley is now the top dog on this team with his brother, Evan Mobley, playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers. He’s going to be a huge factor in this game, and so is Boogie Ellis. The Memphis transfer is averaging 14.5 points per game this year and is getting the chance to be a real presence after playing only 23.4 minutes per game for the Tigers last year.
Prediction: USC -7.5 (-110)
The Under has hit in three of USC’s last four games and it’s also 4-2 in the Trojans’ six games this season. Meanwhile, the Under is 2-0-1 in Utah’s last three games and those have been the only ones in which the Utes have played against legitimate competition. Overall, these aren’t teams that play very innovative basketball. They both value the ball and try to lock in on the defensive end.
As mentioned earlier, USC hasn’t allowed a single opponent to shoot 40% from the floor, and it’s going to be hard for Utah to solve this problem. Sure, the Utes might finally break that streak, but it isn’t likely that they’ll do it by much. Regardless, since the start of 2019, the Under is 10-5-1 in USC games when the team is coming off a game in which it held an opponent to 33% shooting or worse. The Under is also 8-2 when USC is coming off back-to-back games in which it gave up 30 or fewer points in the first half in that span.
Prediction: Under 137.5 (-110)
With the way USC is defending right now, it’s hard to imagine the Over hitting in a game with two teams that don’t play at a fast pace. Sure, the Trojans are more likely to have a much better night on offense than they did against a sixth-ranked San Diego State defense, but it would take two for the Over to cash in a game with a total this high.
Tonight’s number isn’t anything too crazy, but USC is capable of holding Utah to fewer than 65 points in this one. That would mean the Trojans would have to score 75 or so in order for this not to go Under. We haven’t yet seen USC turn in that type of effort against a good team this year, and the 76 the Trojans scored against the Temple Owls isn’t all that inspiring.
Pick: Under 137.5 (-110)
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