PAC-12 Picks: USC vs. Oregon

by | Jan 23, 2020 | cbb

USC Trojans (15-3 SU, 10-8 ATS) vs. Oregon Ducks (15-4 SU, 12-7 ATS)
When: Thursday, January 23, 11 p.m.
Where: Matthew Knight Arena, Eugene, Ore.
TV: ESPNU

Point Spread: USC +9/ORE -9 (BetNow - Deposit $200 and get $100 FREE! Real Cash Bonus!)
Total: O/U 139

Last Time Out:

USC beat Stanford 82-78 in overtime; Oregon defeated Washington 64-61 in overtime.

Scouting the Trojans:

Now it’s time for USC to prove that it’s for real, and there’s no better place to do that in the Pac-12 than Eugene. Not only have the Ducks dominated at home this season, but they’ve dominated USC at home for quite a while. The Trojans are 1-7 all-time at Matthew Knight Arena and lost 14 straight to Oregon between 2009 and 2017. In recent years, the Trojans have turned the series on its head, winning four of the last five against the Ducks, but only one of those came in Eugene.

To show that it’s for real, SC has to get the kind of performance from Onyeka Okongwu that it got in the win over Stanford. Okongwu only scored 26 points in the three games leading up to the overtime win over the Cardinal, but he was outstanding when it mattered most, hitting 72 percent of his shots on his way to 22 points. Okongwu is easily the most important player in cardinal and gold, and he has to play like it Thursday.

Scouting the Ducks:

Oregon losing one of the two games on the Washington trip was a surprise. The fact that the Ducks nearly lost both is a major alarm bell, and it exists because Oregon is relying far too much on Payton Pritchard. Against Washington, Pritchard didn’t come out for one minute of the 45-minute contest, and while he was critical to the Ducks’ comeback victory, the fact remains that Oregon is not going to keep winning games if Pritchard doesn’t get some help he can rely on upon soon. Chandler Lawson did step up well against Washington, but prior to that, he’d been a total non-factor, so it remains to be seen if that’s a legitimate sign of things to come or a one-game fluke.

X-Factor:

Fatigue. Which team is going to be fresher for the final 10 minutes? Both of these teams used up their energy, overcoming a large deficit in the second half of their most recent outings. Both of these teams are going to have to make sure that they have enough in the tank for the battle of the final 10 minutes of the game. Neither squad is particularly deep, so fatigue could play a real factor here — especially if Okongwu or Pritchard find themselves in foul trouble at any point.

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USC will Cover if:

The Trojans can dominate on the glass. USC has been the Pac-12’s best team on the glass all season, and the Trojans pull down about 40 rebounds a game. That leads to a lot of easy putbacks on the offensive end and one-trip possessions on the defensive end, and it’s how the Trojans have gotten themselves to a 15-3 start. If SC is going to get a win here, it’s got to win the battle on the glass by a sizable margin.

Oregon will Cover if:

The Ducks can play top-notch defense. Oregon isn’t getting the job done on offense, but the Ducks have held five of their past seven opponents under 70 points in regulation. Truthfully, for the Ducks, 70 is the magic number on defense, as Oregon is 12-1 when it concedes fewer than 70 points in regulation (and the one was Gonzaga, which edged the Ducks by a point in overtime) and just 3-3 when the opponent gets above that total before the second half comes to a close.

Dan’s Pick to Cover the Spread:

The Trojans have been a reliable road team outside of their trip to Seattle, and they’ve had Oregon’s number over the past two seasons. I think SC is actually punching above its weight with its current record, but Oregon is struggling to get anything out of anyone but Pritchard at the moment, and I think this line is a little too high. The reality is that the Ducks haven’t been blowing anyone out in Pac-12 play. Their biggest win in the league so far is a nine-point win over Arizona State, and they’ve pulled out two overtime wins and a five-pointer over Utah.

To me, that doesn’t say double-digit victory in this game. I think Oregon is the better team and will win the game, but this feels more like a two-possession game given how each team is playing at the moment. I’ll take the points with USC, and given how Oregon has been getting its wins and how the Ducks have struggled to get their offense in gear as of late, I think the under looks like a solid play as well. Where are you betting your college basketball picks? Does your bookie give you the ability to bet at discounted odds? No! Does he offer 20 point teasers? No! Pleasers and progressive parlays where some of your predictions can lose and you still get paid? Nope! Find all of these awesome things as well as fast payouts at 5Dimes Sportsbook!

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