College Basketball Odds, Picks, Predictions for USC vs. Washington State: Bet on Cougars in Pac-12 Duel

College Basketball Odds, Picks, Predictions for USC vs. Washington State: Bet on Cougars in Pac-12 Duel article feature image

Jeff Halstead/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Washington State coach Kyle Smith and guard Noah Williams.

  • USC travels to Pullman for a Pac-12 battle with Washington State on Saturday evening.
  • The Cougars held Arizona State to 29 points last time out.
  • Charlie Disturco explains why there's value on the Cougars.

USC vs. Washington State Odds

Saturday, Dec. 4
6 p.m. ET
Pac-12 Network
USC Odds
-110o / -110u
Washington State Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via PointsBet. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

No. 20 USC travels to Pullman to take on Washington State in the second game of Pac-12 conference play on Saturday night.  Both teams most recently took down their opponents in blowout fashion.

The Trojans have found themselves ranked inside the Top 25 in large part to their undefeated start. Outside of a five-point win over Temple, USC has won every other game by 15 or more points. They took down Utah on Wednesday, 93-73, at home.

Their opponent, Washington State, has also started off hot. Despite a loss to Eastern Washington, the Cougars are 6-1 and thrashed Arizona State on the road by 22 points.

Wazzu has the talent to compete with anyone, but will have its hands full in the first true test against a team ranked inside the KenPom top 100.

Can the Trojans remain undefeated, or will the Cougars' length and depth prove to be too much on their home floor?

Trojans Have Deep, Talented Roster

After years of struggling under Andy Enfield, USC put it all together last season and became a national powerhouse. Despite the departure of top-5 pick and defensive stalwart Evan Mobley, the Trojans haven't missed a beat this season.

USC has won all seven of its games, including a 15-point dispatching of San Diego State and a 20-point win to open Pac-12 Conference play against Utah.

The Trojans' defense has been elite, ranking sixth in eFG% and seventh in 2-point defense, per KenPom. Opponents average just 60.4 points per game.

That starts with Memphis transfer Boogie Ellis, who has transitioned beautifully for USC. The now-quarterback of the offense is a great on-ball defender.

Ellis has provided the spark on the offensive end that was left behind by Mobley and Tahj Eaddy. The 6-foot-3 point guard averages 15.1 points and 3.4 assists per game on 44.8 shooting from 3.

Isaiah Mobley has stepped up since his brother's departure, too. The versatile 6-foot-10 forward is the true X-factor in this rotation — both offensively and defensively.

While he's not his brother, Mobley can stretch the floor and has the potential to notch a double-double every night. His size also causes problems for the opposition inside the paint.

Alongside Mobley and Ellis are returning seniors Drew Peterson, Isaiah White and Chevez Goodwin. White has been dealing with a back injury and will likely have limited minutes on Saturday. Max Agbonkpolo has started in his absence.

The Trojans rarely turn the ball over — they rank seventh in the country in turnover percentage — and 20th in adjusted offensive efficiency. They won't beat you via the 3 ball, rather their best chance comes through using their size inside. At an average of 79.1 inches, they are the fourth-tallest team in the country.

The lone area USC lacks in is free-throw percentage, where they shoot 57.4 percent as a team, 353rd out of 358 Division-I teams. While it's a seven-game sample size, it's enough for a slight cause for concern when games come down to the wire.

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Washington State's Length Causes Fits

Outside of a blip home loss to Eastern Washington, Washington State has quietly put together a strong start to the season.

Even with the loss of leading scorer Isaac Bonton, head coach Kyle Smith hasn't missed a beat. He dipped his hands into the transfer portal and brought in two talented playmakers with high upside on offense in Michael Flowers (South Alabama) and Tyrell Roberts (UC-San Diego).

The Cougars are 6-1 and won their opening Pac-12 matchup in dominant fashion, holding Arizona State to 29 points. Yes, 29 total.

Noah Williams returns for his junior season and will be looked to as the go-to scorer. While on the floor, Williams takes over a quarter of the Cougars' shots.

Where Washington State has thrived offensively isn't from the perimeter, however. It's come from attacking the basket and second-chance opportunities.

Using their size and athleticism, Wazzu gets to the line often. Nearly 25 percent of the team's total points comes from the charity stripe, ninth nationally, per KenPom.

They also rank 11th in offensive rebounding percentage (37.7%).  Much of that stems from Smith's rotation of his big men Mouhamed Gueye, Dishon Jackson and Efe Abogidi.

All three stand at 6-foot-10 or taller and Gueye's versatility allows him to slide to the power forward position and give Smith the ability to pair him with Jackson or Abogidi.

And as you can imagine, the length causes disruption on the defensive end, too. The Cougars rank 10th in 2-point defense, 19th in eFG% and 15th in block percentage.

To put it lightly, the paint is a dangerous place to attack.

This is a deep Washington State team that at any time can go 10 deep. Eight different players see 16 or more minutes per game and just three average over 21.

If everything clicks for Smith — which has been the case thus far — this is not a team to take lightly.  On any given night, Wazzu can put the Pac-12's best on upset alert.

USC vs. Washington State Betting Pick

This has all the making of a Washington State upset. A Top-25 team traveling into a hostile environment for a conference matchup? The Cougars are underrated and slowly, they'll gain public attention. But for now, Wazzu remains undervalued in spots like these.

While USC is a tall team, the Trojans aren't normally a squad that gets it done from the perimeter. They like to use the paint and attack. But that'll be hard to come by against the length and defense of the Cougars' frontcourt.

Also of note: Entering Friday's slate of games, when teams that rank inside the Top 25 travel to an unranked team, they are just 1-14 against the spread this season.

Washington State has the depth to compete with USC. The Cougars' trio of guards should give the Trojans plenty of fits on the offensive end, and their bigs will clean up misses and open up plenty of second-chance opportunities.

This is where Evan Mobley would be a great counter in the paint. But USC has to rely on his brother, Isaiah, and I don't think that'll be enough. Tack on the fact USC has rarely been in any competitive games down the stretch and struggles at the free-throw line, and I think this matchup favors Wazzu.

Take the home dogs in Pullman on Saturday night.

Pick: Washington State +1 (Down to -1)

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Nick Sterling
Jul 21, 2024 UTC