Colorado vs. USC Odds & Picks: Bet the Trojans Behind Freshman Evan Mobley
Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Evan Mobley.
- The Colorado Buffaloes travels to Los Angeles on Thursday night to take on the USC Trojans in a Pac-12 showdown.
- The Trojans have some impressive talent on their team, and they'll need production to defend their home court.
- Check out BJ Cunningham's full betting breakdown complete with a pick below.
Colorado vs. USC Odds
|Colorado Odds||+1 [BET NOW]|
|USC Odds||-1 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||-106 / -115 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||139.5 [BET NOW]|
|Time||Thursday, 10 p.m. ET|
Colorado looks to rebound from its loss at Arizona on Monday when it heads to Los Angeles to take on USC to end 2020.
The Buffaloes have basically taken care of business against lesser competition and gotten blown out whenever they face a top-50 opponent. They had most of their core return for the 2020 season but are projected to finish near the bottom of the Pac-12.
Before their win over Santa Clara on Tuesday, it had been over 20 days since the Trojans had played a game.
USC had to go on pause due to COVID-19 issues within the program but is now healthy enough to play. The Trojans have plenty of talent to compete at the top of the Pac-12, but the question is whether or not they put all the pieces together.
When Colorado has the ball
Balance has been the key for Buffaloes this season, as they are shooting a high percentage from all areas of the floor. However, where they excel the most from 3-point range and at the free-throw line. In fact, Colorado is shooting over 85% from the charity stripe, which is the second-best mark in the country.
Losing their best player, Tyler Bey, was always going to make things difficult, but head coach Tad Boyle kept the core of McKinley Wright, D’Shawn Schwartz and Evan Battey together, which should keep Colorado competitive this season.
The Trojans made a big switch last year on defense, changing from zone to man-to-man, which paid off big time. USC went up 100 spots in the KenPom defensive efficiency rankings, and so far this season has been one of the best defenses in the Pac-12.
USC is the tallest team in the country, and that type of length has allowed it to excel at defending the opposing team’s shot. The Trojans are allowing an effective field percentage of only 41.3%, which ranks sixth in the nation. Outside of 7-footer Dallas Walton, Colorado’s next tallest player is 6-foot-8, so it’s going to be undersized against USC.
Key for Colorado on offense
The Buffaloes are going to need to shoot a high percentage from beyond the arc because there are not going to be many opportunities at the rim since USC allows under 40% from 2-point range.
Key for USC on defense
Keep Colorado off the offensive glass. Despite being the tallest team in the country, USC is below average at defensive rebounding. If the Trojans are able to keep Colorado off the glass and defend the 3-ball well, they should be able to win this game.
When USC has the ball
If the Trojans are going to compete near the top of the Pac-12, it will be because of Evan Mobley. The 7-foot freshman was a consensus top-three recruit and might be the most talented player in the conference.
He’s already averaging almost 20 points through his first few games and will be a matchup nightmare for Colorado on Tuesday.
With Mobley in the lineup, the Trojans are one of the best offensive rebounding teams in the country, hitting at a 38.6% rate, which is in the top 10 nationally. Like its opponents, USC is also shooting a high percentage from all over the floor right now.
Colorado’s defense has been above average all season, but it really struggled against Arizona on Monday, allowing the Wildcats to score 1.31 points per possession. The Buffaloes allowed the Wildcats to shoot over 47% from beyond the arc and will need to improve if they are going to contain USC, which shoots a similar percentage to Arizona.
Key for USC on offense
Get the ball inside and crash the offensive glass. If you’re the Trojans, the way you win this game is by playing to your strengths. Colorado is average across the board on defense, so Mobley should be able to dominate the Buffaloes down low.
Key for Colorado on defense
Force USC to shoot from deep. Colorado is going to have to double Mobley down low, so forcing the rest of the Trojans’ team to beat you is probably the only way it’s going to slow USC down.
Betting Analysis & Pick
USC has by far the best player on the floor on Thursday. As long as the Trojans utilize Mobley correctly offensively, they should be able to dominate the Buffalos with their size.
If Colorado is going to win this game, it’s going to have to shoot a high percentage from 3-point range and take care of the ball.
I have the Trojans projected as -2.89 favorites at home, so I think there’s some value on USC at -1.
Pick: USC -1 (up to -1.5).