USC vs Utah Odds, Picks: Utes Own Stylistic Advantages
Chris Gardner/Getty Images. Pictured: Bostyn Holt
USC vs Utah Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
The Pac-12 regular season is coming to a close with UCLA currently in the drivers seat sitting at a full two games ahead of Arizona.
However decided the top of the standings may seem, there is still much to be decided regarding which teams will round out the top-four seeds and thus earn a bye in the Pac-12 tournament.
Two of these teams squarely in the mix are USC and Utah, who meet on Saturday night in Salt Lake City.
For the Trojans, this will be an important game to keep pace as they currently sit in third place, just one game back of second place Arizona.
On the other side, this is a crucial matchup for Utah as it sits in a tie for fourth place with Arizona State. The Utes must also work to stave off an Oregon team which is only one game back of breaking into the top four.
To pick which team will take this opportunity to enhance its postseason outlook, let’s take a look at the odds and make a prediction for USC vs. Utah.
Andy Enfield’s Trojans have been rolling, winning their last three contests all by double-digit margins. USC has been particularly impressive offensively, averaging 88.7 points per game during this winning streak.
This offensive efficiency will be important as the Trojans go up against a Utah team ranking eighth nationally in effective field goal percentage on the defensive end.
Where the Utes are particularly effective is in their ability to prevent high-percentage looks on the interior. Utah is allowing its opponents to shoot just 37.13% from the mid-range, an area USC has relied on heavily.
USC’s offense has relied on its mid-range shooting percentage of 42.7% (47th nationally), to account for 55.5% of its total points.
Additionally, USC has been masterful at using its size around the rim, converting 65.67% of its layups, dunks, and tip-ins. On the other side, Utah has used its own size (seventh nationally in average height), to allow its opponents to convert just 51.23% in the same category.
Although USC has been cooking offensively, it will have to alter its style against a Utes defense looking to make the Trojans beat them from beyond the arc.
After losing three games in a row, Craig Smith and the Utes are now in bounce-back mode as they attempt to keep a grasp on their position in the Pac-12 standings.
This top-four seed will be crucial as the Utes will likely have to make a major run in the Pac-12 Tournament if they have any hopes of making the field of 68.
In order to make this a reality, Utah will need to see some progression on the offensive end of the floor. The Utes rank 91st nationally in adjusted offensive efficiency, scoring just under 70 points per game.
Luckily, the Utes will get some much need progression from their first matchup with USC, which saw Utah post just 56 total points.
In order to progress, Utah will first look to the offensive glass to supplement its offense. The Utes are creating second chances on 31.7% of their shot attempts, which will continue against a USC defense allowing offensive rebounds at a 32.5% clip (326th nationally).
Additionally, Utah’s methodical half-court style will have success against a USC defense allowing its opponents to score 55.9% of their baskets off an assists. This will play into Utah’s natural style as it scores 58.4% of its baskets off an assist, the 26th-highest rate in college basketball.
USC vs. Utah Betting Pick
This is a crucial game for Utah on its home floor after dropping its last three. The Utes’ most recent loss came against UCLA in which they were able to keep things respectable, only losing by six.
I expect a similar effort from the Utes against a USC offense which presents a perfect sell-high opportunity.
Given the stylistic advantages on both ends of the floor, I expect Utah to have a shot to pull off the upset in front of its home crowd.
Pick: Utah +1.5 or Better
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