College Basketball Odds & Picks for Long Beach State vs. USC
Pictured: USC Trojans guard Reese Dixon-Waters. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
- Long Beach State makes the short trip to Los Angeles to take on the Trojans.
- USC has won three in a row, but has had trouble covering spreads this season.
- Kegs looks into the odds and offers up his best bet below.
Long Beach State vs. USC Odds
A long and challenging stretch of six consecutive away games finally reaches its conclusion on Wednesday night as Long Beach plays the USC Trojans.
The Beach are 2-3 through their road swing, but are coming off tough losses to Utah Valley and Sacramento State. Galen Center hasn't been a home away from home either, despite being just 25 miles from Long Beach. Long Beach has faced the Trojans in three of the past four seasons, all at Galen Center and all losses.
USC is riding a three-game win streak, however, covering the spread has been an issue for the Trojans. USC is just 4-6 ATS on the season. Even worse, the Trojans are just 2-5 against the spread as a favorite and have been worse at home, covering just once in five games.
Can the Trojans cover a double-digit spread at home for just the second time this season? Let's dig into the odds and make a pick.
The Long Beach State offense has been solid this season, due in large part to the efforts of Joel Murray, who led the Big West in points per game a season ago. The Beach are averaging 70 points per game behind Murray, who is averaging 14.4 per game, and put up 21 in their last game against Sacramento State.
Long Beach has relied on nearly all of its scoring coming from inside the paint. Only four teams in the country take less three-point attempts than the Beach, and while they don't get to the line much, the less the better. Long Beach is a bottom-10 team in the country when it comes to free throw shooting, hitting just 60.2% of their attempts.
Long Beach hasn't been great when it comes to scoring defense, allowing teams to rack up 73.4 points per game. However, the Beach can cause problems for the Trojans.
One of LBSU's biggest advantages against USC will be its ability to force turnovers. The Beach have averaged 7.9 steals per game, while USC is giving up 6.7 steals per contest. The Trojans also rank 234th when it comes to turnovers per game, giving the ball up an average of 13.9 times per game.
If USC is going to win against LBSU, and cover the spread, it will need to dominate the paint at both ends of the court. The Trojans hold a significant advantage over the Beach when it comes to average height, but it didn't help much in their last game against Cal State Fullerton.
The Trojans defense has been elite when it comes to defending the interior, holding opponents to just 56.8% at the rim and 27.3% in the paint — ranking in the 82nd and 98th percentile, respectfully. As long as USC can limit offensive rebounding, it should be able to all but shut down the Long Beach offense.
However, offensive rebounding has not only been a strength for Long Beach, but a struggle for USC to stop. Opponents are coming down with an offensive rebound on 30.6% of opportunities against the Trojans and LBSU averages 9.6 offensive rebounds per game.
Long Beach State vs. USC Betting Pick
The Trojans defense should give a Long Beach State team that's already struggling to score all it can handle. The Beach's ability to force turnovers and rebound could throw off a Trojans team that has scoring issues of its own. That's why I'm betting this game to stay under the total.
Yes, Long Beach has been one of the fastest paced teams in the nation, but I think their foul trouble, paired with USC's ability to get to the free throw line, will slow this game down considerably. The Trojans are averaging 19.8 free throw attempts per game, while the Beach have racked up 17.4 fouls per contest.
I was able to grab the under not long after it opened at 145.5, and while it has dropped at most books, I'd still feel comfortable backing this under at 142.5 or better.
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