College Basketball Odds & Picks for Stanford vs. USC: Look to Bet the Cardinal Live
Bob Drebin/ISI Photos/Getty Images. Pictured: Bryce Wills (2).
Stanford vs. USC Odds
The Stanford Cardinal (2-2) visit the USC Trojans (4-1) on Sunday night in a matchup highlighted by each team’s phenomenal freshman: Stanford small forward Ziaire Williams and USC center Evan Mobley.
The last time these teams met in January, Stanford held a 69-64 lead as the Cardinal inbounded the ball with 15 seconds to play. They then committed two consecutive turnovers before crossing half court, and the Trojans rallied to send the game to overtime, where they would win, 82-78.
This sets the stage for another fun matchup as each team looks to start Pac 12 play with a win. Let’s look for a few key matchups to determine who wins the game and how to live bet accordingly.
The Cardinal are led by their senior captains: guard Daejon Davis and forward Oscar da Silva. In this one, they will need that duo at its best to win.
After going through some growing pains as an underclassman that saw him show flashes of brilliance, including a half-court buzzer-beater against USC in 2018, Davis has been much more consistent as a senior. His decision making has significantly improved, and he has become an elite defender for the Cardinal while averaging 14.5 points per game.
da Silva has been efficient as a stretch five for Stanford when he has been on the court. Da Silva is shooting better than 50/40/90, as he sits at 64.3% from the field, 55.6% from three and 90.9% from the charity stripe. He averages 17.3 points per game along with 5.0 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.5 blocks.
The problem for da Silva is that he has gotten into foul trouble early in each of Stanford’s losses. Without him on the court, Stanford must insert another big (James Keefe or Lukas Kisunas) who cannot stretch the floor and the Cardinal’s offense gets stagnant. The Cardinal will need da Silva on the court against the size of USC’s Mobley brothers to have a chance.
Stanford has several wings who can heat up and take games over in Bryce Wills, Williams and Spencer Jones. Wills is an incredible athlete at guard who plays great defense and is an elite driver offensively, although his shot is inconsistent (22% from the free throw line and 33% on 3-pointers).
Williams has shown a silky smooth jump shot, but he has been streaky. He started 5 for 9 from beyond the arc in his first two games before going 0 for 10 in his next two. Spencer Jones, a 3-and-D specialist, shot 43.1% from three last year as a freshman but has shot just 20% from downtown this year, a number you can expect him to improve soon. The Cardinal will need at least two of these three at their best to win at USC.
A key player to watch for Stanford: Jaiden Delaire. At 6-foot-9 and 210 pounds, Delaire gives the Cardinal a long and athletic player who can defend inside while also posing as a scoring threat offensively as a shooter and driver. However, after playing just 14 minutes in the opener against Alabama, he injured his back and hasn’t played since.
Delaire was a game-time decision against Indiana but didn’t play. He also missed last Sunday’s game and his status is unknown for USC. If Delaire can play, this will be a big boost for the Cardinal offense (especially when da Silva sits) which has underachieved so far.
If USC beats Stanford, it will be because the Mobley brothers win the battle inside. Stanford simply doesn’t have the size to guard them inside (Evan is 7-feet, 215 pounds while Isaiah is 6-foot-10, 235 pounds) unless they bring in a big off the bench, in which case the Mobleys will have a quickness advantage.
The Cardinal defense is elite, and they will do their best to deny the Mobley brothers touches in the paint. If the Trojans find creative ways to get them looks within 10 feet of the basket, they will win.
Even if they don’t get immediate touches inside, the Mobleys can be effective by hustling on the boards. Isaiah ranks 22nd in the country (out of 1,978 eligible players) with an offensive-rebound rate at 17.1% while Evan ranks 141st at 12.0%. Isaiah is averaging 9.4 points, 9.2 rebounds and 0.8 blocks per game while his younger brother is averaging 17.6 points, 9.0 rebounds and 3.0 blocks per game. Against a smaller Stanford team inside, the Mobleys need to dominate the glass, and doing so will drastically increase their chances of putting da Silva in foul trouble.
USC has played just two teams in the KenPom top 150, and each game was decided by the rebounding battle. In a win over BYU, USC won tallied 50 rebounds to BYU’s 35. In USC’s loss to UConn, the Trojans allowed the Huskies 41 rebounds while tallying just 31. USC needs to win on the boards to offset Stanford’s advantage in the backcourt.
The Trojans need the Mobleys to perform inside to open up space for its guards on the perimeter. Point guard Ethan Anderson hasn’t played since Dec. 1 after suffering a back injury, leaving two newcomers — Rice transfer Drew Peterson and Santa Clara transfer Tahj Eaddy — to run the backcourt.
Peterson and Eaddy are averaging 12 and 11 points per game, respectively, while converting a combined 14 of 29 threes. They will look to continue their efficient start to the season against Stanford’s stellar perimeter defense led by Wills and Davis.
The Trojans also signed the 50th overall of the 2021 recruiting class, Reese Waters, who graduated early from high school a few days ago, enrolled at USC and is eligible to play for the first time tomorrow against Stanford. It is unlikely that he sees many (if any) minutes this game, but it is something to keep an eye on.
Betting Analysis & Pick
While I lean toward Stanford here, a clear clashing of strengths and weaknesses inside and outside presents an opportunity to get better value by live betting this game.
Bet on Stanford moneyline at +100 or better if the Cardinal can limit the touches for the Mobleys inside (or get them in foul trouble), are competitive on the boards and da Silva avoids foul trouble. Furthermore, if the Cardinal get two of Wills, Williams and Jones to contribute early, it should give them plenty of options to score from the perimeter. Be even more ready to pounce on Stanford if Delaire is back in the fold.
Bet on USC at +100 or better if they win the battle on the boards and/or get Oscar da Silva in foul trouble while also shooting efficiently from three. The Trojans will need contributions from their transfer guards from downtown to unclog the lane for their twin towers inside. It is unclear if Anderson will play but if he does, this will be a huge help for USC against Stanford’s strong defense.
Pick: Stanford Moneyline +100 or better live