USC vs. Washington Odds, Picks | College Basketball Betting Guide
Pictured: USC Trojans players gather around head coach Andy Enfield. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
- The Trojans and Huskies go head-to-head in what should be an exciting Pac-12 affair.
- USC has been playing well, but can the Trojans steal a win on the road?
- Tanner McGrath breaks down the matchup and shares his best bet below.
USC vs. Washington Odds
Pac-12 play is here and the Washington teams are set to battle the Los Angeles squads this week.
I decided to cover the much more entertaining one and feel USC vs. Washington could shape into a thrilling after-dark matchup.
After an unimpressive start, Andy Enfield has his team coming off of back-to-back wins over Auburn and Colorado State. Washington dropped its game against Auburn, but I’ve been largely impressed by the Huskies.
It’s a short spread with a home dog, so which side has the edge? Or is there another angle we should take?
It’s hard not to be impressed with USC’s turnaround.
There was plenty of blame in the early season, especially after the opening-night loss to Florida Gulf Coast. USC had issues in the frontcourt, mostly because the two five-star freshmen Enfield brought in were hurt. Rebounding was a significant issue.
Well, rebounding is still a significant issue. Auburn out-rebounded the Trojans 32-to-19, but Joshua Morgan, Kijani Wright and Iaroslav Niagu rotate as the anchor of a very impressive interior defense.
USC is seventh nationally in two-point defense (41.9%) and 17th in block rate (14.8%). Opponents are managing just 26 paint points per game and shooting under 47% in that range. Additionally, USC is top 50 in avoiding rim attempts and top 85 in defending rim attempts.
And when the Pac-12 blocks leader is making shots like this, your team is tough to stop.
BIG time clutch bucket from USC’s Joshua Morgan earns shot of the night yesterday 🎯
Pushed the lead to 4 and Auburn was never able to get within striking distance again. pic.twitter.com/ioeddNqTij
— ShotQuality (@Shot_Quality) December 20, 2022
Boogie Ellis and Drew Peterson comprise a dangerous backcourt and combine to average almost 30 PPG. Peterson also adds seven rebounds and six assists per night.
Those two are the offense’s engine, and their shot-creation is necessary. USC is not a devastating offense, and they’re particularly weak from a shot-making standpoint, ranking 26th in spot-up PPP (.863).
USC is a good mid-range shooting team, and that’s about it. Almost all of those points are scored or assisted by the USC backcourt.
But I’m not going to argue with the results. By Bart Torvik’s Game Score metric, Enfield’s squad is only improving.
Image Credit: BartTorvik
I look at Washington and see a frisky, tough group of transfers looking to make some noise.
Keion Brooks is the perfect example. He was fine in his three years at Kentucky, but is now dropping 17 PPG and grabbing 7 RPG while leading the team in EvanMiya’s DBPR metric.
It’s hard not to respect Brooks’ drive and ability to carry Washington, but it might not be in the Huskies’ best interest. His usage is off the charts, but his efficiency is merely average.
Image Credit: CBB Analytics
That’s true of Washington in general. The Huskies play up-tempo, but have exactly a 50% effective field goal rate, good for 173rd nationally.
I also would project Washington for some regression. The Huskies are 240th in three-point rate allowed (39.5%), but opponents are shooting just 27.4% on those attempts.
That’s partially scheme, as Washington plays zone more than almost any team in the nation (65.2% of the time). While zone defenses can mess with non-conference opponent rhythms, I don’t expect opponents to miss that much from now on.
USC vs. Washington Betting Pick
Last season, USC scored .919 PPP against zone defenses, which ranked in the 62nd percentile.
Long Beach State, Cal and BYU threw some zone at USC this year, and the Trojans shredded it for 1.423 PPP, which ranks in the 97th percentile.
USC is playing better as it gets healthy and the season progresses. Meanwhile, I’m a little worried about the direction of Washington, especially when you factor in potential regression.
While USC picked up a monster win over Auburn two weeks ago, Washington lost by 17 at home to Auburn. That’s the best argument I can make for Trojans -1.
I’m never a fan of laying points on the road in-conference, so I’m keeping this play smaller. That said, two projection models I trust make USC closer to a three-point favorite, so I’ll take those odds and play USC at -1.5 or better.
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