We’ve got the always dangerous ‘ranked team on the road against unranked conference opponent’ in Thursday’s UCLA at USC betting matchup. The #8 Bruins (17-3) just had a 14-game win streak snapped in a 58-52 loss at Arizona on Saturday when the then #5 Bruins were just +2 point underdogs.
USC (14-6) managed a split in their visit to the Grand Canyon State, losing to Arizona 81-66 but bouncing back with a 77-69 win at ASU on Saturday. The Trojans are very good at home, but are still +5 point underdogs for Thursday’s matchup with public betting split nearly 50/50.
Why UCLA Can Cover -5 Points
Instead of dwelling on a road loss over the weekend to the #6 team in the nation, it’s important to remember that the Bruins had won 14 straight games prior. They were dominant in a majority of those as well, winning 11 of them by double digits.
If you want to focus on UCLA’s loss to Arizona, losing by 6 points on the road against a 17-3 team isn’t that bad considering the Bruins shot just 31% from the floor and 4-20 from three point range. The fact that the game was close is a testament to the Bruins’ great defense that has held 7 of their last 9 opponents under 60 points and ranks 3rd in the country in adjusted defensive efficiency.
Scoring 52 points points on Saturday seems like a bad offensive showing for UCLA, and it was 23 points below their 75.4 ppg average. That being said four Bruins players did score 11+ points while Jaylen Clark (12 points, 10 rebounds) and Jaime Jaquez, Jr. (12 points, 11 rebounds) both had a double-double while Tyger Campbell added 13 points. Basically, this offense should be fine.
Why USC Can Cover +5 Points
The UCLA at USC betting matchup on Thursday is the second meeting of the season between these two Pac-12 rivals. The Trojans traveled to Pauley Pavilion on January 5th as +11 underdogs and put on a huge second half run to only lose 60-58.
The Trojans definitely had some issues from beyond the arc (3-16) in the first meeting with UCLA but shot an overall 47% from the field against one of the best defenses in the country. If USC can keep the game within 2 points on the road, they should be able to maybe push for an outright win at home.
USC is a very good home team, winning 9 straight after their season opening 74-61 shocking loss to Florida Gulf Coast as -18.5 favorites. UCLA has won three straight against USC, but the Trojans have covered the number in two of those. The Trojans have also won four straight outright at home in the head to head series.
Free UCLA at USC Betting Pick
The Bruins are angry after suffering their first conference loss of the season over the weekend, but they don’t get much of a reprieve on Thursday in a rivalry game at the Galen Center. Both teams have a bevy of talented scorers and this one could push over the 130 total, but the best bet looks to be taking the points as part of the unranked team at home against a ranked conference opponent strategy.
Free Pick: USC +5