One of the better under the radar college hoops matchups for Wednesday night is the December 8th Utah at TCU betting tilt. The Utes are 6-2 on the season, but both of their losses have come against teams ranked in the top 20 at the time (BYU, USC). TCU comes into this game 6-1 and this ‘neutral site’ game is being held at Dickie’s Arena, a short 3 mile ride from the Horned Frogs’ campus.
Despite both of their losses coming against quality teams, Utah is still a +2.5 road underdog in their visit to TCU. The Utes have covered the number just once in their last five games, but that’s still one more than the Horned Frogs have (0-3-2). Is this basically a toss-up game?
This Game Headed ‘Under’ 134?
Utah has three players that average in double figures, but they’ve got their hands full on Wednesday against a TCU defense that allows barely over 60 points per game. The Utes do have scoring balance on their side though, as Brandon Carlson, David Jenkins, Jr., and Both Gach all put in 13+ points/game.
The Horned Frogs got back on track Sunday, pulling out a 66-58 home win although they did fail to cover the -9 point spread. Gach had 19 and Carlson 12 as Utah rebounded from two straight losses. The 75-64 loss to BYU who was ranked 18th at the time and the Utes also fell 93-73 against then #20 ranked USC. Utah had no answer for Isaiah Mobley on the post in the loss to the Trojans, as he had 21 points and 13 rebounds.
This is a non-conference matchup, but the two programs are very familiar with each other when they were both in the Mountain West. Utah dominated the series back then winning 16 of 20 games, although their last meeting was a decade ago.
TCU Defense the Difference Maker
The quality of competition was higher, but the TCU offense has take solace that Utah gave up 75+ points in their losses to BYU and USC. The Horned Frogs offense doesn’t do anything especially impressive though, save for leading scorer Mike Miles who has scored in double figures in every game this season.
Miles shot just 5-18 (13 points) on Thursday night with about 20 NBA scouts in attendance for his matchup with Max Abmas (20 points). TCU still got the win though 71-63 over the Golden Eagles, their third straight victory.
TCU doesn’t have a lot of help beyond Miles though, as Emanuel Miller (10.7 ppg) is the only other Horned Frogs player that scores in double figures. There are also some concerns about the credibility of TCU’s record to start the year considering five of their six wins have come against double-digit favorites. TCU’s lone loss came November 22nd to Santa Clara in the SoCal challenge when the Horned Frogs allowed a 24-0 run. The 85-66 defeat came as -3 point favorites.
December 8th Utah at TCU Pick
This is a game that could go either way. TCU is at home (ish) but Utah has been more battle tested against quality opponents. The line has moved in the Horned Frogs favor from a -1 point open, but it just look like the Utes have the better value.
Utah 66 – TCU 62
Free Pick: Utah +2.5