Arizona State vs. USC College Basketball Odds & Pick: Back Trojans in Favorable Matchup (Wednesday, Feb. 17)

John McCoy/Getty Images. Pictured: Evan Mobley.

Arizona State vs. USC Odds


Arizona State Odds +10.5
USC Odds -10.5
Moneyline +520 / -740
Over/Under 146
Time | TV 8 p.m. ET | ESPN2
Odds as of Tuesday night and via FanDuel.

USC continues its quest for a Pac 12 regular-season title on Wednesday night against a resurgent Arizona State.

Bobby Hurley’s squad has gone through a lot of adversity this season, but the Sun Devils seem to have found their stride, having won three of their last four games in conference play. They were able to take care of Oregon State their last time out without two of their best players in Marcus Bagley and Joshua Christopher. Both did not practice this week but are traveling for the game. If both of them are out, it’s going to be tough sledding for the Sun Devils, who are already two games below .500.

The Trojans are in the midst of one of the program’s best seasons in the past decade, currently holding a one-game lead in the Pac 12 standings. USC has won 12 of its last 13 games and is one of the most dominant teams in the paint, led by five-star freshman Evan Mobley.

USC beat Arizona State, 73-64, in Tempe back in January, a result it’ll be looking to repeat as heavy favorites on its home floor.

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When the Trojans have the ball

The Trojans absolutely dominate their opponents in the paint. USC is shooting a cool 52.3% from 2-point range and 62.6% on shot attempts at the rim, according to Hoop-Math. The reason they are so good in the paint is two fold: 1) The Trojans are the tallest team in the country, and 2) They have one of the best freshman in Mobley, who is averaging 16.6 points and nine rebounds per game.

USC is also the best offensive-rebounding teams in the Pac-12, grabbing them at a 35.3% rate in conference play, per KenPom. That was a big reason they won the first meeting in Tempe, as the Trojans snagged 13 offensive boards. Arizona State is going to be outmatched in height, so I think USC should have plenty of second-chance opportunities.

Arizona State’s defense has been below average in conference play, and quite frankly the Sun Devils match up terribly against USC. They are one of the worst defensive rebounding teams in the conference and also allow over 59% shooting on shot attempts at the rim. USC also allows one of the highest free throw rates to their opponents, so I think they are going to have a lot of trouble defending USC on the road.

When Arizona State has the ball

Hurley loves to push the pace on his opponents, which is evident by the Sun Devils playing one of the fastest tempos in the country (14th per KenPom). They have really struggled to get things going during conference play, though, averaging only 1.00 points per possession in Pac 12 play. Arizona State is the worst 3-point shooting team in the conference, averaging 30.7% from deep.

In the first meeting, shooting the ball from deep was not the Sun Devils’ problem — it was inside the arc where they had issues. Arizona State shot only 31.5% from 2-point range, which is not that surprising since USC is the number one team in the Pac-12 defending inside the arc. The Trojans are also 19th in the nation at defending shot attempts at the rim and have the 11th highest block rate in the country.  It’s safe to say that trying to score inside on the Trojans is a death sentence.


Betting Analysis & Pick

Trying to score on the Trojans when you can’t hit a high percentage from outside the arc is a recipe for disaster. If the Sun Devils are without Bagley and Christopher, I don’t know how they are going to generate offense on the road.

Additionally, USC has a massive size advantage, so it’s just all around a terrible situation for Arizona State.

I have the Trojans projected as -13.02 favorites at home, so I think there is plenty of value on them at -10.5 even if Christopher and Bagley play.

Pick: USC -10.5 (up to -11)

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