NCAAM Basketball Pick for December 29th

Washington Huskies (10-3) at Southern California Trojans (9-4)

The betting line information for this article was taken from at 7:00 AM PST on 12-29-17. Some odds may have changed.

Last night might have been the worst beat of the season for me betting on college basketball. I was on Creighton +5 points playing at Seton Hall. The game was a back and forth matchup all night long, and the Blue Jays actually led 84-83 with just over two minutes left on the clock. Then disaster struck as the Pirates finished the last two minutes of the game on a 7-0 run, and won 90-84, covering the five-point number.

Bad beats are going to happen in sports betting, but I am confident I evaluated the game correctly and that we were on the right side, so we take our lumps and move on. Today I will be breaking down a matchup of Pac-12 teams, the Washington Huskies, and the USC Trojans.

The Washington Huskies will travel to Southern California to face the Trojans of USC tonight. Both teams find themselves just outside of the top twenty-five nationally and are playing their first conference games of the season. Washington enters the game at 10-3 on the year and has won eight out of their last nine games.

The Trojans look like they may have recovered from some early season struggles and are winners in five of their last six. The Trojans are big -11-point home favorites tonight. The game total over-under is set at 159 points. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 PM PST from the Galen Center in Los Angeles.

The Washington Huskies have what might be the best win of any team this season. They marched into Kansas City and beat the Kansas Jayhawks in their home state. Kansas just doesn’t lose very often on a friendly floor, and the win by the Huskies proved they could play with any team in the country on a given night.

That win was, unfortunately, the only real resume-building win for the Huskies this year. They have a win over a decent UC-Davis team, but that’s really all they have to show at this point. The Pac-12 looks like it is better than it has been over the last several years with Final Four contenders Arizona and Arizona State leading the way and solid squads like USC, Washington State, Oregon, Utah, and UCLA all vying for trips to the NCAA tournament. The Huskies will have lots of opportunities for big wins, tonight is one of them.

The USC Trojans have a lot of talent. As much as just about any other team in the country, top to bottom. But the season hasn’t been without its controversy. The FBI has been investigating the program for possible corruption charges, and the distractions have derailed what was once a very promising season. It was the Trojans and not the Sun Devils that many had tabbed as a possible Final Four team when the season started, as USC was ranked in the pre-season top ten nationally. Now just a couple of months later and the Trojans find themselves out of the national rankings and looking to get back on track.

USC brought back pretty much its entire team after many of them flirted with jumping to the NBA. There are multiple NBA level players on this roster, and if they get their act together, they could be scary good in March. Despite playing a decent schedule of games, the Trojans don’t yet have a marquee win on the season. If they were to beat Washington tonight, it would likely be the best win on their resume.

The Trojans are led by two big men down low in Chimezie Metu and Bennie Boatwright. Metu is averaging 18 and 8 while Boatwright is going for 17 and 7 on the year. The Trojans are very balanced though with two other starters averaging double digits, and their fifth starter isn’t far behind, averaging 9.5 points a game. They don’t mind sharing the ball, and when this team is clicking on all cylinders, they can be tough to beat.

Conference basketball is my favorite time of the year. The teams know each other so well and are used to seeing each other multiple times a season. You just don’t see too many blowouts in games like this one. Here we have two middle of the road Pac-12 teams that are in bad need of wins, these games are generally tightly contested. That is why I am surprised by how big this number is right now.

UCSB, Middle Tennessee State, New Mexico State, Vanderbilt, and North Dakota State, what do all these teams have in common? These are all teams that USC beat this year by eleven points or less. They just aren’t a team that is blowing too many people out. They have the talent to do so, they just aren’t doing it. And all of those teams I listed aren’t as good as this Washington Huskies team.

I just see this game as being a somewhat competitive one. I don’t think Washington is going to go into LA and beat the Trojans, but I also don’t see the Trojans running them off the court either. It should be a close-ish game that falls somewhere around the 84-76 range with USC coming out on top. I like USC, and I expect that they will only get better as the season wears on, but for tonight’s game, that is too big of a number. Give me the Washington Huskies and the 11 points tonight from LA.

The Bet: Washington Huskies +11 points

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