NCAAM Basketball Pick for January 20th

Southern California Trojans (14-6) at Oregon State Beavers (11-7)

The betting line information used for this article was taken from at 9:00 AM PST on 1-20-18. Some odds may have changed.

Last night we got smoked when we backed Indiana playing at Michigan State. The Hoosiers came in red-hot, winners of three straight Big-10 games and the Spartans looked shaky at best in league play. It seemed like a spot where snatching up a giant handful of points should prove profitable, but nope, it wasn’t.

The Spartans came out fast and ran up a large lead early on. The Hoosiers put up a little of a fight early in the second half before Michigan State closed out on a big run to win the game 85-57, and cover the 14.5-points. This just goes to show you how good this Spartans team can be when they are playing well. I mentioned in the pick yesterday that if they play their best game, they could win by twenty-five points, and that is what happened last night.

Today I will shift my focus to the Pac-12 Conference to break down a matchup between the USC Trojans and the Oregon State Beavers.

The Trojans of USC will travel to Corvallis, Oregon Saturday night to play the Beavers of Oregon State. USC has turned their season around after a slow start to the year, and has won five out of their last six and eight out of their last ten games. The Trojans find themselves just one game back of first place in the Pac-12 standings entering play tonight.

The Beavers have had less luck winning this season, but have been betting superstars as they seem to cover just about every number that is put on them. The Beavers are 5-1 ATS so far, this season, in Pac-12 play. The Trojans are -2.5-point road favorites. The game total over-under is set at 142.5 points. Tipoff is scheduled for 5:00 PM PST from Gill Coliseum.

The Oregon State Beavers have been a bettor’s dream this year. They are consistently under-valued, especially in league play. As an underdog in Pac-12 pay, the Beavers are 5-0 ATS. It seems that the books might finally be catching on to that as this line is tighter than I expected it would be.

A month ago, these same two teams playing I could see the line being as high as 5-6 points. The keen eye of the sharp bettors have exposed the fact that even though the Beavers don’t win all that much, they keep games very tight.

The Beavers just picked up a huge win in their last game against a solid UCLA team that should be playing in the NCAA tournament come March. Oregon State is 3-3 in league play, but two of those losses came on the road against Arizona and Arizona State, arguably the two toughest places to play in the Pac-12.

Against the second tier of talent in the Pac-12, Utah, Oregon, UCLA, and Colorado? The Beavers are a very respectable 3-1. They will play against a USC team tonight that falls somewhere in the middle of that upper-echelon of the league and the teams that they have been able to beat this year.

We have focused on the USC Trojans a lot this season. They started out slow, and the public lost confidence in them early, and it opened up a lot of value to back them. There was a lot of hype surrounding this team coming into the season and when they stumbled out of the blocks somewhat, many were quick to condemn them and write them off as a bad team. They aren’t at all a bad team, and in fact, they are one of the more talented teams in the Pac-12.

This team is loaded with NBA talent and they could have as many as six NBA level players on their roster. It has taken them a little longer to gel than the fans in So-Cal had hoped, but make no mistake, this team has a Final Four level of talent. The Trojans have managed to run up a good record in league play mostly by avoiding the best teams so far.

The Trojans have wins over Washington State, Colorado, Utah, Cal, and Oregon. They have yet to play against Arizona or Arizona State or even a Stanford team that is impressing as of late or UCLA. The second half of the conference slate is going to be much tougher than the first half has proved to be for the Trojans.

If you are an avid reader of my daily picks, you know I love me some home underdogs, especially in conference play. Especially when you have a team like USC that has gotten a lot of attention playing against a team like Oregon State that is not at all on the national radar.

Anytime you have a matchup like this you can expect the line to be a little skewed towards the team in the limelight. People just tend to bet on teams that they have heard things about or they have seen play and that creates value for those of us that watch all the games.

I am not completely sure that the Trojans have really turned things around this year, or if they have just found a soft spot in the schedule to exploit. The one thing I do know is that this Oregon State team always seems to overachieve and perform better than the public and the books, think they will.

I am going to back the home underdog in this one. I expect a close game, and it wouldn’t at all shock me to see Oregon State come away with the win tonight. They just beat a UCLA team that matches up very similarly to this USC team, and the Beavers can absolutely win this game outright.

Instead of taking the money line I am going to buy a little insurance and snatch up the 2.5-points. Give me the Oregon State Beavers +2.5-points tonight!

The Bet: Oregon State +2.5 points

Jason Gray / Author

Jason is a true Las Vegas insider as he has called the sports betting capital of the world his home for sixteen years. Jason started out his career in gaming by running the biggest poker tournaments in the world and managing some of the biggest sportsbooks on the strip. Jason has transitioned out of casino operations and has been covering sports betting for the sports geek for just over two years. His main focus is on baseball, college basketball, and the NFL