NCAAM Pick December 3, 2020 – UCONN Huskies at USC Trojans

Is there anything more enjoyable than watching the public move a line in the wrong direction, giving you a super juicy number that you don’t deserve? Wait, yeah, there is, it’s when you get to bet on that game with the bad number and scoop up all of the free cash! That was the case yesterday when the public was all over North Carolina in their matchup with the Texas Longhorns.

Kenpom had the Longhorns ranked as the 4th best team in the nation, so to see them getting +3.5-points against a North Carolina team that was coming off of a 14-win season last year, was shocking. The books knew that Texas was the side to be, as they opened up the Longhorns as -1-point favorites, but the public’s love affair with the Tar Heels allowed us to take the favorite and get points while doing it! So, I fired on Shake Smarts Longhorns and expected them to take care of business and cash our ticket.

And that is exactly what happened. Texas dominated the game early on, opening up a double-digit lead in the first half. The Tar Heels battled back, though, and tied this game up with under a minute left to play in the game. Then this happened.

Matt Coleman drained a jumper with just 3-seconds left on the clock to give the Longhorns the win, and we cashed our ticket. But in all reality, the dramatic last-second shot was fun, but we didn’t really need it, as we were getting +3.5-points. It was a sweet victory, and our strategy of, fade the public and get paid, has been killing it so for this season. We will look to position ourselves on the other side of the betting market again today when we break down the action between USC and UCONN.

Today’s Game

  • UCONN Huskies (2-0) at USC Trojans (3-0)
  • Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville
  • 4:00 PM PST
  • TV: ESPN

Bubbleville is getting set to wrap up what has been a remarkably exciting run of games from the Mohegan Sun Arena this week. After nearly two weeks of action, this weekend will mark our final trip to the ESPN bubble, but before things wrap up, we have some more non-conference action in store for you today. The USC Trojans square off with the UCONN Huskies tonight in a game between two undefeated teams. The Trojans have impressed on their way to a 3-0 record and are coming off of a blowout victory over BYU in their last game.

For UCONN, the Huskies are also undefeated, albeit against weaker competition. The Huskies are finally back playing their league games in the Big East, and a win over USC would go a long way into securing head coach Danny Hurley’s first trip to the NCAA tournament since taking over the program in 2019.

Spread:

  • UCONN Huskies (-1.5)
  • USC Trojans (+1.5)
Money line:

  • UCONN Huskies (-125)
  • USC Trojans (+104)
Total Points:

  • Over 136 (-110)
  • Under 136 (-110)

UCONN Huskies (2-0)

The UCONN Huskies never felt at home in their seven years playing in the AAC, and after what ended up as a failed experiment, they get to head back home this year to the Big East. But, as usual, the Big East is chalked full of talent, and after failing to win 20+ games in either of Dan Hurley’s first two seasons in Storrs, things are going to be even tougher this year in the Big East.

James Bouknight is the Huskies’ best player this year, after having a stellar freshman season last year. Bouknight has led the team in scoring in each of their two games this season and is averaging 19 points per game. The Huskies are also hoping that Rhode Island transfer Tyrese Martin can live up to all of his ample hype, as he followed Hurley from URI to UCONN. Martin has played one game this season and scored 7 points and grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds. If UCONN is going to compete at the top of the Big East this year, they need both of those guys to play up to their potential.

USC Trojans (3-0)

It is easy to say this is the Evan Mobley show at USC this year. Mobley is the talk of the town as the 7-foot freshman has looked every bit as good as advertised and seems to be a lock to be a lottery pick in next year’s NBA draft. In his last game, Mobley destroyed BYU big man Matt Haarms enroot to his first-ever college basketball double-double, going for 17 points and 11 boards. But it hasn’t been just Mobley that has impressed for the Trojans.

Rice transfer Drew Peterson has been making it rain and has seen his scoring increase in each game, scoring double-digits in all three games and topping out at 19-points of 7-10 shooting against BYU. Evan’s big brother Isiah has played well, too, as he posted a double-double against the Cougars and has 34 rebounds in three games this season as the team’s leading rebounder.

Who Do I Like?

For whatever reason, the public doesn’t like this USC team. Against BYU, that line moved 4.5-points towards the Cougars as the public was all over BYU. The Trojans went on to win that game by 26-points. In this game, USC opened up as -1-point favorites, and again the public jumped on the other side, as the Huskies are now favored by a point and a half.

When you look at what the data tells us, kenpom has the Trojans winning this game by a point, telling me that the opening number was a sharp one and that the Trojans are the side to be on. I don’t see USC blowing this game out like they did in their last game, but the Huskies have been sloppy with the ball as they have averaged over 15 turnovers a game despite playing a very weak schedule.

Throw in the fact that the Trojans defense has been playing well; they are currently 40th in defensive efficiency while holding opposing teams to just 36% shooting from the field, 13th best in the nation, and I think USC shuts the Huskies down.

The Bet

This is going to be a close game. But I see the Trojans doing a good job of forcing turnovers and making the Huskies work for every point. USC didn’t get a lot of hype this year, with the exception of the arrival of Evan Mobley, but this team is quickly looking like the best team in the PAC-12. UCONN? They probably won’t finish in the top half of the Big East, and I don’t think they are going to be dancing in March.

This is a classic situation where I see one team as being slightly underrated, USC, and the other team being slightly overrated, UCONN. Kenpom agrees with me as the Trojans are ranked 45th, and the Huskies are ranked 53rd. That means I get to back the higher-ranked team, on a neutral floor, and get points while I do it, now that is value! Give me the USC Trojans tonight from Bubbleville as they look to stay undefeated against the UCONN Huskies!

The Bet: USC Trojans +1.5

My Pick
USC Trojans +1.5
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