NCAAM Pick January 9, 2021 – USC Trojans at Arizona State Sun Devils

Yesterday we backed the Michigan State Spartans laying four and a half points at home against Purdue. After seeing the Spartans turn their slow start in Big 10 play around with back-to-back wins over Nebraska and Rutgers and knowing that Purdue has struggled badly on the road this season, I felt that Michigan State was going to defend their home floor. So, I backed the Spartans and expected to cash a no sweat ticket.

And after watching the first half play out, it sure felt like I had a lock on my hands as Michigan State was absolutely dominating all facets of the game. The halftime score was 31-16, with Michigan State doubling up on the Boilermakers. The Spartans played the first half just like they played the second half of their previous game against Rutgers, where their stifling defense led the way. We nailed this one. Or so I thought…

It was a tale of two halves as the Spartans just couldn’t hit a shot in the second half, and Purdue took advantage of it and rallied to tighten the game up. Even with the hot half for the Boilermakers, we still had this one covered at 48-43 with just over three minutes left to play in the game. It was a scary run, but when you look at how home teams in the Big 10 have won north of 70% of the games in league play, it still felt that the Spartans were going to finish the game out.

But I guess somebody forgot to tell Purdue, as Matt Painter’s team found a way to pull off a miracle by scoring five points in the gams final eleven seconds to shock the Spartans and spoil our bet. The game winner came from Trevion Williams, who banked in a runner with four seconds left to play to give Purdue the huge upset victory. This was one of those bets that felt like a winner the entire game, until it didn’t. What can you do, sometimes you lose bets that you probably should have won. For today’s free daily betting pick, we will look to get back on track as we head to Tempe, where the Arizona State Sun Devils host the USC Trojans.

Today’s Game

  • USC Trojans (7-2) at Arizona State Sun Devils (4-4)
  • Desert Financial, Tempe
  • 4:00 PM PST
  • TV: PACN

The USC Trojans are hoping to stay hot tonight as they play the Arizona State Sun Devils on the road. The Trojans impressed in their last game, a blowout victory over Arizona, and are hoping to make it a sweep in the desert tonight over the Sun Devils. USC trails UCLA for first place in the PAC-12, and a win tonight over ASU could be enough to see the Trojans ranked in the top-25 next week.

For Arizona State, the Sun Devils have fallen on hard times as their season has been destroyed by inconsistent play and numerous Corona Virus related delays. ASU lost their last game, at home to UCLA, after being forced to play without several of their key players, including superstar Remy Martin. The Sun Devils have lost three out of their last four games, with all three losses coming on their home floor.

Spread:

  • USC Trojans (-1.5)
  • Arizona State Sun Devils (+1.5)
Money line:

  • USC Trojans (-124)
  • Arizona State Sun Devils (+104)
Total Points:

  • Over 149 (-110)
  • Under 149 (-110)

USC Trojans (7-2)

The USC Trojans have very quietly put together a solid start to their season. Despite a lack of national media coverage, the Trojans are steadily climbing up the rankings. USC has quality wins over Arizona, Utah, and BYU, and a win tonight over ASU is likely to be one that doesn’t look all that great now, but will look better by the end of the year, as there is too much talent on the Sun Devils roster for them not to find a way to get things turned around once all of their players are back on the floor.

Evan Mobley has been a man amongst boys so far in his short college hoops career. Mobley was one of the top recruits in the nation this season, and he has not disappointed as he leads the team in scoring and rebounding. His 2.7 blocks per game is one of the highest totals of any player in the country, and he is only going to get better, as he is still just 19-years old. Against Arizona, Mobley had one of his best games yet, dropping a double-double on the Wildcats with 19 points and 11 boards.

Arizona State Sun Devils (4-4)

Who will actually be on the floor tonight for this Sun Devils team? Remy Martin, Taeshon Cherry, Jaelen House, and Jalen Graham all missed ASU’s last game against UCLA, and freshman sensation Marcus Bagley missed time due to injury before returning for the loss to the Bruins. It has been a brutal start to the year for ASU, as they just can’t seem to get into a rhythm with all of the missing players and COVID-related delays.

Bobby Hurley expects Remy Martin to be back on the court tonight as he missed their last game due to a death in the family, but the rest of these guy’s availability is up in the air. Hurley benched a couple of his guys for disciplinary issues, and he is clearly trying to make a point to his team that no one player is above the rest. I like that type of move for the long-term success of the program, but if the Sun Devils don’t have their best players on the floor in this one, it’s going to be a long night in Tempe.

Who Do I Like?

I really wish this game was being played in a couple of weeks. ASU is going through a lot right now, and while I see them getting out of this mess and hitting their stride in plenty of time to be a contender out west, they picked a bad time to be in disarray. All of these early-season home losses are starting to pile up, and when the Sun Devils are forced to go out and play on the road, they are going to want these games back.

If both of these teams were at full strength tonight, I would lean towards Arizona State winning at home. But they aren’t. The Sun Devils are going to be missing key players, and it just so happens that USC is playing their best basketball of the year right now. I don’t know how ASU is going to be able to slow down Evan Mobley, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he drops 30 on them tonight.

The Bet

I very rarely lay wood on the road in conference games. But this is a unique situation, and I am going to back the Trojans. This line opened up with USC -3-points and the data says that was a sharp number, as kenpom had the Trojans winning by three as well. But the early betting sharps almost always take home dogs and have moved this line a point and a half towards ASU. Now that I can pick up that little extra cushion and just need the Trojans to basically win the game outright to cover, I am backing USC.

We saw in their last game, when they fought hard and took UCLA to overtime, despite not having all of their best players, that ASU is going to give a full effort tonight. But at the end of the day, I just think they are outmanned, and they won’t have enough talent on the floor to pick up the upset win. Give me the USC Trojans tonight, laying a point and a half, as they win again in the desert!

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