USC Trojans vs. Utah Utes Betting Preview
Where: Jon M. Huntsman Center — Salt Lake City, Utah
When: Thursday, January 12, 2017, 9:00 PM ET
TV Broadcast: PAC-12 Network
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Betting on the USC Trojans (15-2, 2-2 PAC-12)
Jordan McLaughlin’s been a vital reason for No. 25 USC’s great start. The junior guard currently leads the team in scoring (14.5) and assists (5.1), while shooting the rock at an eye-popping 50 percent. But on Sunday night against California, his 20-point effort went to waste as the Trojans suffered their second loss of the season, 73-74.
It was a very winnable game for the Trojans, who made 50.9 percent of their field goals, including 58.3 percent of their three-pointers (7-of-12). They were, however, horrible at the charity stripe, converting just 10 out of 21 attempts.
USC’s now lost two of its previous three, and opens up a two-game road trip tonight in Utah. The head-to-head series has gone the Utes’ way in the last seven meetings, but the Trojans should be able to snap that skid if they can maintain their hot shooting and start knocking down their free throws. They’re collecting 79.9 points per contest this season, among the highest in the nation.
Besides McLaughlin, there are four other USC players scoring in double figures — Elijah Stewart (13.9), Chimezie Metu (13.4), Bennie Boatwright (10.8) and De’Anthony Melton (10.2).
Betting on the Utah Utes (11-4, 2-1 PAC-12)
Utah begins a tough two-game home stand when it faces 25th-ranked USC tonight and then against No. 4 UCLA next week.
The Utes rebounded well from their loss to Arizona, holding off a persistent Arizona State squad on Saturday night to improve to 2-1 in conference play. They were led by Kyle Kuzma’s career performance of 26 points and 12 rebounds, while their leading scorer this season David Collette and fellow junior JoJo Zamora finished with 18 points each.
Utah’s already proven this season that it can pile up the points at almost any given moment, averaging nearly 80 points per contest. But it took a step back defensively against the Sun Devils, who managed to collect 82 points despite shooting just 29.6 percent from beyond the arc. That obviously can’t happen again versus a more-loaded and polished USC offense.
Over their last five games at home, the Utes are 4-1 SU and 2-3 ATS.
Utah (-6) wins it, 83-79.
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