Southern California’s Drew Peterson reacts after scoring a basket in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against BYU, Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020, in Uncasville, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
- A pair of unbeatens take the court on Thursday, Dec. 3, as USC faces UConn at 7:00 pm ET
- Both teams are averaging over 80 points per game so far this season
- Find odds for the game, as well as matchup analysis and a pick, in the article below
USC and UConn both bring spotless records into their neutral site game at Mohegan Sun Arena on Thursday, Dec. 3, at 7:00 pm ET. Of course, that will have to change.
Though UConn is only 45 minutes up the road from the site of the game, it’s fair to consider this a “neutral” location because it’s closed off from fans. What we’re left with is a very tight matchup on paper, in which the Huskies are slight favorites.
UConn vs USC Odds
|Team||Moneyline||Point Spread||Over/Under Total|
|UConn||-124||-1.5 (-110)||Over 143.5 (-114)|
|USC||+106||+1.5 (-110)||Under 143.5 (-106)|
Odds taken Dec. 2 at FanDuel.
How They’ve Fared So Far
UConn’s stats are almost not worth looking at, because so far they’ve only played two grossly overmatched opponents. Playing at home in both instances, the Huskies defeated local foes Central Connecticut and Hartford by double-digit margins. Neither team is ranked inside KenPom’s top-300.
For interest’s sake, there are two things UConn executed particularly well in those two games: they grabbed offensive rebounds on 48.6 percent of opportunities (third in NCAA Division I) and they blocked 21.4 percent of their opponents’ shots (third in NCAA D-I).
Andre Jackson with the first points of his career!#ThisIsUConn | #PullTheSled pic.twitter.com/k0FU0m0Bm9
— UConn Men’s Basketball (@UConnMBB) November 26, 2020
USC has faced and defeated three top-300 opponents so far, including a resounding 26-point win over BYU (ranked 92nd by KenPom) in their most recent game. The Trojans have also been exceptional on the offensive glass (grabbing rebounds on 44.8 percent of opportunities, sixth in NCAA D-I) and are limiting opponents to 36 percent shooting from 2-pt. range (10th in NCAA D-I).
“Our chemistry is through the roof right now.”@DrewPeterson23 checks in after the Trojans’ big win. pic.twitter.com/XdAPwYXjPu
— USC Men’s Basketball (@USC_Hoops) December 2, 2020
Keep in mind, though, the Trojans did need overtime to beat Cal Baptist in their opener — after trailing by five in the final minutes of regulation.
The Huskies are 1-1 against the spread this year, but 4-2 ATS when you look back to the end of last season. They are 3-4 in their past seven games as the favorite.
The Trojans are 2-1 ATS this year, and 7-3 ATS dating back to the 2019-20 campaign. As underdogs, USC has won three of its past four — including that mega win over BYU.
Who To Watch For
Isaiah Whaley is UConn’s veteran, do-it-all X-factor. The senior forward finally appears to be a steady starter (after making just 18 total starts in his first three seasons) and so far he is really justifying his minutes.
Whaley is averaging 11 points, three blocks, two assists and 8.5 rebounds per game so far, finding ways to help the Huskies at both ends. Can he keep these numbers up (we’re looking at that block rate in particular)? Time will tell.
Good morning UConn Nation, it is only @IsaiahWhaley days till UConn Basketball is back.. #5 Footage – @UCTVSports pic.twitter.com/qYG3cj7fqp
— 860 Productions (@860_media) November 20, 2020
On the other side, USC has seen a lot of great things from transfer guard Drew Peterson. The former Rice Owl is averaging 14.7 points, 2.3 assists and 4.7 rebounds so far in three starts.
Peterson was 3-for-4 from 3-pt. range in USC’s win over BYU, bringing his total up to 5-for-8 (62.5 percent) in the young season. Certainly someone to watch, especially in moments where the Trojans are looking for a quick bucket.
2021 NCAA Men’s Tournament Championship Odds Tracker
USC Is The Value Play
Look, 1.5-point spreads are not always the toss-ups they appear to be on paper. But we think this one appears that way, so why not hunt some value? USC’s moneyline odds of +106 are awfully enticing.
And you know what? So is the under. For as good as these teams have been offensively, they’ve found ways to impress on the defensive end, too. And now they’re both facing their stiffest competition of the season, which should tighten things up from a scoring standpoint.
Pick: USC Moneyline (+106); Under 143.5 (-106)
Jordan Horrobin is a sports journalist whose MLB, NHL, NFL and NCAA work has appeared in outlets such as The Athletic, MLB.com, the Detroit Free Press and more. He is currently based in Toronto, also working as a contributor for Forbes.com and a freelance editor for Sportsnet.