Four Ranked Pac-12 Teams Face Off To Pique Bettors Interests On 1/19/2024

Written By Derek Helling on January 19, 2024
basketball players on lighted court

One of the strongest conferences in D1 college basketball takes center stage on Friday, Jan. 19, 2024. Two pairs of ranked Pac-12 teams will meet with positioning in those rankings and their conference standings on the line.

As a result, there are some intriguing opportunities for bettors to get some skin in the game. The two contests will feature some of the best talent in the college game right now and could prove to be Pac-12 tournament previews.

UCLA at Colorado details, handicapping

One of the first meetings of top-five teams on this season features several Wooden award watchlist names. Despite that star power, both of these teams have deep benches and the pairing should make for an exciting game.

  • Tip-off: 8 p.m. ET, Friday, Jan. 19. 2024
  • Venue: CU Events Center, Boulder, Colorado
  • Broadcast:Pac-12 Networks
  • Previous matchup: Jan. 27, 2023, at Colorado, 73-70 Buffaloes win
  • Last 5 games: Colorado WWWWW, UCLA WWWWL
  • Average points for: Colorado 81.4, UCLA 84.8
  • Average points against: Colorado 63.8, UCLA 60.1
  • Colorado record: 15-1 overall, 8-0 at home, 5-0 Pac-12
  • UCLA record: 14-1 overall, 2-1 on the road, 3-1 Pac-12

UCLA will look to avoid back-to-back losses on this season against a Colorado team that has excelled against quality competition so far this season. The Buffaloes already have wins over LSU and Utah, who were ranked No. 1 and No. 12 at the time of those games.

Both teams come into this contest healthy and that’s imperative as this series has been relatively competitive. Since 2000, the Bruins have won 12 of 20 meetings. At the same time, Colorado has won the past three in a row, two of which were in Boulder.

To cover in this contest, both of these teams need to replicate the performances of past opponents that gave the other their only loss to this point. In their only loss, the Buffaloes registered a negative assist-to-turnover ratio and shot far below their season average from the field.

For UCLA, turnovers were also an issue and it was not able to characteristically produce a large net gain in rebounds. Thus, if the Bruins are able to get back to its form on the boards and force Colorado to take difficult shots, it could cover. Conversely, Colorado needs to compete in the rebounds column and force turnovers to cover.

Those haven’t been the Buffaloes’ particular areas of strength so far this season. Legal North American online sportsbooks are favoring UCLA by a narrow point a half with a total around 142.5 in this contest.

USC at Utah details, handicapping

No. 6 USC is riding high on a wave of momentum, having exacted revenge against its cross-town rival in its last game. No. 20 Utah, on the other hand, is looking to string together consecutive wins Pac-12 play for the first time this season.

  • Tip-off: 9 p.m. ET, Friday, Jan. 19, 2024
  • Venue: Jon M. Huntsman Center, Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Previous matchup: Jan. 27, 2023, at Utah; 83-73 Utes win
  • Last 5 games: USC WLWWW, Utah LWLLW
  • Average points for: USC 76.9, Utah 86.5
  • Average points against: USC 57.9, Utah 57.9
  • Utah record: 12-5 overall, 7-1 at home, 2-3 Pac-12
  • USC record: 13-1 overall, 1-1 on the road, 3-1 Pac-12

USC has the upperhand in this relatively young series, claiming wins in 15 of 23 meetings. Those victories have been narrow as the Trojans average outscoring the Utes by just about three points per game in the series. Utah has won each of the last two and three of the past five meetings in Salt Lake City.

Both teams enter this game relatively healthy although the Utes have been without guard Gianna Kneepkens since early December. Utah has dropped three of the seven games it has played without Kneepkens so far.

One fact that plays strongly into USC’s hands in this contest is the strength of its interior defense. The Trojans are seventh in the country in terms of blocked shots per game and are holding opponents to just over 40% shooting on two-point field goal attempts.

At the same time, if there’s a team that can account for that, it’s the Utes. Utah averages more 3-point field attempts per game than any other team in the country and is hitting almost 40% of them, good for fifth in the nation. If the Utes are able to force USC to try to keep up, they should cover easily.

Licensed online sports betting apps in North America have Utah as a 7.5-point favorite with a total sitting at 139.5 for this contest.

Photo by AP Photo/Karl B. DeBlaker/Kyusung Gong/Ashley Landis/Tyler Tate; Illustrated by BetHer
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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is the assistant managing editor of PlayUSA and the managing editor of BetHer. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of the gambling industry with business, the law, and technology.

View all posts by Derek Helling