USC Favored To Mute The Utes On Sunday

Written By Derek Helling on February 25, 2024
usc's juju watkins dribbles

With hopes of a Pac-12 regular-season title renewed, the No. 7 USC Trojans are playing their final home game of the 2023-24 regular season. As such, they are the favorites to earn a win in the contest over the No. 18 Utah Utes.

While legal North American online sportsbooks are favoring the home team in this contest, the visitors have shown they have a viable strategy for pulling off the upset. Bettors should take a look at the point total market on this contest as well.

Utah at USC details

The final meeting of USC and Utah on the 2023-24 regular season marks the final road game of the campaign for the Utes. Sportsbooks are likely to set up the Trojans as a slight favorite when markets go live on the game.

  • Tip-off: 3 p.m. ET, Sunday, Feb. 25, 2024
  • Venue: Galen Center, Los Angeles, California
  • Broadcast: Pac-12 Networks
  • Previous matchup: Jan. 19, 2024, at Utah, 78-58 Utes win
  • Last 5 games: USC WWWWW, Utah WLWWL
  • Average points for: USC 74.5, Utah 80.2
  • Average points against: USC 60.5, Utah 61.2
  • USC record: 21-4 overall, 13-1 at home, 11-4 Pac-12
  • Utah record: 19-8 overall, 7-5 on the road, 9-6 Pac-12

USC leads this series 14-9 and has won six of the last 10 games. However, Utah has won back-to-back games in the series. At the same time, the Trojans have claimed victory in eight of 10 in the series played in Los Angeles. To cover in this one, the Utes will have to replicate many facets of their performance from the January meeting of these teams.

Handicapping Trojans vs. Utes

In the first meeting, Utah managed to do what few opponents have this season; hold USC’s JuJu Watkins under 30 points. The Utes also dominated in the paint, outscoring the Trojans there 30-14. Furthermore, USC shot just 25% from 3-point range in the game, well below their stellar season average of 37%.

Containing Watkins on the road could be a larger challenge for Utah. Additionally, it’s unclear if the Utes can count on the Trojans shooting so poorly from distance again. However, limiting USC’s offense is the paramount task for Utah on Sunday.

There’s certainly no question about whether the Utes can keep up if the Trojans do turn in an improved offensive performance compared to January. Only two teams in the country average more made 3-point attempts and only three programs have a higher shooting percentage on 2-point shots.

For bettors considering the total, that decision comes down to whether they believe Utah can replicate any of its earlier defensive performance against this team. For those not buying that premise, the over is in play on this game.

Photo by AP Photo/Kyusung Gong
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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.

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