NCAAB Picks; UCLA looking for local rivalry bragging rights over USC

There’s a local clash from the Pac-12 taking place tonight as the USC Trojans entertain the UCLA Bruins at the Galen Center. So with bragging rights on the line, we look ahead to the LA square-off in our NCAAB betting picks.

  • What; NCAAB
  • Who; USC Trojans vs UCLA Bruins
  • Where; Galen Center, Los Angeles, California
  • When; Thursday, January 26th, 2023
  • Start Time; 9 pm ET

The USC Trojans sit 5th in the Pac-12, while UCLA are top of the division. The Bruins are having the better time of things and as a result are ranked eight. The Trojans are not included in the Top 25 ranked college basketball teams.

This is further highlighted in the latest betting to win the 2023 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship.

Latest betting to win 2023 Men’s College Basketball Championship

UCLA are in the mix. They’re not the favorites with the best college basketball betting sites, but the Bruins are in the group of four sides who the top sportsbooks see as the main threats to the Houston Cougars.

The Cougars have been the favorites for almost all season now. Houston are now just +650 thanks to their recent nine match winning streak, but they do now have the Alabama Crimson Tide (+900), Purdue (+1100), Kansas (+1100), and UCLA (+1200) for company.

The Crimson Tide are the side looking most likely to wrestle the favorites tag away from the Cougars. Alabama have beaten Houston this season, (71-65 in early December). And if they continue in this form, the best March Madness betting sites might have to reassess their odds to be the favorites to be 2023 champions.

For the record, USC is +15000 with BetOnline (you can read more about them at our BetOnline sportsbook review). More details on the betting to win the 2023 championship can be found in our below odds table.

NCAAB Tournament Winner Betting 2023BetOnline ReviewMyBookie ReviewBovada
Houston Cougars+650+650+650
Kansas State+2800+2800+2800
North Carolina+3300+3300+3300
UCS Trojans+15000+15000+140000

USC needs a spark to get their season going

The Trojans are on a winning streak of one, a 77-69 win over Arizona State at the weekend. This win came after a disappointing 15 points loss away to Arizona last week, where USC were blown away in the first period by the team now ranked number six in NCAA basketball.

Across their last six games the Trojans have won three and lost three. In total this season their record reads 14-6, and it’s this inconsistency that sees them down in fifth position in the Pac-12 and outside of the Top 25 ranked basketball teams.

Putting things right against an in-form UCLA will be difficult, but what better a match to claim a big scalp in, than against your main local rivals.

UCLA looking to bounce back after winning streak ended

The Bruins have just seen a 14-match winning run brought to an abrupt end by the Arizona Wildcats. You need to go all the way back to late November 2022 to find the last occasion UCLA lost. That was an 80-75 defeat at home to Baylor.

In truth, the Wildcats were the better side throughout and outscored UCLA in both halves to eventually win the match 58-52.

The run had to come to an end at some point, and losing to the Wildcats will be disappointing, but is no disgrace.

Arizona has had a decent season, and even though they’ve suffered a couple of setbacks against Washington State and Oregon in recent days, they are still widely regarded as one of the top sides in the NCAA and are capable of beating anybody on their day.

But despite all of that, after such a good run of wins the last thing the Bruins will want is to lose back-to-back matches. So with UCLA looking to bounce back with an immediate victory, their clash with local rivals USC couldn’t come at a better time for fans of college basketball.

USC vs UCLA Betting and Picks

If a guide for this match is needed, then we need to look no further back than when these two teams met at the Pauley Pavilion just under three weeks ago. In a game of the proverbial two halves, the Bruins raced into a 44-26 lead at the half-way point, and then the Trojans staged a remarkable comeback to win the second period 32-16.

In the end the fightback from USC wasn’t enough and UCLA ran out two point winners at 60-58.

In the rematch, the best NCAAB sportsbooks are favoring UCLA to repeat their win from earlier in the month. The Bruins are giving their LA neighbors a +4.5 points start on the handicap line. BetOnline makes USC -105 with a +4.5 points start. UCLA are -115 starting from -4.5 points.

Elsewhere and on the total points spread, 130 is the magic figure. Both over and under are priced up at -110.

If we take the local rivalry out of the fixture, I think UCLA beats the handicap spread all day long. I also think they will be smarting from only winning the reserve fixture by two points, and also from their 14-match winning streak ending. Therefore I am going to stick my neck out here and go for a win for the Bruins on the handicap.

UCLA -4.5 To beat USC on the handicap
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On the total points spread, I am leaning towards over 130. In the last five matches involving USC, two have been over, but two of the three that haven’t were mightily close. UCLA have seen only one of their last five beat this total, and this includes the recent match between the two.

But despite all the evidence pointing to under, I’m taking a punt on over 130. I just have a feeling this one will be a high scoring match.

Over 130 Total Points USC vs UCLA
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Dean Etheridge

Hailing from Coventry, England, Dean brings his British wit to every piece he pens. A true lover of a good wager, Dean's passion for both sports and writing has merged into the world of sports betting. Dean is the mastermind behind his very own soccer and cricket betting platforms. As the owner and editor of a renowned football betting website, Dean has established himself as a force within the industry. His expertise as a freelance content writer is centered in the realms of football, cricket and Formula 1. From breaking down odds to unraveling strategies, Dean's writing radiates an unmatched love for sports. When he’s not immersed in sports betting, Dean enjoyes exploring new culinary delights, conquering the latest car racing video games, or getting lost in the pages of a novel.